There are big debates here on local radio about why Australian's would want to adopt the celebrations attached to Halloween. This is largely because there are many Australian's (myself included) who feel concern at the level of commercialisation.
But not about Halloween. Why? Well because as an event far predates any modern commercialisation of it, people have been celebrating days of the dead and the like for many centuries AND because the kids love it.
What is not to love? You get dressed up, you play with your friends, you get some lollies and you are out at night past bedtime. The last two years we have had Halloween Parties at home. The first party was a modest attempt. It was before Thomas started school and we had the neighbourhood kids and some friends around (about 8 in total) we had a BBQ, we got dressed up, we decorated treat bags and I delivered lollies and chocolates to my neighbours the night before to give to the kids (it is not standard practice here) and we tricked and treated in our street.
Last year Thomas had started school, but as his birthday is in February he had not had a party with school friends, so he was keen to have lots of his friends. We have a very very small house (not for long!) and so we drew the line at 12 kids. Except the night before I heard that 3 kids at school were just devastated and crying because the weren't invited, so after a quick consult with Gaye we rang around and invited those who hadn't been invited.
We ended up with 19 kids. Two of which had not very good manners (but this is not surprising as their parents just dropped them at the gate without coming in to say hello, even thou they had not met us before! We later found out that word had got around that it was a ‘lesso’ family and so no one was a bit worried about their kids – we live in that sort of area!).
It was a fun party, but much much to large for our house. Gaye cooked home made pizza at Thomas’ request. We had lots of games and we decorated our treat bags. I went around to our neighbours again the night before with bags of sweets to give out and asked if it was okay, we sent the kids around in groups of four with a known adult. The gorgeous thing last year was that our street (which is a combination of established Portuguese families, young families, a few lesbian couples and a couple of share houses) really got into it – so that when the kids went to trick and treat people were dressed up as witches and wizards. In the share house the whole household came to the door each time a group of kids came to the house. But Gaye and I were exhausted and horse by the time they all went home that night. Some of the kids behaviour was outrageous and 19 kids was just too many. But two years in a row means a tradition in the life of a seven year old.
This year in some fit of brilliance I suggested to the school p&c that we do it as a fundraiser. So tonight we have 123 children coming to the school hall for a Halloween disco. The local IGA has donated lollies, the local pub has donated sausages, the local veggie shop has donated vegies and sauce and bread, the after-school care coordinator is a theatre/drama person in his other life and has organised a smoke machine and a disco light and is organising games. The kids have made decorations for the school hall during art.
We have raised $700 for the school. See I get to feel really good while actually getting out of something!