Don't come trick or treating at my house, I won't answer the door
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Don't come trick or treating at my house, I won't answer the door

I detest Halloween. I loathe it. As the decorations and ads start to appear in shops and print, a cloud of anger collects in my chest and sits there until it’s all over. Occasionally wisps of it curl out of my mouth or possibly my nose as a snort at my irritation over a person who unwittingly asked me whether I participate in it.

No, I do not.

What Halloween is supposed to be about ... pumpkins.

What Halloween is supposed to be about ... pumpkins.Credit:AP

For me, the way in which Halloween has insidiously infiltrated its way onto the Australian calendar is dismaying. Huge numbers of kids now believe it’s part of the everyday, regular Australian celebrations and participate in trick or treating. Meanwhile I shut my gates, lower the blinds and breathe my way through the whole debacle. Breathing for myself and for the planet as she groans through yet another wave of disposable plastic crap.

Possibly the dental industry was secretly leaping with glee when Halloween began tossing bags of copious lollies (candy? NO!) at children.

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Why is it that we seem so hell bent on adopting so much of American culture? That was a rhetorical question. I know why. Money. It has nothing to do with the origins of a festival or belief and everything to do with retailers realising they can insert another spending bonanza into our calendar.

I am the fun police, people think, out to suck the joy from what is supposed to be a light-hearted moment in an otherwise busy and serious world. If I was participating, my costume would be that of a canary, with a subtle smattering of coal dust.

If we genuinely celebrated Halloween, firstly we would do so in autumn because traditionally that is when it actually is up in the northern hemisphere, where it all began centuries ago. Secondly, we would all be lighting candles, baking pumpkin and apple-based meals, snacking on nuts and remembering our dead.

Possibly some of us would dance and sing under the stars as well, if you’re that way inclined. There wouldn’t be a plastic mask, fake cobweb or cheap, disposable lolly bucket in sight.

I would be way more inclined to consider participating if we reverted to this focus. It matches with my family being busy storing the harvest of summer and I like to take time to remember passed relatives. It would be meaningful and also fun, in a slightly old-fashioned kind of way.

Yes, our celebrations morph and adapt as time passes, but Halloween has changed into something far beyond what it was and only because companies saw ways of making more money.

The other thing that really bothers me is the happy adoption of what is predominantly an American celebration. I know the prevalence of American movies and TV shows means the borders of cultures blur over time, but absorbing their celebrations because retailers tell us to isn’t something I want to embrace as a nation. We need to adopt things because they add meaning to our lives.

So no, I won’t be baking Halloween-shaped biscuits and most certainly no cookies (ugh). Unless I overbake them so much I can pelt them at trick or treaters who dare to open my gate.

Nicola Philp is an Age contributor.