What's the Halloween equivalent of a Christmas Grinch?
Whatever it is, we know there are only a handful across Canberra who just don't buy into "another American excuse to spend money". But we've done our research and can confirm Canberrans are definitely into Halloween. In fact, some of us are downright obsessed with the spookiest day of the year.
Halloween, known formally as All Hallow's Eve, begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, a time in the Christian calendar dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed. While it's believed to have originated in the United Kingdom, Halloween is becoming more and more popular in Australia each year - and Canberra's no exception.
The Facebook group 'ACT and surrounding areas Trick or Treat locations list' has 1800 people eagerly awaiting the release of the best places to trick or treat across Canberra's suburbs. The list is due to be released at 5pm on Wednesday, October 31 and is basically the creepy equivalent of where to find Christmas lights in Canberra.
Jerrabomberra and parts of Queanbeyan get involved in Halloween in a big way, with entire streets decorated in cobwebs, skeletons and ghouls. Newer Canberra suburbs like Amaroo welcome trick or treaters, as do established suburbs like Watson. In O'Connor, residents place pumpkin stickers on their letterboxes to let kids know it's OK to knock.
The Crace Community Group and Googong Residents Association go above and beyond, releasing maps of their suburbs with the participating homes highlighted.
But there are three Canberra destinations sure to scare the life out of the families who dare to knock this Wednesday night.
One is Shawna Ward Rando's house on Paterson Street in Ainslie. Shawna, a California native, already has kids from right across her suburb visiting and admiring her frightening display.
The Haunted Chop Shop, on Benduluk Street in Ngunnawal, is home to all the gore your stomach can handle. With a Wolf Creek meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre theme, it's packed with body parts hanging from chains, fake axes and bloodied aprons.
But the prize has to go to Wanniassa, home of the Canberra Halloween House, where owners Connie and Ian Warburton and their family have spent 20 years on a collection of decorations to, ahem, die for.
The small brick home is surrounded by a Madame Tussaud's-style gallery of life-sized animatronic figures, including evil clowns, a dead butler, witches and more than a few demons. Step too close and they'll start talking to you; some warning you to stay away and many offering a "Happy Halloween".
Spiders the size of small cars lie in wait on the side of the Warburtons' house, while a temporary graveyard takes pride of place on the front lawn. "Children left unattended will be used for medical experiments", a sign screams. The family even builds a 7m x 2m haunted house in the driveway each year for kids to explore.
Connie Warburton estimates her Halloween collection to be worth $10,000, sourced mostly from the UK, the US and the local Costco.
"We do Christmas lights each year but it's nothing like the scale of our Halloween display," Connie said.
"I love the spooky, mystical element of Halloween and it's great for kids.
"Kids love it - on the night there are so many giggles, laughing and jumping and squealing with delight.
"That makes it all worthwhile."