The angst hits the primmer corners of social media about this time each year. “Why do Australian kids celebrate Halloween? It’s an American thing.” “It’s not our holiday.” “It’s demonic.”
Um, because it’s fun, stupid. And all the other countries seem to get the good festivals.
The anglo-Aussie white “culture” delivers scant giggles in the events category. Our national holiday is based on an invasion bordering on genocide. We stop work for a bloody horserace. And there’s only so much bushranger-idolatory one can stomach (beards aside).
Why wouldn’t you adopt some fun stuff? I love a chance to dress in something dire and join a mob of kids shaking down the neighbours for food of negative nutritional value. Who cares if the practice comes from the United States? It’s not like there’s no other American stuff we adopt. And it’s not just American events we cherry pick, either. We’ve been known to don a striped shirt and beret, stick a baguette under our arm, speak in an outrageously bad accent, while riding our bicycle in total Franco-style-theft on July 14. Drink green beer on 17 March. Et cetera.
This Halloween, I’m hanging out with my Russian neighbour and his Russo-German kids, who celebrate Halloween with a neighbourhood Death Bar (last year I went as Tippi Hendren – and it’s not easy to make stuffed toy birds look menacing, I tell you). The usual neighbourhood quota will be there: the Greek kids, the half-Spaniard from the next street, and maybe the Brazillians from two streets over. My Arabic/Kenyan friend from down the road might pop on with her Italian house guests. All being a little bit American.
The next day, I hope to visit the crematorium with any interested family members. I’ll visit the resting place of my four grandparents’ ashes. A totally conscious co-opt of another cultural event. Mexico’s Day of the Dead is a fantastic day to borrow, and on 1 November, I might just be a little bit Mexican, too.