Oh yes, we have Halloween now. It has only come about recently. The big supermarkets recognised the possibility of marketing it and now there is a range of Halloween related merchandise in the shops for some weeks before hand.
It would be fair to say many people here still ignore it. Some people still would not know what Halloween is and others would dismiss it as "American" and therefore nothing to do with them. All this probably sounds rather odd to my North American friends. Halloween is a tradition there.
The Little Drummer Boy and his brother from next door did not participate. I did not expect that but I had been talking to one mother whose children had been begging to be allowed to dress up and try "trick or treat". She was reluctant to let them do it. It is, as I just said, not traditional here.
"I just don't know what sort of reception they would get. I don't want them to be a nuisance and really that's all they would be."
We talked about it a bit more. I sympathised. Her two are lively, active children and they need a firm hand. They do not need large amounts of sugar at any time, least of all before bed.
I saw the two children the day before Halloween. They still did not know whether they would be allowed to participate or not but one of them had a small green plastic frog that "jumped" if stroked in a certain way. It gave me an idea and, while the two of them were racing around and around their driveway on their bikes I spoke to their mother and suggested, "What if we tell them it is "Frog Rescue Night" as well? I'll supply chocolate frogs."
She thought for a moment and then said, "That's a really good idea. We could take the boys to the creek and see if we can find an actual frog."
I bought a multi-pack of frogs. There are twenty in that sort of pack. I was, I hoped, prepared because I thought I knew what might happen.
And it did. There were four families from the next street who went off to "rescue" frogs. The father of one family actually works at the local council. It's not his actually area but he knows something about the creek and the inhabitants of it and what is being done to try and preserve it. The kids wore face paint and had fun looking for frogs and other creepy crawly things. They hunted for the chocolate frogs and their parents made sure they all had one. One of the mothers left me an e-mail to say it was all great fun. Nobody was scared. Nobody bothered anyone and not too much sugar was consumed,
This morning there was one chocolate frog sitting in the letter box for me. That is Halloween worth celebrating.