and all the commercial hype that goes with it.
I'm sorry. I know I sound like a "party-pooper" but Halloween is not "fun".
Ask the local children what it is all about and they will tell you it is about having some sort of party, with costumes and all sorts of junk food. The real meaning was lost long ago.
We never had Halloween when I was a kitten. I doubt my parents even knew about it as kittens. The Senior Cat says he is pretty sure he didn't. His Presbyterian household would not have celebrated it anyway.
I found out about Halloween, as I found out about so many things, by reading books. Halloween got mentioned more than once. I thought it was just some sort of weird American tradition. It was only about twenty or twenty-five years ago that Halloween began to be "celebrated" in Downunder.
At first it was just small. There would be a few Halloween masks available around the relevant time. Then, suddenly, it exploded into a full blown commercial event. There are not just Halloween masks but costumes and sweets of all sorts - supposedly "on special". Parents are harassed. Children are pleading and demanding - "everyone else is!" - and the rest of us are getting more and more caught up in the "demand".
My personal view is that it is wrong for anyone - for whatever reason - to go banging on a door and demanding something for nothing and threatening to do harm if you don't respond. If an adult did that then it would be a criminal offence. If a child does that - for whatever reason - then it should be equally wrong. It's not "fun". To allow it and even encourage it is sending the wrong message altogether.
If you want to have Halloween then perhaps it is time to teach children what the old Halloween was really about. Teach them how it applies to the northern hemisphere. If you want some fun then let them "bob for apples" and find a story that won't frighten the youngest members of the family. Don't let them go out knocking on doors and demanding something for nothing.
If they still want to go out knocking on doors then get them to offer something positive in exchange.
There is still a lot of debris lying around the local district. I know a group of children who are going out dressed as witches tonight. They are going to use their brooms to sweep up some rubbish lying in the gardens of several elderly neighbours. They will do it under the distant supervision of adults. When they have finished they will get "cauldron cakes" (pizza) and chocolate frogs.
I think that's a better way to do it. Yes, I am a party-pooper.