Gradually though it has become more popular and we're being invited to Halloween parties and there are now young children living in our street so trick or treating is a real possibility this year. We don't have children, and we've thought long and hard and decided that we're not planning to participate. It's nothing to do with the history of halloween or the traditions like dressing up - we've got three sticking points with the way its celebrated.
The first is the "lollies from strangers". The local pharmacy has mostly phased out its jelly bean jar because its not ok for strangers to give children lollies. Or worse still, for children to associate the products coming out of pharmacies with lollies, and help themselves.
Secondly, with Australia in the midst of an obesity epidemic, should we be encouraging our children to eat a lot of lollies? True, they walked to get them, but I doubt they burned off enough calories to cancel out all that sugar.
Lastly, and the clincher for me, was the fact the major retailers have jumped on board the halloween bandwagon and are pushing for sales of carving pumpkins, lollies and other halloween foods (orange iced donuts) we wouldn't ordinarily buy. Perhaps we would if it was a deep-seated tradition in our family, but it isn't. It smacks of commercialism. Even the local florist was putting together halloween arrangements in orange and black when I dropped by today.
Once a food is "branded" for a celebration (e.g. Christmas lollies, Easter bunny shaped marshmallows) its no longer welcome in our house because its about retailing and profit, not about nutrition. It's my tiny protest in the face of the major retaillers. If even a portion of the profits from each sale went to a homeless shelter or animal welfare association, perhaps I would change my mind. Instead, tomorrow night we're planning a closed gate, and if we do still get trick-or-treaters they'll be offered a piece of fruit. But only after I've introduced myself to their parents. That's the best plan I can come up with for Halloween this year.
So what's happening at your place? Does your family celebrate Halloween?