Night of the Living Dead: Or Why are People Celebrating Halloween?

About a decade ago, I used to go to a Guy Fawkes night organised each year by a friend of a (now former) friend. They would burn an effigy each year – the Guy representing some annoying lefty or Islamic terrorist figure. As it burned, we would sing God Save The Queen, and Advance Australia Fair.

Readers of this blog would by now not be surprised that I would go to such an event.

As I had a falling out with the friend who knows the people who do that sort of thing, I haven’t been invited to the effigy burning in at least five years, and as it was held in the outer south eastern suburbs, I hadn’t bothered attending for several years before that. I wonder whether it will go ahead this year at all. (Not that I care – why should people I do not particularly like very much have fun like that?!?)

But this is the time of year when quaint occasions are celebrated. Guy Fawkes night is one of those things which has mostly been forgotten, but which used to, several generations ago, still be widely observed in Australia, although not quite with the same gusto as by the people I used to know.

Halloween on the other hand has been growing in popularity in recent years. Back in the late 1970s, it was only observed by bored primary school librarians, looking for something vaguely interesting to engage schoolchildren with. I guess that would be the first seed of what has since grown like a weed.

The other big catalyst for Halloween is that since 1990, each year the Simpsons does a special Halloween episode titled Treehouse of Terror. The Simpsons has become part of our popular culture, and with it, Halloween has become more and more engrained.

And the supermarkets are keen to jump on board, selling not just chocolate and other sugary products, but also decorations. I have noticed quite a lot of homes have really jumped on the Halloween theme this year. For the first time, people are actually decorating their houses for it. Look at this front yard above, in Gordon Street Maribyrnong, which I passed this morning. They have gotten into the Halloween spirit (sic) with great enthusiasm and fake gore.

At least this year, there are no trick or treaters – the pandemic has kept everyone inside. But in anticipation of trick or treaters, people do tend to buy some bags of lollies etc these days, which was not the case 20 years ago.

I do half wish that I was cynical enough to say ‘Ba Humbug’ or some such about it, but somehow I find that I cannot. It’s all just some harmless fun.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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