The Grinch Who Stole Halloween

So I was driving to church this Reformation Day (October 31) (yesterday), and I saw a bunch of American tourists. Children. Walking the streets of suburban Brisbane. They were dressed in costumes. Most of them were dressed as vampires – though not the emo/street kid/Twilight/sparkly campire/Edward Cullen variety – the good old caped Dracula variety. So I am thankful for small mercies. It seems our costume shops still think the Count from Sesame St is the model vampire, and not a sulking never-aging teenager with a brooding face. And make-up. Man make-up. And permanently windswept hair.

I’m glad there weren’t too many twihards. That would have made this post even harder to write.

Halloween is a scourge threatening to infect our cities. Australia. It is time to stand up and be counted. This is not an Australian event. This is a commercial opportunity that Coles and Woolworths have seized on with the zeal of a grocer flogging MasterChef products and ingredients. Give Coles and Woolies a sniff and they’ll have a product range and a pallet full of overgrown pumpkins out for sale quicker than Usain Bolt wolfs down a KFC two piece feed after a race (and no, I’m not suggesting that just because he’s a black man from the Caribbean he likes to eat fried chicken – I’ll leave those PC mongers who watch ads and look for hints of racism to come up with that sort of pointless speculation). The man likes KFC. It’s a fact. Here. Look. It’s on the internet.

Look. Here he is eating some with his mum.

I’m not buying into promoting stereotypical racial tropes.

But America. Keep your over-sugared excuse for a holiday out of our country. We don’t want your obesity. We don’t want our children to be fat like yours. We don’t want to have to stock up on bags of sugared goodies or “tricks”1 in order to assuage our middle-class consumer guilt foisted on us by big commercial supermarkets looking to boost sales of confectionery and ghoulish paraphernalia.

We already have a cultural excuse to dress up in silly costumes. It’s called Book Week. And I’m still scarred by my experience attending one such event in primary school dressed in purple tights, undies on the outside and a pair of toy guns. That’s right. I went to book week as the Phantom.

Halloween is barely even worthy of Grinch status. It’s not a sacred day. I don’t care about its supposedly Catholic or Pagan or Roman origins. The etymology of the word is boring. Current usage determines meaning – and currently it’s a thinly veiled holiday designed to prey on the gullible and to use children as manipulative pawns in a game of excess. So parents who dressed their children, bought lollies, and took groups trick or treating, I quote an Australian media doyen at you: Shame. Shame. Shame.

That is all.

1 Why we’d want to promote kids to go door-knocking asking for “tricks” in the age of stranger-danger is beyond me.