The weather is perfect this week for Hallowe’en — even if the seasons are reversed (Spring? Hallowe’en? My northern sensibilities can’t cope with this unnatural reversal…) Spring or no, I was really excited to see that our local fruit & veg shop had REAL pumpkins for sale on the weekend! None of this "let’s call a butternut squash a pumpkin and see if anyone notices" crap — no! There were real jack-o-lanterns for sale!
I’m going to get one. I’m going to carve it, and then I’m going to roast the seeds for a Hallowe’eny treat. Yum! Pumpkin seeds just don’t taste good unless they’re jack-o-lantern seeds, and the flavour is definitely improved by carving a grotesque visage into the pumpkin first. It’s just one of those wacky rules — you know, like how food always tastes better when someone else makes it for you. Same thing for pumpkins: carving really improves the flavour of the seeds.
Australian kids sure miss out when it comes to the universal candy-fest that is Hallowe’en. Sure, some neighbourhoods try to recreate it, but it’s just not the same. When I was growing up, everyone went Trick-or-Treating and came home with pillowcases filled to the brim with sugary goodness (of course, you couldn’t eat the sugary goodness until Mom checked to make sure there weren’t any razor-filled apples or anything in your bag, but once she gave the thumbs-up it was all systems go). Hallowe-en was the perfect holiday — it was centred around pure greed, and nothing else (most kids weren’t interested in the origins of the holiday, although my sisters and I were fascinated by All Hallow’s Eve and the return of the spirits. But we were weird.) There was no expectation of being good (like Christmas), no expectation of going to church (like Easter), no need to buy anyone anything (like birthdays and Christmas). You simply got to dress up like someone else and indulge your inner glutton for a day.
Australian adults also miss out. Not on the candy part (although I seem to recall that my mom always had to replenish our Hallowe’en stocks several times before the holiday actually came… Mini chocolate bars were just too tempting to leave in the cupboard in our house!) What I’m talking about has more to do with the commercial side of things. I don’t know what the situation is in the rest of Australia, but in Adelaide the storekeepers could really use Hallowe’en. Not because I want them to push a bunch of cheap Hallowe’en-themed junk at me every year, but because they need the holiday to mark when Christmas decorations should go up. I mean, honestly, I love Christmas (obsessed might be a more accurate term for my love of Christmas) but even I don’t want to see Christmas decorations up in the malls and hung from street lights until well after Hallowe’en.
But, alas and alack, Adelaide doesn’t celebrate Hallowe’en, and so all of the major thoroughfares have been decorated, halls have been decked for over a fortnight, and some shops have even begun piping in Christmas carols.
It’s just not right…