Australia’s War On Halloween

Australia’s war on Halloween is similar to the War on Christmas in that it just involves some indignant grumbling rather than actual violence, but different in that it has nothing to do with religion.

War on Christmas meme

Aw, it’s almost that time of year!


It’s a civil war, with one side excited about Halloween and desperately wanting to make it a bigger deal in Australia, and the other resisting this, whether it be because they see it as just another Hallmark holiday, hate the idea that we are copying America (although Halloween didn’t originate there, it has been enthusiastically embraced by the US more than any other country I would guess) , or don’t feel like buying candy for other people’s kids. I have fallen into the second group while in Australia, for some of those reasons (I buy candy for ME, bitches!), but also because I had a different understanding of how trick or treating is conducted.

I had thought that you sit at home minding your own business, only to have kids knocking on the door hoping you have candy, whether you are prepared or not. I know this happens occasionally in Australia, although not a lot. My experience of trick or treating in America with my own kids, however, was different. Because as I was in America, I decided to celebrate like a local, and got an idea of how they actually go about it.

We went to a neighborhood not far from downtown Knoxville where one of my friends was hosting a Halloween party, and took our spawn trick or treating from there. It was pretty obvious which households were down for receiving trick or treaters. For a start, we didn’t have to knock on a single door – all the homeowners taking part were on their porches, eager to hand out candy and admire cute costumes. I’ve also been told that leaving your porch light off is an indication that you aren’t taking part. Almost every yard, especially those of homeowners taking part, were decorated to the max.

Halloween decorations

And not exactly in a cutesy manner, either.

Halloween decorations

Occasionally, the people handing out the candy were rather decorated themselves.

Halloween costume

Damn I wish I’d got a better photo.


I don’t know if my experience is similar to that of most neighborhoods getting visits from trick or treaters here, but they were very welcome and wanted. Everyone was loving it, and it was clear which were taking part and which weren’t.

Will I celebrate Halloween when I return to Australia? Probably not. I’m still the same cheap and lazy person, after all.

Will I celebrate it with enthusiasm while I’m in a country that does so? Hell yeah, I will.

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I am an Aussie currently enjoying my time as a non-resident legal alien in the US. You can find me on Facebook and I have also just started lurking around Twitter and Instagram. Come lurk with me!


  1. Halloween is my favorite!! There is an awesome neighborhood close to me that is THE Halloween spot. Nearly the whole thing celebrates. People have mini haunted houses set up in their garages. One guy wheels a huge commercial size popcorn maker to the end of his driveway and hands out bags of popcorn. It is amazing!

  2. Halloween is my favorite holiday! It makes me so sad that it’s not a big deal in other countries, but I’m glad that you’re enjoying it, while you’re in the States!

    • I have a friend who wants it so bad to be a bigger deal in Australia. I think a lot of the people celebrating it just go about it the wrong way – don’t knock on random doors of houses that aren’t even a little decorated!

  3. I freaking LOVE Halloween! I penpal a lot so I am all the time forgetting and reasking my pals if they celebrate Halloween in their country. You are right The U.S really goes all out for the Halloween! I love getting candy and dressing up. I am not one to want to stay in the house and pass out candy though. You’ll find me trying to trick or treat or maybe trying to find a party to attend.

  4. Halloween is my time of year. I spend eleven months of the year secretly writing the most horrific, bizarre things and putting them away so when October rolls around I can cut loose and share stories of zombie rats and man-eating plants without people recoiling in horror.
    And if they recoil in horror it’s all the fun of the season anyway.
    I hope Australians do embrace Halloween simply because I think the more the merrier. And while my own imaginings get a bit dark and gruesome to me it’s always first and foremost about the kids. It’s a time for kids to play dress up and get candy, and it should be a special part of childhood.
    As Stephen King said, “I have the heart of a small boy…and I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

    • It has been so much fun getting into it here. I passed the best Halloween decorations I’ve seen in real life today – an old fashioned horse-drawn hearse, coffin with pall bearers etc…and every character including the horse was a skeleton. Everyone else can give up, they’ve won Halloween! I do love terrible stories the rest of the year though 😉

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