Four years, four different countries for our family on Halloween. Every place we’ve been does it a little differently. Here in Australia, the holiday is just catching on (retailers finding another way to sell stuff I’m sure). From a trick-or-treaters point of view: the trick, it turns out, is to find out which houses are actually giving out candy! They are in the vast minority.
There’s a kind of secret handshake: homes that are “in” on the Halloween gig put a balloon outside.
Most participants go in for the direct distribution model.
The tell-tale balloon
Our neighbor, Elise (next to the door in her fabulous black velvet cape) scoped out a good street near the primary school that had a higher concentration of in-the-know homes. Steve, the marina caretaker and much loved friend of the children came along too- getting the hang of the American family and their crazy holiday. He brought a bag of Halloween goodies to give to the other children we passed: little skeletons, yoyos, and treats.
But a surprising number just put out the “honor bowl.”
It wasn’t easy to find a proper Halloween pumpkin. There is a LOT of pumpkin consumed in Australia, but they’re not the big orange jack-o-lanterns of the holiday- they are usually green, or gray, and very tasty. I saw only one meager display of carving pumpkins for sale in last week of October. Perhaps not surprising then that there were some clever twists on the tradition.
Our creepy characters had a ball putting their costumes together. There was a near disaster. Mairen had been planning to be a witch (again), and bought a proper hat to go with the dress she made for our Mexican Halloween. Minutes before we were to depart on our trick-or-treating adventure, a gust of wind lifted it off her head and out into the bay. Pursuit by boat hook, and dinghy, ensued but her hat sank below the murky surface before it could be retrieved.
She took it completely in stride: accessorized now with a cape and vampire teeth, she was a hybrid Witch-Pire. Creepy!
We also had a zombie: Niall practiced just the right jaw-dragging expression. Our neighbor Elise found the fabulous fake zombie wound-skin.
Siobhan… our little drama queen, decided to be a Syren. She described her costume essentials as: pretty hair, a pallid blue tail, and fangs. I don’t know where she came up with pallid, and I’m not sure the scarves shot through with silver lurex I found at a thrift shop exactly qualify, but she was happy.