Halloween: Growing Trend Or An Example Of American Imperialism?

Toby Birkett
Toby Birkett

With October just around the corner, it’s always interesting to see Halloween paraphernalia pop up in the stores; we don’t celebrate it here in Australia. Well, not traditionally.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always liked to dress up, and that’s stayed with me into adulthood. So, the notion of Halloween has always seemed really appealing to me, and there’s a big part of me that would love to see it properly adopted here in Aus. I’m a big fan of all things horror, but I’m also pretty strongly against the wholesale adoption of American culture, so it’s interesting to see my twin loves of horror and dressing up win out. It’s almost me selling out in a way, but at least I can admit it. Even this evening I was trying to decide what I’d wear if I went to any events this year.

Sourced: fashoiniy.com
Sourced: fashoiniy.com

What’s been an interesting phenomenon to watch, though, is how, as a society, we’ve dipped our toes into the waters of this holiday. Very soon, Halloween nights at night clubs, parties, and even Halloween themed days in some businesses will start popping up alongside the miscellanea in the supermarkets and department stores. Once upon a time, only a decade or so ago, this would not have been the case. I remember going trick or treating as a bit of a joke with some friends in High School, and no house we visited even knew it was Halloween.

Despite my own interest in it, I can’t say the growing general adoption actually sits well with me. I think it makes me uneasy in the same way as hearing someone say “sidewalk” instead of “footpath” or when people use American spelling here. It’s all very hard for me to reconcile, because although Australia has a very multicultural society, there’s just not a large enough volume of Americans here to justify adopting Halloween when there’s so many other cultural practices a lot of our nation’s people actively oppose. I’d much rather adopt cultural practices of the people we share our nation with than the one that just happens to be prevalent on our TV screens.

Yes, it is a bit of fun, and it’s definitely something I’d love to experience first hand in the US, but I just can’t decide if it should have a place here when there’s so much here already that our society rejects.

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