Tag Archives: Halloween

Long Weekend Observations

4 Nov

It was a (unofficial) long weekend down here in Melbourne this last weekend.  Yesterday was Melbourne Cup Day.  We’re one of the few cities in the world where the masses have a public holiday to celebrate a horse race.  However, as the holiday is always a Tuesday, those of us with benevolent employers take the Monday off and make a decent break of it.  I made a few observations over the four days that I’d like to share.  Just some odd moments, possibly interesting, if only to myself, but nothing enough to make a full blog post out of.

Observation 1: Halloween is really taking off in Melbourne.  A visit to Woolworths supermarket on Saturday morning revealed a confectionery aisle that looked like Genghis Khan and his entire Mongol horde had rampaged through it.  No doubt they were holed up somewhere sleeping off the sugar overdose.

Observation 2: When you’ve cut back the amount of refined sugar in your diet Cherry Ripe chocolate bars taste like shit.

Observation 3: Original Source Shea Butter and Honey shower gel smells like Mackintoshes Harrogate toffees.  You remember those?  The ones in the yellow plaid wrappers?  The ones that as kids we considered old people’s toffees because they were the ones the oldies went for first in the bag.  I am not sure if the shower gel makes me smell like a long forgotten toffee, or if it just makes me smell old.  Either way I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying this particular shower gel again.

Observation 4: A can of mixed berries and a can of coconut milk whizzed in the blender and frozen makes delicious ice blocks.  And ones I can tell myself are good for me.

Observation 5: Alphonse Mucha artworks seem to be the latest to be harvested for merchandising purposes.  Came across a tin of French sweets with “la Belle Epoque” on the lid, and a tin of English chocolates with “la Dame aux Camellias” on the lid.  Naturally, the French one was the more attractive tin.  Mostly because it was a direct copy.  The chocolate tin looked like Mucha’s Lady of the Camellias had been reinterpreted by a colour blind spider with delirium tremens.

Observation 6:  It is perfectly possible, with a little planning and forethought, to complete AND wrap all your Christmas shopping by 4th November.   I will now spend the run up to Christmas being unbearably smug.

Trick or Treat?

28 Oct

Right now the shops are garishly decorated in a revolting shade of orange and black.  Fake cobwebs and spiders predominate.  Interior design courtesy of Morticia Addams.

Australia and New Zealand have never had a tradition of celebrating Halloween.  It is vaguely disturbing to discover this, the most annoying of commercialised holidays, has seeped into the antipodes like so much spilled sewage.

In a country with a massive obesity problem we should not be encouraging a day that, these days, is simply an excuse for gorging on sweets.  We should be setting an example of good eating practices for our children, not encouraging them to scoff lollies.

Part of my disapproval of Halloween is the crass commercialism of it.  People forget that Halloween began as a pre-Christian religious festival.  Halloween has some of its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain.  It became All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, when the Christian church attempted to stamp it out in their usual way of “if you can’t destroy it; adapt it.”  Well, it worked for Christmas!

Christians who whine on about the commercialisation of Christmas, take a good close look at Halloween.  This is eventually going to be what happens to Christmas.  No religious or spiritual elements left to it at all. 

I think, at base, this is what really pisses me off about Halloween.  Something beautiful and sacred has been taken and warped into an excuse to watch crappy horror movies and overdose on sugar.

Samhain was the time when the veils between the worlds were thinnest and the dead could return home to see their families one more time.  A time for reflection, remembrance, and demonstrations of familial love.

Does that sound like Halloween to you?  I bet it doesn’t.

Shows you how far it’s drifted from the original, doesn’t it?

You can keep your candy and your costumes.  Come 31st October this year, I’ll light a candle and remember my dead, keeping the true meaning of Samhain/Halloween alive in my heart. 

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