Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Halloween stasis

I shared the above on Instagram, which automatically shares to my personal Facebook page, too, and the comments from friends were varied—far more so than I expected. It’s probably partly emblematic of the ambivalence Kiwis have about Halloween.

For all the years of retail promotion of Halloween (in fits and starts), it’s just never caught on here. There’s trick or treating in some areas, but not everywhere, and even where it is, not everyone is happy about that.

It may not be obvious from the photo, but most of the stuff on sale was decorative—we still have no massive displays of Halloween candy like in the USA. This is probably because Kiwis, if they observe Halloween at all, are far more likely to do so with a party than anything else. Even so, the store is clearly very well stocked eight days before Halloween.

I’m pretty agnostic about Halloween: I don’t care if people celebrate it or not, or whether it takes root or not. I personally hate Halloween and have ever since I became an adult (and even by the time I was nearing middle school age), but my personal dislike for the day is exactly that—personal. What others do is for them to decide. But I’ve still seen no evidence that it’s catching on in New Zealand.

Still, as I noted in the caption, the display is “bigger than I’ve seen in a while”, and that’s definitely true. I just don’t think that means anything.

Still, early days, right? I’ve been in New Zealand more than two decades, and in that time Halloween’s no closer to wide acceptance than it was when I arrived, but maybe it’ll just take a bit longer. Question is, would that be a trick or a treat? I couldn’t possibly comment.

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