Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween dilemma

I admit it: I don’t know what to do about Halloween. And another admission: I loathe it.

Over the years, I’ve posted about how Halloween is waning in New Zealand. In fact, back in 2006, at the end of my second month of blogging, I said that I thought it had already peaked. Nothing’s changed my mind.

In 2009, The Warehouse, our local big box discount retailer put out a flyer with half a page out of 20 of their sale flyer devoted to Halloween. I speculated that the reason might be that it coincided with Labour Weekend, the start of the Christmas selling season in New Zealand. It was similar last year. This year, Halloween was the week after, and their flyer had most of two pages and a bit on the front page.

There were more candy displays in our local supermarket this year than last year or the year before, but most were displayed the same way as any other promotion. There was one small display rack with a sheet of office paper saying “HALLOWEEN” in Arial Black laser printed onto it and taped to the display. I also spotted a few orange and black balloons attached the wine displays, but that was about it.

I don’t actually have anything against Halloween itself (though I’m far too self-conscious to dress up in a costume), but I do loathe trick-or-treating: It’s an American tradition that has no history in New Zealand and attempts to get Kiwis to adopt it just haven’t worked. It’s time to give up on it, as it does seem to be pretty much over (parties seem to be far more important).

In 2008 and 2009, we had no trick-or-treaters. I don’t know if we did last year, because we weren’t home. I didn’t post anything about it in 2007, so I’m guessing we had few or none that year. We had four in 2006.

I frankly don’t expect any this year, either, so—like last year—I didn’t buy any candy that I’d end up having to eat. However, I did briefly consider buying a bag of Whittaker’s Peanut Slab minis, just in case; giving NZ candy for an American tradition seemed impishly fun, even though I knew it would be lost on the recipients. Besides, I wouldn’t have minded being stuck with the leftovers, though it would wreck my supposed health regimen.

So, here’s my dilemma: I have no candy, even though I’m unlikely to need any. But if kids DO come round and I don’t have any, I’ll feel bad. So, I’m thinking about putting a padlock on the gate to keep them away. I could say it’s so the dogs are less upset, but that wouldn’t be true: It’d be for me. The alternative is to simply not answer the door if any do come to the house, but that would mean I’d know they were there. And I’d feel bad. The padlock is a very attractive option.

Another year or two, with trick-or-treating undeniably over, I know I won’t feel this unease. But that doesn’t help this year.

Hm, I wonder if there are any other issues where a padlock could help …

Update: Of course I didn't use a padlock, but I did lock the dog door so the dogs wouldn't jump all over any trick-or-treaters. I also closed the curtains. That may have made it look like I was hiding, but the reality is that I often do that in the afternoon to keep the hot sun out. So, in other words, only locking the dog door was unusual.

We had no trick-or-treaters again this year. Well, technically, you'd have to count the neighbour's two kids; their Mum brought them around to neighbours before taking them to their auntie's house. They arrived just as I let the dogs back into the yard again, after I'd decided there wouldn't be any trick-or-treaters. But we are talking a technicality here. I still chalk this up as another year without trick-or-treaters.


coreplane said...

Smithers, release the hounds.

Arthur Schenck said...

Ha! Exactly! Although, in this case, I actually want to keep the hounds away from the kids… ;-)

Robert (RTCruiser) said...

Scare (scar?) them by answering the door in the nude.

We get some over hear in Australia as well. I just tell them that we're not in America and have noting for them.

amerinz's sis said...

We don't turn on any outside lights. Kids will pass up homes with no lights in favor for those that do, assuming the latter are participating in the event.

Each year it seems there are fewer kids going trick-or-treating. Maybe it's because of the tainted candy scare. I hear that parents now prefer that their kids and their friends have Halloween parties at a trusted home.

I have to admit that, as a kid, I liked collecting a bag full of candy and popcorn balls. It lasted me for at least a month, maybe longer. Of course, each year we got our specially made taffy apple. That was the best part of that day!

Roger Owen Green said...

we will be trick or treating, but your sister is mostly right. We've shut off the lights downstairs and some teenagers rang the bell AT 9:30 PM, way too late.