Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Massive Halloween

The photo above is of my local grocery store’s massive Halloween display. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. No, nothing has changed: Halloween in NZ is still DOA.

Despite the best efforts of retailers, Halloween has never taken off in New Zealand, which largely sees it as an American holiday, and having no relevance here. But this is nothing new for long-term readers of this blog: I’ve been documenting this for years.

The photo above shows what I’m pretty sure is the smallest-ever Halloween display in my local grocery store. Can it be many more years before there’s no display at all?

Halloween never took off in New Zealand for a lot of reasons. First, there’s the impression of “creeping Americanism”, that is, that US pop culture is taking over and drowning local culture. Personally, I think the bigger reason is that it’s in close proximity to a real holiday, Labour Day, which is the last Monday in October. So, you have an American holiday at the end of the month, one with no connection to New Zealand, or you have a PAID holiday with actual connection to New Zealand. Hm, which do YOU suppose would be embraced?

NZ’s rightwing religionists oppose Halloween for the same reasons as their American cousins, and are every bit as silly from a non-believer’s perspective. Considering that most of New Zealand is secular, most Kiwis would see religious objections to Halloween as, at best, irrelevant and, to be brutally honest, downright stupid. Which is why most Kiwis take no notice of rightwing religionists on this or anything else.

So, I’ve seen less Halloween this year than in many previous years. Whether this continues, and even if there’s contradicting evidence, remains to be seen. But for now, no, there’s really no Halloween as Americans understand the term.

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