Monday, October 27, 2008

The only Halloween post you'll get from me..

We made these bats after a recommendation from an expat Canadian mum at school. She got the idea from a kids magazine from Canada.

Cut egg cartoon along 3 egg spaces. Cut a U shape into the 2 end pieces on 3 sides. Paint Black. Attach string. Stick on googly eyes. Hang and Admire your handy work.

I could justify this craft (we don't celebrate Halloween) because every night during spring/summer/autumn fruit bats in their 100's fly over our house. We made the egg carton bats and then sat outside looking at the real bats. I tried to get a photo but it is tricky at dusk with them flying past. This must be a problem many people have as there were few photos on the net even. It is more beautiful than this, but this photo is all I found.

Now on to my Halloween anxiety.

Halloween is not really celebrated in Australia. A few people do have parties as an excuse to dress up, but the general public do not. We know a lot about Halloween because of all the american tv shows on tv here. The shops might put up a little advertising maybe the week of halloween but there is no decorating or anything. The only time Australians decorate their houses is Christmas.

However after looking at all the awesome halloween/autumn crafts and decorating ideas on Tip Junkie and The Crafty Crow I was so jealous.. I want to do that stuff too!! Just gorgeous Autumn colours and some great house decorating ideas... BUT....

First problem: It isn't autumn here - said decorating items could be hard to find, though I could do homemade ones. There are no coloured leaves, acorns, pumpkin patches, etc.

Second problem: I grew up in a family ethically opposed to Halloween..and so did my husband. My mother would gasp in horror that LDS/Christians in America actually celebrated Halloween and couldn't believe they would even print halloween ideas in The Friend magazine from church. Halloween is the worship of the devil/evil spirits etc

So I did what any normal person would do.. I googled "Can Christians celebrate Halloween?"

If anyone is interested about 90% of the articles I read said no... click Here, here, here, here, and go google some more if you are intersted....So I had nothing to back me up in a discussion with the husband if we would allow our kids to participate in such activities :(

I found one good article here that said it was the Irish immigrants that bought Halloween to the US ( I was clinging on this one link as my paternal grandfathers family were Irish and immigrated to Australia - so I am 1/8 Irish??? - That means I can celebrate Irish traditions right??) the day itself did not grow out of evil practices. It grew out of the rituals of Celts celebrating a new year, and out of Medieval prayer rituals of Europeans.

If I lived in the US or another country that celebrated Halloween - I would be there with bells on.. who doesnt want free candy? But for now this bat is my token halloween gesture to blog land...


BindiM said...

They celebrate Halloween here and I am loving it! And it is the right season here. We did decorate in Australia too because I love any season that I can decorate for, make a themed dinner and create great memories and traditions for the kids. We basically will celebrate anything...Chinese New Year, St Patricks Day, American Thanksgiving with the missionaries and we even believe in Santa (opposed by several members in an old ward for pagan beginnings...)

As a parent the best thing is that you get to pick and choose the things you like and leave out any bits you don't like from any holiday. Halloween for us is all about pumpkins, bats, black cats and lots of pretend spiderwebs around the house. Making spooky eyeball spaghetti for dinner is pretty fun too...and makes my kids eat olives!

Sarah said...

Bobbie, I've been wondering about the same types of things as Max has been pestering to go trick or treating (which has come from friends at school I think). I tried to explain to him it's not something we 'do' here - in fact, I get quite cranky if we ever get trick or treated. I get cranky with the growing expectation to tip at resturants too - people in our service industry get a far more generous wage than those in the US who depend on tips to make up a reasonable salary - but I digress!

I'm perplexed about the whole LDS and halloween thing too. My upbringing was the same as yours.

I can understand Christmas, because the underlying theme of Christmas is Christ centered. Sure, Santa is a bit of a diversion, but even the origins of the story of St Nicholas were due to generosity and charity for the poor.

Celebrating ghosts and spooky stuff which we normally associate with evil and satanic origins, I just don't get.

Sars life said...

I no longer class myself as LDS but a lot of the beliefs and practices have stuck and not celebrating Halloween is one of them. My In-Laws are big on Halloween and say it is all in fun . Fair enough but we stick to non spirit associated activities we even tried our hand at pumpkin carving. Sarah W

Joanna said...

I live in the US but am from NZ - also lived in Brisbane for a couple of years! And I'm also LDS. You are right, over here we love Halloween! And you know what? Every ward I have been in (In Utah and now New Hampshire - opposite sides of the country almost) celebrates Halloween with a Trunk or Treat, usually the night before Halloween.

We have a ward dinner with Halloween type games in the gym, (everyone wears costumes of course!) then everyone heads outside to the parking lot where we have decorated the open trunks of our cars. The kids then walk from car to car trick or treating.

The wards look at it as a fellowshipping activity - the whole neighborhood is invited, and they do indeed come! It's the easiest thing to invite non-member friends etc to. No pressure, just good fun.

As for our own Halloween celebration, the kids dress up, hubby takes them trick or treating, and I stay home handing out the candy. The neighborhood is buzzing and it is so much fun! People really REALLY get into it here!

I have no problem at all with Halloween. I think it's pretty harmless. And of course I love the decorating:) It does help that it's Fall at the same time!

Calamity Cookie said...

I thought my family (me, husband, kids and in-laws) were the only ones that thought Halloween wasn't to be celebrated because it's meaning is opposite to what we believe.

I'm glad you posted this because now I know that there are lots of other LDS that feel the same way.

Our little family said...

I don't like Halloween, but only because I don't like all the ghosts and creepy stuff. I LOVE fall stuff, and we do all of that. We carved pumpkins, because you don't get any more "fallish" than pumpkins, and how cute is a jack o'lantern?? But they're just simple smiley faces, not creepy or scary.

I bought a kit for a haunted gingerbread house, but instead of a haunted house, we're making a "fall" house. Lots of orange and candy corn and pumkins. I do let the kids dress up, but you'll never find a with, ghost, or even spider or black cat in my house. Just lots of fall leaves, pumpkins and turkeys. I'm putting up some pictures of my fall decorations tomorrow.

Lots of the Halloween crafts can be altered to be just fall crafts. Or do a specific search for fall crafts, then you can have fun too, and still make your husband happy. :)

Anonymous said...

Well done bobbie on finding a craft and justification for it! The bats flying over head is a great Brisbane sight.
Aside from the spiritual reasons to not do Halloween, it is just so AMerican! Surely we can find our own things to celebrate and not have to copy!!

Carli said...

Well written post on your ideas Bobbie. I agree with the gist of it and feel anxious about introducing more spooky into the world when there is already so much for children to worry about - Mason is terrified of bad dreams and I don't want to add to that. I guess we can take a little and leave out a lot. I do like the celebration of Autumn and the colours but not witches and ghosts!

Anonymous said...

Cute bats. My son is fascinated with bats but around here we can only ever find one or two at a time.

As for the Halloween stuff...
(American Christan here) We just view it as make believe... like fairy tales. My kids know there are no Dragons... they know there are no walking, talking skeletons. In some ways I think the people who strongly appose it give it way more weight than those who take it as silly fun.

That said, even in America a lot of parties and such are now being called Harvest Parties. Halloween has been banned in all the schools in our area (as with all religious holidays - I think calling it a religion is the scariest part). The average kid just wants to wear a costume and get some treats. Trick or treating seems to be a dying fade in our area too... most of the Churches host some sort of "instead of" party. But the best part is carving pumpkins and drinking spiced cider... which you can easily do leaving all that hocus pocus behind.

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