The Hill I Will Die On: You’re Not Cool For Hating Halloween

Can't we just have fun for one night without boomers lecturing us?


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Please, tell me more about how you hate Halloween! Tell me more about how it’s an ~American~ thing and you’re sick of Australia adopting American culture! Tell me more about how you didn’t celebrate it when you were a kid, and therefore it should never be celebrated by anyone! Tell me more about how you hate fun, you sad person!

At around this time every year, some Boomer or Gen-Xer will take to the pages of a legacy media publication to proudly declare that Halloween Is Very Very Bad. This year, the duty fell to Nicola Philp for Fairfax.

“Don’t Come Trick Or Treating At My House, I Won’t Answer The Door”, was the headline of the piece that outlined the author’s gripes with the celebration.

“I detest Halloween. I loathe it,” Philp wrote. “Huge numbers of kids now believe it’s part of the everyday, regular Australian celebrations and participate in trick or treating,” she wrote, presumably typing with one hand while her other hand was busy clutching some pearls.

“Meanwhile I shut my gates, lower the blinds and breathe my way through the whole debacle. Breathing for myself and for the planet as she groans through yet another wave of disposable plastic crap.” Nicola must be fun at parties.

Here’s the thing: I don’t have any particular affinity for Halloween. I don’t have visible enough abs to put on a pair of speedos, call it a “superhero costume”, and party with my fellow homosexuals at Arq on a Saturday night, and trick-or-treating has never been my thing. But sure, I’ll buy a bag of fun-sized Milky Ways and hand them out to any princes or princesses who knock on my door tomorrow night. Because I’m not a narc.

As Halloween’s popularity has grown in Australia over the last decade or so, a much more sinister community has popped up in parallel: The self-identified Halloween Hater. Their costume is disgust and contempt, and they wear it as a badge of honour. They proudly let us all know that Halloween is beneath them, as though we’re all supposed to admire them for their brave stance against harmless fun.

Here’s a reminder: the other option when you don’t like something is to just shut the fuck up about it.

Yesterday, I tweeted that hating on Halloween doesn’t make you cool or edgy. For the last 24 hours, I’ve been inundated with responses, mostly from boomers, telling me why it’s ok to hate Halloween. Their arguments basically boil down to three things: Halloween is an “American” thing, “I didn’t celebrate it when I was a kid”, and “it’s so commercial”.

So let’s break those down.

“I Didn’t Celebrate Halloween When I Was A Kid”

Ok, cool, but you also didn’t have fluoride in the water when you were a kid. We’ve come a long way since then.

Is there a more Boomer argument in the world than “I didn’t get to have fun, so now no one should”?

Guys, let us have this. I don’t know if you’ve looked around lately, but the world is on fire, and it’s largely boomers’ fault. Can’t we dress up for one day, eat some candy and try to forget you ruined the housing market? Perhaps you’d get on board if I could figure out how to dress as your third negatively-geared investment property.

“It’s An American Thing”

First of all, no, it’s not. Halloween’s has its origins in Celtic folklore and has pagan roots. Like a lot of the holidays we celebrate today, Halloween is a bastardised version of a centuries-old tradition that takes elements from a bunch of different geographic areas and traditions blah blah blah whatever.

But sure, maybe you’re talking about the more commercialised version of Halloween that involves buying cheap plastic costumes and bucketloads of candy. Sure, this version has a distinctly American feel to it. Who cares?

Why have you drawn the line here, at a day when people younger than you are just trying to have some fun? Until you’re willing to stop watching American TV and films, or listening to American music, or buying American products, you don’t really get to complain about American culture “supplanting” Australian culture. It’s weirdly racist.

It’s Too Commercial

“Participating in Halloween in Australia is a naff celebration of capitalism and adoption of Hallmark crap you caught by watching American television,” one tweeter said to me, via Twitter for iPhone.

Congratulations! You’ve discovered capitalism! Eat the rich! Smash the state!

How about you do literally anything else to bring down capitalism, rather than depriving some children of fun and candy?

Just Let Them Have Fun

Have you ever seen the look of pure joy on a kid’s face when you address them as the superhero they’re dressed as, pretending you don’t realise you’re talking to Little Jimmy, and you really think this is the real, actual Mr Incredible standing before you?

They love it. They also love candy. And fun. Tomorrow night thousands of kids are going to knock on doors around Australia. They’ll be dressed in cute costumes and it will all be very adorable. They’ll be asking for candy, not a lecture about how things were Back In Your Day. They won’t be asking for moralising about how commercialism is destroying the nation’s soul. They won’t be asking for some weirdly anti-American rant. They just want some candy. Give it to them.

Rob Stott is Junkee Media’s Managing Editor. Tell him about Halloween on Twitter, so he can mute you: @Rob_Stott