Americanised: A Mickey Mouse Halloween pumpkin at Disneyland. Andrew Olsen says Halloween is about more than America. It’s almost time for Halloween.
Loads of kids will,on Wednesday, wander the streetsin costume, bludging chocolate and lollies. Whatever you do, don’t give them an apple.
We can already hear your collective groan:“Not thatAmerican rubbish!”.
But alas, no. Not according toHamilton South’s Andrew Olsen.
Andrew is Canadian. He’sbeen living Down Under since 1995 and he’sa big Halloween fan.
“To say that Halloween is American rubbishis akin to saying Christmas is American rubbish,” Andrew said.
“Both events were brought to the US andCanadaby immigrants –Christmasby the English and Halloweenby the Scottish and Irish. Both events flourished in both countries – even more so in Canada.”
Andrew said Halloween was an “opportunity to dress up in a costume and have a laugh”.
“It’s phenomenal that this event has endured for so long, especially in light of the Christian repressionofits Celtic and pagan origins,” he said.
He quoted an article titled,Why do People Wear Costumes?to highlight the power of dressing up. The wearing of costumes atHalloween was a time to “let loose, violate social codesand parade around in otherwise unacceptable modes of dress”.
“There’s a lot we repress as a society and we need a safety valve to let off steam,” the article said.
Andrew said that Halloween, in Canada, was “not just a time for kids to trick or treat, but for adults to have parties”.
He said costumes weren’trestricted to witches, ghosts and goblins.
“You can dress up like anything or anyone.Human history is vastly rich with costumes and characters to represent.
“Costumes are a great way to break down all the social and economic barriers that we live under today.”
Andrew hasstruggled with the resistance shown to Halloween because “it’s un-n” or “it’s American and we’re not doing it”.
“It’swidely believed that the origins of Halloween go back to the annual pagan event acted out by the Celtsmore than 2000 years ago,” he said.
He said the ritual had somehow managed to survive, despite being attacked in the past through“Christian repression, persecution and torture”.
He saidHalloween was not all about ghosts, goblins and ghouls.
“Youhavethe Christians to thank for the demonisation of Halloween,” he said.
“As they tried to convert pagans over to Christianity, they started to claim that pagan rituals were devil worship. The Christians weren’t very nice to pagans or anyone else who didn’t tow the line.”
One of Andrew’s key points is this: “Many communities around the world have their masquerade festivals, so why can’t we have our own annual day to dress up, reach out to the community and party?”
The laziest Halloween costume around.