So, Halloween is this month and my oldest is already asking if she can go trick or treating. I tried to explain that we don't really do trick or treating in Australia, BUT she remembered the trickle of trickers and treaters from last year. She did the maths, thought about the potential chocolate haul and wants in on Halloween this year! So, after 364 days of drumming in "don't take sweets from strangers, don't go into a stranger's house, don't even talk to strangers….bam, I'm supposed to say, go forth my babies and break all the rules!
I know Halloween and trick or treating is most likely an Irish/Scottish tradition (because Demos and Coves are famous Irish names, not!) that's it's all very Americanised and not at all part of the Australian (or Greek for that matter) culture – but I like to think Australia is a place to celebrate all kinds of traditions and festivals….that's one of the great things about being Aussie mate!
BUT, I tried to explain that because we don’t really celebrate Halloween in Australia, the neighbours don't expect trick or treating. It might be a bit rude to disturb old Mrs Caravasanas on the corner or downright dangerous to call on the Addam's Family (name change to protect our immortal souls) two doors down. But, the idea of a big bag of free chocolate is a VERY persuasive argument that drowns out caution and logic.
Oh bugger, I can feel it, that niggling little twitch in the back of my mind that indicates, I'm about to cave and let them do what they want….oh crap, I'm going to have to sew aren't I? Or shop for kids outfits. I love shopping for outfits. Or I'll raid our little girl dresses….and Halloween them up. Yes, I'll do that. Maybe I'll do a bit of each! Yay for Halloween!
We live in a pretty OK neighborhood, like, there's no crack dens at least. Our neighours are nice enough (excluding the Addams Family of course) and we have quite a few kids in the area. I still wouldn't let my oldest just go off willy nilly taking candy from strangers, even if we lived in the happiest, friendliest, nicest township in all Australia, that ain't happening! But, I heard about the BEST idea for trick or treating ever!
A few days before Halloween, I'm going to take the girls on a letterbox drop up and down our block. We'll put a single orange balloon, some ribbon and a note in every letterbox that says "If you're celebrating Halloween this year and welcome trick or treaters, please tie this balloon to your letterbox on Halloween night!" That way, on the night, there's no disrupting the old dears, all dogs are locked up for the night and we'll all be prepared to have little goblins and witches at our door!
We're going to do some party decorations and scary stuff like a Jack-o-lantern watermelon (way easier and cheaper than a pumpkin). So, hubby is totally not interested in being involved, so his job is going to be to hand out sweets to trick or treaters stopping in.
I've agreed to take the girls in their costumes (1 x Sofia the First, 1 x Wonder Woman and 1 x Super Girl – very scary) door to door on the condition that we only go to orange ballooned houses, that I can see them at all times, that they don't go inside and that all treats must be kept until we get home (just to be sure there's no nasty surprises in there).
So, am I being a neurotic, over-protective mum? Should I let my big girl go with her friends now that there will be orange balloons keeping them safe? If not, what age can kids do this sort of thing alone? Is trick or treating and even Halloween something for Australia anyway?
It's just another one of those parenting issues where we're all a bit unsure of what a "good parent" would do, everyone has a different opinion….keen to hear yours!