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'Tacky costumes and cheap thrills: Why all families should celebrate Halloween like we do.'


Another Hendley Halloween is fast approaching and my family (the Hendley’s) are ready to get their ghoul on and celebrate – and I couldn’t be happier.

Granted, I’m someone who has always been fascinated by the morbid aspects of life… and death, but for me Halloween is more about the way it brings my family together. It’s a ritual we can look forward to every year; a small yet welcome interruption to our normal lives.

I know Halloween is one of those polarising festivities – you either love it or you hate it. It is either complete and utter commercialism designed to take your money and send it straight to the red, horned Devil himself, or you think – hey – it’s a day where you can dress up, play games and (dare I say it) have fun. Or at least let your kids have some.

Down to get into the Halloween spirit? Here’s how to carve a pumpkin. Post continues below.

Video by MMC

For my husband, young daughters and I, Halloween is one of our favourite times of the year. From learning about its fascinating origins and history, all the way through to its Americanisation (think shopping for fake spiderwebs at Big W), we love it all. It’s tacky, it’s filled with cheap thrills and scares, and bad (yet tasty) food.


And if you ask me, there isn’t enough of this kind of thing today.

halloween in australia
"My daughters getting into the spirit." Image: Supplied

We're living in a world where everything is so serious, all the time. From the news to the constant bombardment of messages to better ourselves on social media – sometimes you just want to have some pure, indulgent over-the-top fun.

And this is why my family decided to let go, embrace it for what it is and truly immerse ourselves in the festivities, in every way a person can.


This is why we dress up as our favourite monster, witch, vampire or ghost, apply fake blood or some sort of makeup to make us look worse than we already do, and take our cauldron and jack-o'-lantern buckets out and rap on our neighbourhood doors, enthusiastically asking, “trick or treat?”

Because when else can you?

halloween in australia
"My family decided to let go, embrace it for what it is and truly immerse ourselves in the festivities." Image: Supplied

Halloween allows us to do things we would never normally do in a way we, as parents, can supervise and monitor. Things like walking around in public in silly costumes, asking for lollies and deliberately scaring other people.


It’s memorable, usually hilarious and almost always results in a smile from those in the local community who are involved in Halloween.

Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo discuss Halloween costumes on This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

Although All Hallows Eve is the pinnacle for our family, Halloween, to us, isn’t just about the actual day itself. On the lead up to the event we carve pumpkins, decorate a room of our house like it’s the Addams Family Christmas and enjoy some festive activities like icing bones onto skeleton biscuits – things that shouldn’t just have to be saved for the ‘real’ holidays.

We exercise our creativity and imagination together as a family as we decorate, decide on costumes and do our arts, crafts and cooking together. It isn’t always just buying cheap plastic or poorly made costumes (although we have done that too), it's about thinking outside the box, working to create something, and the feeling of pride within my children when we do.

Despite our lives being busy, with hectic schedules and all the other necessities and realities of life, we always look forward to Halloween. It's a time where we get to embrace our inner child and just have a terrifyingly good time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Shona Hendley, ‘Mother of Cats, Goats and Humans’ is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education, she is also a passionate animal advocate.You can follow her on Instagram.