Still a Halloween hater? Stop being such a ghoul

After this year’s annual night of trick-or-treating, the anti-Halloweenists came out of the gloom again. “We never had Halloween when I was growing up! Why should kids today?” they groan. “It’s a bloody Yank tradition, it’s unAustralian! They only promote it so the retailers can make money.”

Actually, it’s an ancient Celtic tradition where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. But they do have a point about it being a money-making exercise. The Australian Retailers Association predicted Aussies would spend $490 million on Halloween lollies, costumes and decorations in 2023, up 14 per cent on last year. Frankly, I don’t think it’s bad to stimulate the economy before the Christmas rush, especially if it brings a modicum of joy to the masses.

Beyond purely a monetary exercise, Halloween allows us to step outside the monotonous humdrum of our day-to-day existence. And right now, the world is scarier and gloomier than any ghost, particularly for children.

Halloween offers an element of escapism that we all need. It also gives kids an opportunity to stimulate their imagination and creativity and to practice their social skills, particularly after the social isolation caused by the pandemic.

After all, Halloween is the best day of the year for getting to know your neighbours. How often do you get to interact with the people who live in your street as your kid goes door to door? Even if you don’t have children, you could’ve spent last night building social capital by putting out Halloween decorations and having some treats ready.

Then there’s the priceless joy of watching a six-year-old dressed as a skeleton smile giddily as you drop lollies into their bucket. It’s this kind of social connection that numerous studies say makes you happier, kinder and healthier, and the benefits can spread from person to person.

To read more, visit