Halloween: Is it creative or creepy?
HALLOWEEN is one festivity that probably divides more people than any other day of the year. Some love it. Others hate it. Here's two opposing views from across the ditch.
MATT HEATH SAYS:
I am a huge fan of Halloween. It's the weirdest, most creative party of the year. We humans have come up with some incredibly dark ideas over the years and they deserve their special day. Zombies, poltergeists, werewolves and succubi - just to mention a few. I love that once a year people walk around pretending they're dying, horribly, and get lollies for their trouble.
Tomorrow night I will cover myself, head to toe, in blood; shove a dagger through my heart and head out for a drink with a bunch of murderers.
I'm not sure why that makes for a fun night but it does. There will be the classics ghouls out and about but Halloween is also topical. This year along with sexy nurses with slit throats you'll see dozens of Ebola victims. A few years ago everyone was wearing Bain jerseys.
Boring people love to whinge about Halloween. "Why are we celebrating an American festival?" they moan. The answer is simple. It's fun!
Also it's not American it's Celtic in origin. Plus, if we did only New Zealand things, we'd have to dump Christmas, Easter and light bulbs too.
Halloween is a celebration of horror culture. The great scary films. The Exorcist, Evil Dead, Paranormal Activity 3, Dawn of the Dead and Tucker and Dale Vs Evil. And don't forget the great horror music from Iron Maiden, Number of the Beast, The Cure's Lullaby and The Eels' Fresh Blood.
It's a fantastic time for young and old. We just need to move Guy Fawkes a week earlier so we can let off fireworks while we pretend to bleed to death with our mates.
Matt Heath hosts Hauraki Breakfast, weekdays from 6am.
LYDIA JENKIN SAYS:
Okay, so I'm going to sound like the grinch that stole all the pumpkins, but I don't like Halloween.
Some of it is just a general antipathy for pretend scariness - I think most horror movies are a bit rubbish (so many cliches), I find it bizarre that there's a multimillion-dollar industry that revolves around getting people to buy cheap plastic costumes that make them look awful and require no imagination whatsoever (is anyone else sick of the endless parade of slutty nurse/witch/cat/vampires?), and I find there's plenty to scare yourself with in real life if you're looking for a bit of an adrenalin rush.
But I'm also willing to acknowledge a lot of it comes down to personal experience and taste. I don't actually have anything against the supposed purpose of Halloween - remembering those who have passed, and using a little humour to laugh in the face of death.
But here we seem to do the whole celebration with such half-heartedness, that it all revolves around kids throwing a sheet over their heads, knocking on doors, and demanding lollies or chocolate. Where are the street decorations, haunted houses and festive feelings?
It all just seems to be a prime opportunity for teens to show off their worst behaviour (awful pranks, lewd behaviour, scaring kids, throwing things), rather than actually engendering any community spirit or sense of fun and celebration with your neighbours.
I did try to host a Halloween party with some flatmates many years ago, in an attempt to shrug off my Halloween grinchness and, I'll admit, it was fun. But the clean-up was ridiculous.
The pumpkins we'd lovingly carved ended up infested with maggots, there were fake cobwebs everywhere that seemed impossible to remove, and we never could get those weird purple stains off the walls. It was like death was laughing at me instead of the other way round.
So from now on, I steer clear.