There's no tradition of Halloween in Australia. It is still very much regarded as an American holiday, and only superficially celebrated. There are occasional costume parties, a bit of random trick or treating, and increasingly, Halloween candy and other paraphernalia are available on the supermarket shelves, but in general, Australia has not really embraced the night when the veil between the worlds is at its thinest. Me? Well, that's a whole other story. I love Halloween.
The Skeleton Dance
For me, Halloween is like The Addams Family television show, or The Skeleton Dance. It's all about the lighter side of the dark side. A time to put the cute into creepy, and the kooky into spooky.
The Addams Family
Of course, without any true frame of reference, anything I know about Halloween, I've learned from watching American movies and television. Since starting this blog however, and becoming acquainted with many hardcore Halloween enthusiasts, I now realize that my knowledge of Halloween customs barely scratches the surface. Until recently, I had never heard the expression "yard haunt". Nor was I aware that the entire month of October was filled with seasonal festivities like corn mazes, bonfires, hayrides, and caramel apples, not to mention a plethora of pumpkin flavoured products. You see, I live on the other side of the globe, where it is currently Spring, not Autumn, so I have to content myself with my own cobbled together version of Halloween.
I carved my first pumpkin several years ago. It was a Queensland Blue variety. For those not familiar with the Queensland Blue pumpkin, the experience of carving it was akin to sawing through hard wood. It took me five hours to carve a basic Jack-o'-Lantern face. Fortunately, the lovely orange, and much more pliable, American pumpkins are now available here, although they are outrageously expensive. This year's pumpkin cost a whopping $18.50! And that was after waiting until the last minute, and purchasing one that was reduced to half-price.
Although I admire the artistry of the intricate designs that many people carve into their pumpkins, as you can see, when it comes to carving my own pumpkin, I favour the simple Jack-o'-Lantern face.
Beyond a Jack-o'-Lantern, and a few decorations, my Halloween ritual basically consists of a nice dinner, followed by some kind of spooky, but lighthearted or kooky movie. Terror is fine on every other day of the year, but Halloween is about fun. Tim Burton's movies often fit the bill. Other Halloween favourites include, The Frighteners, Monster House, Coraline, and Ghostbusters. This year we opted for Hocus Pocus.
My Skull Cake
I always make some sort of treat to enjoy while we watch our movie, so this year I thought I'd try and make a skull cake. It was a pretty freestyle creation and nothing fancy, but I think it turned out kind of cute. I just carved a skull shape out of a round cake, and then made a stencil out of baking paper for the face. The cake was just a vanilla butter cake, with a vanilla butter cream icing, and the eyes, nose and mouth were made from cocoa and sugar.
So, that was my Halloween. I'd love to hear how you celebrated your Halloween?