Halloween: One American thing too many or just good fun?

IT'S that time of year when ghosts and ghouls come out to play, but many argue that Halloween is simply an "American thing" that should not be brought here to Australia.

Many locals have commented that this "American tradition" of Halloween should be ignored, with many claiming they won't be opening their doors to knocks of trick or treaters, as others voiced concerns of stranger danger and safety.

However others have said it's all just a bit of fun, so why not let the kids enjoy it.

Fun Halloween recipes

Sociologist at Griffith University Dr Christine Feldman-Barrett, who moved to Australia from the United States a couple of years ago, agrees - let the fun be had.

She said she was initially surprised to see Halloween being celebrated somewhere other than North America, but while she has noticed some celebrations of Halloween in Australia, the holiday is definitely not as popular as it is in North America, where it is celebrated in a huge way.

While many Australians, especially from Generation Y, hold connections to America through TV shows, films and music, Dr Feldman-Barrett said she was of the understanding that as a Commonwealth nation Australia may have stronger ties to Britain.

"It seems like the people who are getting into it the most are children (here in Australia)," she said.

That, Dr Feldman-Barrett said, was not so different from the US. "I think a lot of people in the United States see it as something more orientated to children, but you'll always find a strong contingent of adults who really get into it," she said.

"That's what's probably different here (in Australia) - barring some nightclubs who have dress-up as a novelty, I haven't seen too many adults really taking any notice of Halloween, unless they have children."

On the Northern Rivers some Halloween celebrations can be found, at pubs and nightclubs - and don't forget the Halloween-themed Ballina Twilight Markets at Fawcett Park tomorrow from 4-8pm.

Halloween recipes

Frankenstein's Monster Punch:

Fill a clean rubber glove with orange juice or raspberry cordial and tie off the end securely. Place in the freezer for several hours until completely frozen. Peel a small bunch of seedless grapes for 'eyeballs' and wash and hull a punnet of strawberries. Cut the strawberries in half to form 'hearts'. Cover the fruit and refrigerate until ready to serve. To make the punch, combine a bottle of fruit juice, a bottle of dry ginger ale, and a bottle of lemonade in a large bowl. Add the chilled fruit. Dip the rubber glove in hot water for a few seconds, and squeeze the frozen 'hand' out into the punch. Serve immediately.

Brain Sandwiches:

Roughly mash several bananas with a little lemon juice. Take eight slices of wholegrain bread and spread half of them with the banana. Spread the remaining four slices with strawberry jam, and place on top of the banana. Cut shapes with novelty cutters and serve.

Hairy Spider Biscuits:

Split chocolate cream biscuits such as Oreos in half through the cream centre. Cut shoestring liquorice or similar sweets into 1cm lengths and criss-cross across one half of the biscuit, then top with the other half. Use a little chocolate frosting and silver cachous to make eyes.

Swamp Jelly:

Make a lime or mango jelly from a packet, following the instructions on the box. Before the jelly has completely set, push large well-washed plastic novelty insects into the jelly with a skewer, and return the jelly to the first to set completely. NB This idea is not suitable for children under the age of four.

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