Halloween: Why Do Australians Want to Celebrate A Tradition That Isn't Ours?

With Halloween just around the corner, many of us are bracing for an influx of our worst fears all in the one night, including clowns! But does the Halloween celebration belong in Australia? Why are so many Australian’s now celebrating Halloween and what is the underlying emotional driver?

Many assume that Halloween is an American tradition, however the origins started with the Celtic festival of Samhain, who lived mostly in the area that is now Ireland, UK and Northern France. History tells it was the marking of the end of the harvest season and the start of the new winter. The bonfires and costumes were to ward off ghosts that the Celts believed returned to the world of the living on this night. The tradition has evolved over the years combining Feralia Day, Pomona Day and All Saints Day to create what we now know as Halloween. Immigration was the main reason for the movement of the popular tradition into America. Still, why has it become so big and why have many Australian’s now been drawn into the celebration?

Everything we do in life is for the emotional feeling we will achieve once it is done. Halloween is ultimately a celebration that brings people together.

It creates excitement, fun, dressing up, sugar. Australian’s have watched American’s and others across the world having fun and thought “I want to do and feel like that!” This is the case in many situations, not just Halloween. Desiring the emotional feeling that others are achieving. It is the feeling that we stand to gain that drives our decisions.

The human interaction element is the draw card. It isn’t the tradition or history behind the celebration that is drawing people in. There are rarely any religious ceremonies or belief attached these days.  People are seeing it simply for the activity that it is and how they will feel if they get involved. 

It's an emotional outcome of joy and happiness.


Let’s remove the name of the event, it’s history and origin for a moment and look at the purpose and what it can potentially achieve:

  • Getting kids (and parents) off screens and out into the neighbourhood to socialise.
  • Communities meeting each other, with sites popping up to register suburbs and streets as 'Trick or Treat Friendly'.
  • Families coming together to organise parties, costumes, or even just the sweets, ready for ‘trick or treat’ visitors. 

Even still, Halloween is not for everyone and from an EI point of view, etiquette needs to come into play to respect other people’s beliefs and values just like in any situation


The minute we try to force our beliefs, values and opinions on other people, we become egotistical rather than passionate. Respect those that choose not to celebrate. There are web pages that can be referred to like ‘Trick or Treat Friendly’ or Facebook Community pages.

We have rules in our family:

  • If there are no decorations, no knocking
  • Don’t be greedy or obnoxious
  • Make the effort to dress up, or don’t play


Safety should always be front of mind, especially when talking to and accepting food from strangers, with parental supervision where required. Appropriate tricks or treats should be given and be self-aware of the impact you have on others.

Tips to make the best of Halloween:

  • Have fun with the community!
  • Meet your neighbours and get to know the people around you. 
  • It’s a great opportunity to turn off the electronic screens, go for a walk, or a bike ride, and engage in human interaction building our Social Awareness.

Did you enjoy this article? Read more from Amy here..


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