01 November, 2008

A Howling Good Time

Halloween is, by far, my favorite holiday. It's a day of pure fun, experienced with inner-child abandon and blatant disregard for sensible things like "No candy before supper," and "Don't wear that!" Halloween is also an excellent time for building a bit of community spirit and getting to know the locals.

I grew up in a land where All Hallows Eve is the second most money-making holiday, after Christmas, and everyone really gets in the spirit. Kids dress up. Grown-ups do too. People decorate, throw theme parties, attend haunts and hay rides, carve Jack O'Lanterns, and just have a terrific time.

Now that I'm in Australia, there's a bit of a Halloween buzz-kill. You'd think that a country known for the any-excuse-for-a-good-time mentality would heartily embrace such a frivolous fete, but nay!

Bucking local (lack of) tradition, hubby and I strung up the meager decorations I brought from the US, pooled with a few bits and pieces gathered from the cheap stores, and it started a wave of Halloween cheer amongst the neighbors. The house across the street strung up spun-cotton spider webs, the kids bugged parents until costumes were pieced together, even a couple moms got into the act, urging their kids to visit a few more houses before it got dark, smiles all around.

The sounds of giggling, sugar-hyped kids filled the cool evening and we made them all light up when I answered the door in my gypsy-esque finery, hubby in his old school uniform. We had fifteen Trick-or-Treaters total that came for our goodies, and to see the mummified stuffed animals we'd perched on the rose arch.

What does this have to do with ecology, gardening, self-sufficiency, or anything really? Community. Halloween builds community. We met neighbors who've never even waved hello, but Halloween had them knocking on our door. We made their kids smile, and gave them a good laugh. We learned who belongs to whom, and just what faces float about our little street.

Community is something that's faded right along with all the skills we try to cultivate as suburban semi-steaders, and though many sustainability-focused families seem to isolate themselves, shunning the more commercial world, we're of the ilk that believe the key to a better world begins with knowing the folks next door.

So, next year, when you're tempted to turn out your porch light, or to pass that perfect carving-pumpkin on by, consider the people in your neck of the woods and ask yourself if you might grow something a little more important than organic veggies today. Ask yourself if you could grow a community.


suzan said...

tiI like that. Howl on!

suzan said...

I think my work verification task somehow got hooked up with my comment...it was meant to read
"I like that. Howl on!"

Happy Halloween to you all

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Thanks, Suzan! Happy Halloween to you as well :) And get-well wishes to Raggedy Ann.

RazorFamilyFarms.com said...

Happy Halloween, Sis!


Kelly the City Mouse said...

Lacy: Happy Howlings to you too :)