Halloween - do you dress up and celebrate or do you stay home and hide?

If you're from Australia, which I am, we don't celebrate Halloween. Or, if we do it it's typically a half-assed attempt that results in vows never to don a cape and hat and walk two streets for a solitary fun-sized Mars bar every again. The stores get in cobwebs and pumpkins and some parents will let their children wander around the neighbourhood to ask for candy. Do we get out houses egged if we have none? No. At least I hope not.

What happened last year was that I forgot all about Halloween until twilight set in and I saw a few ghouls wander into the street. My heart leapt up into my throat (don't you love that cliché) but it did exactly that. I had bought chocolates during the weekly shop but I'd eaten them already (as you do). So I raced into the kitchen and rummaged around the pantry. All I had was muesli bars.

Muesli bars. I kid you not. Kids were closing in on my house and all I could give them was a muesli bar.

I told myself this was acceptable because it contained chocolate chips. I tell myself every year to better prepare for next year. But I don't. I guess that is my wickedness coming out. I eat the goodies before the kids even set food in the street.

Still, there are plenty of people who will hold parties. I've organised a Halloween party once. We all agreed to wear costumes. We put fake headstones around the yard. Cobwebs, all the decorations. a few hours before the party one young couple knocked on the door and asked if a costume was mandatory.

Now I am a HUGE believer that if you have a fancy dress party it is NOT permissible to turn up out of costume. Most especially if you are the host as once happened to me. If it says on the invite that this is a pink party YOU WEAR PINK. You expect everyone to wear pink. You do not expect to walk into the door and see the host in a blue shirt and shirt.

So I told this young couple that costume was mandatory and they drove 20 minutes into the nearest town and picked up two costumes. The result of this was a 100% participation rate. I either have excellent influential skills or I put the fear of death into people. either way, 100% participation is more than satisfactory. We have a great time.

But, alas, in Australia Halloween is not something we anticipate. It is not something we regularly do. Some people might, but what we see on American TV is not what we do. Not sure if what we see on American TV is what American's do, but we go with what evidence is placed in front of us.

Do I like Halloween? Yes. Do I go all out and decorate  the house, dress up and do trick or treat? No.
Do I like space? Yes. Do I dress up as an astronaut when NASA launches a probe to Mars? No.

I've decided this Halloween I'll put on some music, maybe open a wine, maybe not eat the chocolate set aside for the odd trick or treater and I will get stuck into writing reviews.

I'll admit I'm guilty of reading a book, telling my reader friends if I loved or hated it, but I spend twelve hours a day at a computer that I'm always loathe to get onto Amazon, B&N, Goodreads etc and write reviews. so that is what I will do this year. I will sit at my desk of which I have a view to the street, and I will get stuck into writing more reviews of books I'd read this year.

What about you? Will you be celebrating Halloween or will you be setting aside this time to do that once a year chore?


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. The Bird With The Broken Wing reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Feedback reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings and the book trailer which features an original song performed by the author appeared on USA Today website. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

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