Thursday, October 2, 2008

Halloween Fun In Australia, Not So Much

On the radio this morning there was America bashing. Apparently, Halloween is just another way the U.S. is quietly infiltrating Australian culture and taking over, at least that's what some think.

Apparently Halloween is very controversial in Australia, this is my second year experiencing the weird vibe it has here.

Obviously was I went out looking for a video to convey a point, that being said- I truly believe that these are common Australian perspectives on Americans-- even if they don't say it to your face... okay, actually I mean my face.

Today I'm going to pull my Halloween decorations out and get my American freak on, the haters can go to hell.



Marvin the Martian said...

See, that's what happens when a bunch of prisoners inbreed too much. They get stoopid.

Gimme my damn lolly.


elsja said...

i particularly like the guy who is wearing a san fran sweatshirt...

and the girls talking about ditzy cheerleaders who go running off with their sparkle garland headbands and little foofy tutu mini skirts.

It really does bum me out. For once in my life I really feel discriminated against.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Elsja- See if I didn't have people like you to back me up on this people would think I was even crazier than I actually am.

Totally on the San Fran sweatshirt guy and the sparkle headband girl making fun of cheerleaders-- not that we all have made fun of cheerleaders.

A Free Man said...

Mixed feelings about this one. I'm not a big fan of Halloween so I don't miss that really. As for the video, some of those things are true. That's the thing. All of them are stereotypes, but they're based in reality, you know. I think that our image abroad has really taken a hit in the last 8 years, hopefully we can start to repair it.

I get a bit defensive when people come at me with this kind of stuff as well and people do say it to my face. It's much better here than it was in Britain, though!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Free Man-

I agree that some are true, all stereotypes stem from some type of reality-- and I'm not all about Halloween either, but it starts my day off all wrong when I hear America bashing on the radio in the morning. And I am the furthest thing from a patriotic type person.

I think you have a more unique perspective because your wife is Australian AND you've been down this expat road before having lived in Britain.

I haven't been to London since about 1998, of course back then they were nice to Americans.

And just to add one more thing-- I came into this experience not at all thinking Australians would be anti-American. My assumption was that this was the closest culture to ours-- and people would be welcoming and nice... unfortunately, that hasn't really been my reality.

Maybe it's Sydney?

Jill Stevens, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist said...

Dude. that was awesome. I love love love love love love the girls in the fairy outfits. wtf was that? and also the drunk guy in the san francisco sweatshirt. YEAH! GO TEAM buddy. anyway- i hate americans too, but whateves. i don't need to go on and on and on about it. at least i've been there.

Jill Stevens, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist said...

whoa. i just read all the comments after i wrote my last one. sorry everyone- i didn't mean to be insensitive to all the rough crap everyone has to go through. me loves you- each and every one.

SSG said...

So, is the custom to put up Decorations for Hallowe'en for a month, like Christmas? when do you take them down again? I haven't managed to watch the video but will when I get home from work ;). Me, i love all Autumn festivals- hallowe'en, all saints, all souls, (day of the dead), guy fawks, but it's not usual here to celebrate before or after the day, so I think people would find it weird if i decorated now, but go for it!

Daisy said...

I'm celebrating Halloween this year as well - in spite of my present "condition" (which is living in Australia.) And even though I've already been told by like a million people that "Australians don't like Halloween" and "You're not going to find much support if you want to celebrate Halloween" - i'm fairly certain I won't be hearing any complaints when I rock the naughty school girl Halloween costume - so they can ALL shove off.

I do miss my halloween candy though ... :(

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

SSG- No, most people would just put out a couple things (if any) a couple days or a week before. But I'm just in the mood, rebellious American syndrome? hahaha

Daisy- Hell yeah, naughty school girl what up? Are you in Sydney? We need to find us some trick or treating spots.

Nathan said...

I think this shows me that more people need to get out and travel.

Before I went to America, I could sympathise with most of the view points expressed in that video (which is bought home for me more by the last guy "ask me a question", where he says he has never been to the US).

America has a bit of an intimidating feel for such a small country like Australia.

We are proud patriotic people, just in a different way.

When we see younger kids (it is always younger kids isn't it, we were *never* like that when we were young!) losing their Australian identity and aspiring to basically be Americans, it feels like we are no longer Australians, but just an extention of the US.
The things we feel that make us special, are being slowly eaten away.

When I went to the US, I was expecting to see everyone crazy about their flag & right to carry concealed weapons, however I only came across genuine, nice people.
Maybe I got lucky, but I doubt it.

I personally still am saddened by the feel of our culture being washed out by the brute size of the US.
It saddens me to see people using Americanisms (such as calling a toilet a bathroom, even if there is no bath in sight!).
I'll probably always be a stickler about those types of things, but just taking a few months in the US made me a lot less concerned about it.

Americans as a whole are simply people trying to live a good life, something I think we all aspire to.
We all make mistakes with our elected leaders, you complain of 8 years of Bush, we just came out of 11 (that is 4 elections)or so of Howard , not as stupid but just as slimy (fool me five times, shame on you!).

Don't take it too much to heart, every time someone makes a generalisation that makes you uncomfortable, ask them one question "So when was the last time you got to visit my home?"
You will most likely find they have never left their own borders (a holiday to Bali, staying in the resorts hardly counts!).

Jill Stevens, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist said...

Right on Nathan.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Thanks Nathan, me feelsy bettah today.

Corrina said...

I [heart] the drunk guy in the San Francisco sweatshirt. He's awesome.

As for the rest of them... Be glad there's no oil there or George W. would invade you too! LOL

suzinoz said...

FGIS-I love Halloween and having kids makes me want to celebrate it more. Not all Australians hate Halloween. Most people I've talked to love the idea of it. In fact, last year I decided to start my own Halloween trick-or-treat in my neighbourhood. I just dropped a flyer in the letter boxes of about 200 houses in the surrounding streets explaining the Halloween tradition (it's origins are not American btw) and asking people who wished to participate to post an orange sign (which I included in the flyer) on their front fence so the kids would know which houses were participating in the trick-or-treat. This meant that people could decide for themselves if they wanted to take part or not. We probably had about 30 houses out of 200 that participated, but that was enough for the kids to fill up their loot bags. Afterwards, there has been much talk about the event in the neighbourhood, so much so that I've got a few neighbours helping me this year and we are going to expand the letter drop to about 400-500 houses in our immediate area. They love the idea. We even got together last year and I taught a bunch of them how to carve pumpkins.
Moral to the story: I wasn't sure how people would take the whole Halloween thing, but by making it optional, they were allowed to make their own choice. It wasn't forced on them. They could participate if they wanted to. By rolling the dice and passing out the fliers, I've started a new tradition in our neighbourhood and made sure my children will get to experience some semblance of Halloween as they grow up here in Australia.

If you build it, they will come!

a said...

Sorry to be grumpy, but what is the meaningfullness of Halloween?

The occasion is overcommercialized and overemphasizes materialism/consumerism.

Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed the festivities and dressing up and trick-or-treating when I was a kid.

But I made a decision this year NOT to go out with my young kids on Halloween.

Frankly I'm sick of all the commercialism. And in the neighbourhood I live in, there is a lot of competitiveness with regards to buying expensive and eloborate costumes and home decoration.

And yes, I've grown a bit more religious over the years -- no doubt that has influenced my decision as well.

Formerly Fun said...

Nathan, A bunch of us Americans also feel like we are being inudated 24/7 with the American faux-patriotic, consumerist, etc. It's overwhelming even here. Sometimes I feel like our real culture is also being washed away by the flag-waving, gun toting crazies.

That being said, I probably do talk louder than most people, I grew up in a big family and you had to or you didn't get heard. And what's up with the anti-halloweenism? I loooove Halloween, what's not to like? Candy, scary stuff, freeloading?

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Corrina- Hahahahaha, you kill me.

Suzinoz- I'm thinking about building it, not sure yet.

a- no comprehende, no hablas loco

Formerly Fun- Totally, yes, all of that.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Jill- You're a crazy wan-kah.

Gypsy said...

I can understand not doing Halloween. When I lived in Italy, Halloween stuff was basically nonexistent. There were a handful of people who dressed up, but that was it.

But being actively against Halloween? Trick-or-Treaters are rude? Sigh.

Rassles said...

You know what I say to that?

Fuck you, Australia. I used to like you. I loved the Man from Snowy River.

But now? After this betrayal? We are sooo in a fight right now.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Gypsy- Right, I'm not sure what the point of anti-Halloween is...??

Rassles- Thanks for backin' up a sista.

Duck said...

You can be like Palin or McCain and be a maverick.

But a Halloween maverick.

Who isn't insane.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Dressing up all maverickey sounds great.

If I wanted to make the right side of me McCain and the left side of me Palin would that mean I can only do half a combover?

What am I thinking, Sarah won't at all mind his slick yellow combover intruding onto her side, right?

Tors said...

It never ceases to amaze me how an innocuous holiday like Halloween can cause such controversy.
(you already know how I feel about it all, won't repeat it here, everyone else can go visit my site! ha ha ha)

P.S. It's "No te comprendo, no hablo loco". :D

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Tors- Hablo mal en espanol. But I think I can still swear up a storm in Spanish when necessary.

Marketing Mama said...

LOL - the drunk guy who likes George Bush is the funniest.

Americans are fat cheerleaders. hmmph.

well, i'm fat now.

and I was a cheerleader in high school.

I guess they are right!!!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Marketing Mama-
It sure was a lot of smack talk for people who have never been to the U.S. before.

Casey said...

I am an American (thinking of moving to Australia) and I am floored by all the Halloween hatred! It is one of my favorite times of year! My friends and I (age 25) still get all dressed up and go out to parties (but not trick or treating, ha) I am very disappointed that it is such a hated "holliday"!

I think it is funny that people get so worked up over anything remotely related to the U.S.

I blame the media...I mean how else would you be able to form an opinion of us unless you had actually made a visit?

Also, I am from the South (as in Mississippi) and I have found myself face with stereotypes within my own country about where I am from. I have been blessed with many opportunities to travel to places far removed from what i would call "my normal"...One thing I have learned from my travels is that while some stereotypes do have their origins in some reality, they are generally NOT RIGHT! I have met many smart, friendly, caring, and AMAZING people from all over the world! And I look forward to meeting some great Australian natives, too...

Ranting aside...I have enjoyed reading your blog, Florida Girl! Thanks for puttin' it out there!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Casey-- You are so right-- it's all about the media, and even more specifically Fox News. Foxtel is a major cable company here and Foxs News is the big source of "American News" here-- and very very right wing I might add.

Exactly like you said, there's even stereotypes within countries, I'm somewhat southern myself having grown up in Florida-- not Mississippi southern but still.

Well, you should let me know when you are coming-- we'll meet up.

CheekyOne said...

That really sums up my experience as well.I'm an american living in Brisbane and Every single time i've had someone dissing Americans to me I ask if they've been there and they always say no.... at least one guy kinda liked us (even if he was drunk):)
I love Halloween and am still dressing my twins up and going to take them out to some street party they're having here.
I will miss taking them trick or treating,it's so much fun to see all the costumes,etc.Plus I like going through their stash at the end of the night and picking out a few for myself :)
Anyways I love your Blog!!!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Hey Cheeky One-
That's awesome, you go girl.
I'm probably going with a friend to an American Society of Sydney (or something like that) function-- I've never been to one, but it seems appropriate for that day!
Cheers matey. Keep in touch.

lilDdownunder said...

I know I'm about a year late to this posting, but just wanted to say I would be so pumped to be here on Halloween and see a house all done up like you said you were going to do to yours. I really thought lots of places celebrated Halloween before I moved here. I'm flying home to CA Oct. 29 to work for the holidays and I'm so excited to experience my first Halloween in 5 years!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

lildownunder- That's awesome, I'm going "home" in December. But funny enough, this year our Kindergarten class is having a "costume party" --not Halloween because they specifically said they don't want it to be called that-- either way, I'm looking forward to it.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah Australia is such a let down for Halloween - and really they insult us Irish when they dis Halloween given that it's our festival and that's how it got to America in the first place - given the number of Australians that have Irish ancestry I really am surprised that they don't have Oiche Samhain - they could have come up with an Australian version of it easily and made it their own, such a pity - and I feel really homesick for the first time since I've been in Sydney because they hate Halloween!