It’s that time of year again.
Random children knocking at your door, neighbours making your one tombstone seem insignificant compared to their insanely over-the-top spooky spider lightshow, and, worst of all: your own children jacked up on sugar from the neighbourhood haul.
If you’ve ever wondered why at this specific time of the year your local supermarket is selling half-price chocolate and a bunch of kids in fancy dress keep knocking on your door it’s time to get out from under that rock and celebrate Halloween.
Aussies have long resisted the pull of this creepy day on the calendar but with each generation, the excitement grows (as does the collection of singing, dancing and inflatable decorations you can purchase with your milk and bread). So, what’s all the fuss about and what does it have to do with Australia anyway? Isn’t it an American thing?
Well yes and no.
Halloween is said to be influenced by Celtic harvest festivals marking the end of Summer and the start of dark Winter. One theory is that Halloween originated thousands of years ago back to Pagan times with roots to Christianity where major feasts on the Christian calendar, like Easter and Christmas, are made up of 3-day vigils that begin the night before and end the day after the feast.
Halloween is also part of a triduum known as Allhallowtide which includes All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints Day (All Hallows) and All Souls’ Day. The creep-factor comes from this particular vigil being a time to remember the dead – in particular martyrs, saints and all faithful departed Christians
So, why do we give treats on Halloween?
Traditionally people would pray for their deceased family members in the hope that those caught in purgatory would find their way to heaven. Poorer families would knock on the doors of the wealthy and offer to pray on their behalf in exchange for food. In some cases, the food offered was sweet. This is one of the theories behind the origin of receiving a ‘treat’ on Halloween.
And what about the costumes?
This one is a little scarier. Back then, and maybe still, it was believed that ghosts of the dead wandered the earth until All Saints Day, when they would move onto the next world—making Halloween their last chance to take vengeance on their enemies. To avoid the wrath of a vengeful ghost, people would disguise themselves by wearing masks and costumes. Needless to say, this leads into the reason why we dress up on Halloween.
So why is Halloween such an “American thing” if it originated in the United Kingdom?
Put simply, immigration. When the Irish and Scottish immigrated to the US they took their traditions with them and, in true American style, they supersized it. The influence of American traditions on Western society saw Halloween infiltrate other countries and this is why little Johnny will be dressed as Ironman, knocking on your door asking for a nut-free, gluten-free, pre-wrapped treat this year.
What does this have to do with Citrus?
We’re glad you asked. Nothing really, aside from the fact that oranges are, well, orange and this is one of the famed Halloween colours.
Halloween also falls smack bang in the middle of citrus season over here in Australia so swapping your pumpkin for orange(s) is a great way of getting some quality Aussie citrus. Blood oranges are especially good at this time of year and their deep red colour is perfect for a ‘bloody good’ margarita.
Also, you can carve an orange just like a Jack O’Lantern which is pretty cute.
And your teeth won’t fall out of your head eating them.
Maybe there’s more in common than we think!
If you’re looking for a healthy twist on the traditional offering of sweets and chocolate, check out our recipes for a range of healthy treats that are sure to leave your trick or treaters coming back for more