It’s the question dividing our fair city as Friday 31 October draws closer: Should Brisbane celebrate Halloween, or should we leave it to the Yanks?

bmag‘s Digital Media Manager Ben Manning and Deputy Editor Laura Brodnik have radically different ideas when it comes to deciding if Halloween should be invited in or shown the door.

Read on and let us know, who do you agree with?

YES! Children should be scared and sweets are delicious

Laura says: Halloween is the Babushka doll of festivities, as there are many layers of excitement just waiting to be discovered. One of the main arguments in the Halloween debate is the fact that it isn’t just an Americanised holiday, but rather a centuries old tradition influenced by Celtic harvest festivals. But really, that has no bearing on whether or not children should be allowed to roam the street like vagrants. So let’s look at the real reasons Brisbane needs Halloween.

First off, children today are nowhere near as scared as they should be. Back in my day we hid our eyes from the Skeksis as we watched The Dark Crystal, sobbed as Artax the horse drowned in The Neverending Story, prayed that the goblins wouldn’t take us away after watching Labyrinth, froze in horror as Mufasa was murdered in The Lion King and watched a host of other terrifying movies on repeat. Kids today just sing along to Frozen as they play on their iPads, so how can we then expect them to become functional adults when they’ve never been subjected to the absolute terror of watching the Grand High Witch pull her own face off in The Witches? It’s not OK to grow up without a healthy dose of fear.

Halloween is also the one time of the year when babies are actually useful. Usually they just lay around like lumps and contribute nothing to society, but come Halloween you can dress them up as anything your heart desires and they can’t do or say anything about it. Ever wanted to see your child dressed as a taco? Now’s the time.

Halloween is also a selfish holiday where adults can actually enjoy themselves. Unlike its do-gooder cousin, Christmas, there is no pressure on 31 October to buy expensive gifts, go to church or send cards to people that you happily ignore for most of the year. During Halloween you can dress up, turn your home into a freak-show or stay inside and yell at kids to get off off your lawn while you watch the amazing array of horror films that come out to play this time of year.

Halloween is just a bit of freaky fun and it’s time for us all to suit up and embrace the delicious horror.

NO! It’s dangerous and upsetting for kids

Ben says: As a parent of little ones, Halloween is hell. You have to find and make the costumes, then it’s two hours of running after them, cleaning up their trail of rubbish and then dealing with the meltdown when it is all over and time for bed. No thanks! Sure, it is fun and exciting for the little beggars, but as the kids grow up and the novelty wears off, teenagers keep on a’knocking, only out to stuff their greedy faces with chocolate. It also sends a conflicting message to children — we tell them not to talk to or accept lollies from strangers, then we tell them the opposite on Halloween.

Children’s health is also a major factor to consider when it comes to Halloween, as childhood obesity is a rising concern in Australia. Why should we be encouraging our kids to eat even more lollies and junk food when we are trying to change their eating habits? My son has Coeliac Disease and there is a lot of gluten in sweets, so the risk of him getting sick is very high. He has to miss out on a lot of known products containing gluten and any unpackaged sweet, then we have to deal with his sad face when he can’t have what the other kids are having.

There is also evidence that Halloween leads to a rise in crime and criminal activity. In the US there is a serious spike in crime during Halloween and as the interest in Halloween increases in Australia, an increase in crime is sure to follow. Police have already reported that they have experienced increases in ”poor behaviour” in recent years, such as wilful damage offences and the egging of cars and houses.

Do you think Brisbane should celebrate Halloween? Let us know in the comments below!

Where will you be spending Halloween?

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