Home Australia Halloween in Australia: Scary History, Spooky Facts and Creepy Costumes

Halloween in Australia: Scary History, Spooky Facts and Creepy Costumes

Halloween is spooky, scary and unlike any other night of the year. It’s a night when the line between the living and the dead is blurred. Spirits crossover into our realm and we try to ward them off – Or at least that’s what we’re supposed to do. 
In its current form, Halloween is nothing but an excuse to have a good time. It gives children a reason to eat candy, and adults the grounds to get drunk and party. Oh! And both get a reason to play dress up. 

Many people consider Halloween as a corporate holiday, promoted by retailers to sell more merchandise. And that’s the reason you see market flooded with exclusive Halloween discount codes whenever this occasion comes around. 

Nevertheless, candies, costumes and parties are an enticing package. And that’s why, this event has managed to cross continents. From Día de Los Muertos in Mexico to Zhong Yuan Jie in Singapore, different versions of Halloween are celebrated across the globe. 

While Halloween in Australia is not a local tradition, it has managed to get a foothold in the country – thanks mostly to the American influence. 

But what’s Halloween actually about? And most importantly, from where it did actually began?

To find the answers, you need to visit a time long past. 

The Origin of Halloween

About 2000 years ago, on land that would eventually become the United Kingdom, Ireland and Southern France- Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain. 

This ominous day marked the end of summer and beginning of a cold, dark winter, which signified human death. This was the day, the Celts believed- the dead would visit the realm of the living. 

People would light bonfires and wear costumes on Samhain to ward off ghosts. The rich mythology of these events resulted in numerous traditions. Some of which are observed even to this day. 

When paganism declined in the region and Christianity found a hold, November 1st became All Saints Day. The evening before it was called All Hallows Eve, and later on Halloween. 

Fast forward to 2019, Halloween is not something limited to a small part of Europe. It’s a global tradition, a cultural phenomenon, and a multi-billion dollar industry. 

Here are some interesting facts about this one-of-a-kind holiday: Warning: spookiness ahead!

Jack-o’-lantern is Suppose to be Made Out from Turnips

As the legend goes, a farmer named Jack played tricks on the devil. So tired and annoyed, the devil condemned this man to purgatory with nothing but a lump of coal. Jack, being the sneaky little fella that he was, made a lamp from that coal with the help of some turnip. 

This myth found its way to the US, brought by Irish families fleeing the potato famine in the 19th century. Since turnips were not commonly available in the US, people had to make do with pumpkins. Hence, modern jack-o-lanterns were born. 

Halloween has a Romantic History

Once upon a time, Halloween was not just about exclusive sales and coupon codes for costumes. Instead, it was also about love and romance. 

For instance- In Ireland, Halloween tradition included fortune-telling that involved predicting future spouses. Girls would hang wet sheets in front of fire to see the image of their future husbands. Meanwhile, young women also peeled apple and threw strips over their shoulders. The way strip landed on a floor determined the first letter of their future husband’s name. 

Although most of these traditions are dead, some activities like bobbing for apples is still carried out today. Originally, the winner of this game is supposed to be the first to marry. These days, the winner only ends up with a bad case of flu. 

Animal Skins and Heads made the Earliest Halloween Costumes

People in the old times did not dress up as Black Panther but rather dressed in a black panther. Alright, that might be a bit of a stretch. But ancient Roman records show that tribes in France and Germany did wear heads and skins of dead animals to connect with the spirits. 

Likewise, Samhain parades were often led by men in a white sheet who carried a wooden horse head or a decorated horse skull. Thankfully people have now abandoned these costumes for their favorite Star Wars characters. 

Germans hide their Household Knives during Halloween

One would assume that keeping your children away from the household knives is the logical thing to do. However, Germans had a better reason to do this during Halloween: keeping their ancestors from stumbling upon a knife on their trip to the earth. 

Now how would immaterial spirits- who are ALREADY DEAD- feel any danger from household knives? That’s a question you need to ask the Germans. 

Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween

While most of us are amused by Halloween celebrations, some individuals are genuinely terrified by it. Many times the reason for this fear is a traumatic Halloween experience. 

People with Samhainophobia feel extreme anxiety whenever the Halloween season starts. They are triggered by the scary decorations and feel extremely anxious while knocking on strangers’ doors- of course that happens with children who have a fear of Halloween. Samhainophobia is also connected with arachnophobia and fear of the dark, due to the cobweb decorations. 

Study shows that Halloween Makes Children More Evil

Turns out, if you put children in a group and give them masks, they are likely to misbehave. This phenomenon is called deindividuation, where people are less likely to evaluate their actions and less anxious about getting recognized by others. 

Study shows that children wearing masks are more likely to take more candy than they were instructed to when left alone with a supply of sweets. It’s almost as if hiding behind a cover gives one an opportunity to let go of the social norms. 

Halloween is disliked by many due to its Commercial Nature 

While some people may consider Halloween as an important tradition. Others believe it’s just another event propped up by corporations to sell products and make big money. For numerous citizens in France and Australia, this celebration is nothing but an influence of corporate America. According to these individuals, Halloween is bolstered in their country through exclusive sales and promo codes by none other than US corporations. 

However, Halloween in Australia has gradually increased in popularity. 

The Rise of Halloween in Australia

Most Aussies were introduced to Halloween through Simpson specials and movies like Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare before Christmas. Quite simply, it was never a family tradition in this country but rather an American event that people looked at as outsiders. 

That was until the internet became a thing and global brands started to influence the Australian market. Fast forward to today and Australian Halloween is now alive and thriving. 

Here some interesting stats about the emergence of Halloween in the country: 

  • Halloween decoration sales have increased by a staggering 82% over the past five years. 
  • Costume sales have soared by 31% in the same period of time. 
  • Australians spent $1.5 million on pumpkins in 2017. 

Halloween in Australia is now an event observed by millions. People appreciate how this event allows friends and family to come together and have a good time. 

What’s more, with much of the western world firmly behind the concept of Halloween, the Australians don’t feel like missing out. 

And let’s not forget, the phenomenon of cosplay in pop culture is another factor boosting Halloween’s popularity in the country. People love dressing up as their favorite Game of Thrones characters and Halloween is a perfect outlet to do exactly that. 

Costumes add a great deal to Halloween’s charm. What getting them right is a different ball game altogether. 

Fun and Creative Costume Ideas for 2019

Superheroes, memes, puns-- there are plenty of ways you can go about your Halloween. The trick to getting the best costume is mixing things up and putting your own spin on pop culture. 

Anyways, here are some fun costumes for this year’s Halloween. 

The French Kiss

Get it? They’re French and dressed like the Kiss band? I know it’s a bit cheesy but sometimes you need to embrace the cheesiness. 

Nickelback: Look at this Photograph 

Seriously! Look at that photograph. Every time you do it will make you laugh. Ah! Nickelback, you can never go wrong with them. 

Area 51 Alien

So what if Area 51 raid was a bust and no aliens were discovered. It’s time for you to be your own alien. Don’t let the American government win. The Aussie Halloween needs aliens. It’s your time to shine. 

Keanu Reeves: Because Why Not

Here’s an idea: Put on a kickass black suit and tell everyone you’re paying respect to the legend. I know it won’t be that obvious but still: It’s Keanu. 

Sandpaper Costume

The sandpaper controversy is not an easy memory to live again. And you’re likely to draw rage from many people you meet. Do you like pushing people’s buttons? If yes, than this Australian Halloween costume is for you. 

Dwayne “The Turtleneck” Johnson

Although it’s played out, still –it’s The Rock in a turtleneck wearing a fanny pack with a chain around his neck. Come on!

Influencer Apology Video

I am sorry for shouting ‘you can’t see me’ at blind people.  I apologize for making a TikTok at my grandmother’s funeral. I deeply regret….you get the point. 


Long thing short, Halloween is a good time to blow off some steam and make happy memories with friends and family. Of course, this event may creep out some people but still, it’s mostly harmless fun. So put on your costume, trick or treat and let the spookiness ensue. Happy Halloween. 

Published on: October 15, 2020

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