HALLOWEEN is the perfect excuse for kids to dress up, paint their faces, doorknock strangers and eat their body weight in lollies.
Similarly, grown adults with jobs can also indulge in the fun, but this often means substituting the face paint for bunny ears and a tiny skirt, and the lollies for tequila shots (not a real example).
Due to its popularity in the United States, Halloween — which traces its origins back to Britain and Ireland and is believed to have pagan roots — is becoming more widely celebrated across the globe, but it can often leave Aussie kids a bit disappointed.
With no solid trick or treating culture, kids around Australia either have to brave the front doors of complete strangers (stranger danger!) in the hope they have a spare Mintie lying around, or rely solely on the goodwill of their parents to fill their buckets with loot.
As a young child, I remember dressing up as a witch and asking my mother to find me somewhere to trick or treat.
My request ended in her marching me across our gravel driveway to the front door of my aunt and uncle’s house, where they reluctantly handed over some olive mix, a slice of hot salami, and a mouthful of scotch.
Suffice it to say, Halloween has never been a big deal here.
As well as disappointed kids, Halloween can also be a bit of a dud night for adults.
If you’re not keen on trick or treaters, you have to endure and ignore the endless pounding on the front door from their tiny, hungry, grabbing little fists.
Alternatively, if you’ve whipped up a particularly delicious batch of Halloween cupcakes or you have purchased lollies to distribute, how do you make kids come to your house without looking creepy?
Honestly, it’s a strange sort of limbo we have found ourselves in.
To circumvent this confusion, a Melbourne mother had a genius idea to do a letterbox drop to her neighbours, inviting them to formally participate in Halloween and cough up some candy for her son.
Helle Warming, from Ascot Vale in Melbourne, had the idea after taking her son Lucas trick or treating in 2016, where the pair found just one home willing to hand out treats.
“We live in an area where trick or treating isn’t very popular, so we found it really hard to figure out which house to knock on,” Ms Warming said.
“It was also hard to tell if people were just decorating their homes for fun or if they had lollies for the kids”.
A quick search of the internet soon solved Ms Warming’s drama.
She whipped up a letter for her neighbours, asking them to display a balloon at their front gate if they had Halloween treats.
She even included the balloon on the letter, so lazy neighbours had no excuses not to give her son delicious lollies.
And for those who weren’t keen on the Halloween festivities, they could simply ignore the letter and leave their front gate as is. Easy!
“I made up the flyers and people reacted really well to them,” she said.
“It’s now the second year we’ve done it and it’s so nice to walk up the street and know the houses you can safely knock on with your child.”
Ms Warming said the note worked so well she decided to post it on her blog.
“It’s great if you drop the note into the letterbox with a balloon attached to make it easier for the neighbours to put the signal on the gate,” Ms Warming said.
“You might also want to put your phone number on the back and ask them to text you a message if they will be stocking up on sweets,
“Then you can head out knowing the best streets to go to.”