Allhallowtide is a "time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints, and all faithful departed Christians." The present date of Hallowmas, (All Saints' Day) and thus also of its vigil (Hallowe'en) was established for Rome perhaps by Pope Gregory III (731–741).
While the celebration of hallow e'en is seemingly of Christian origin, many believe the observances and superstitions have older pagan origins.
Halloween is celebrated at the change between autumn and winter, the time of plenty following harvest and the strictures of a hard northern hemisphere winter and is symbolic of life and death. But all of this is so out of step with our southern hemisphere seasons that Halloween has never featured very highly in my life.
Halloween, unlike Christmas, obviously was not one of those folk traditions that transported themselves to Australia along with the early European settlers, at least not in my family or in the families of any of my friends, even those with English or European parents...I grew up eating hot plum pudding on Christmas day, but did not get to go and scare or bully neighbours into handing over sweets at the end of October...but I don't feel too aggrieved, for me at that age it would probably have interfered with my time at the beach... ;)
My daughter lived for some years in America and has stories of the yard installations including coffins, skeletons and pumpkins that she saw there. When I lived in Sydney a few years ago I was surprised to see costumed children with plastic pumpkin shaped begging buckets accosting pedestrians around Darling Harbour as I walked to work across Pyrmont bridge at the weekend around the end of October...but there are many more Americans and Europeans living in Sydney so I suppose this was to be expected...
However, local shops now seem to grow more focused on the obvious commercial opportunities of Halloween as each year passes, there are a lot of hideous plastic creepy crawlies, shoddily made costumes, vampire teeth and bottles of fake blood now available for those so inclined...I have even heard from a friend about a hideously realistic vampire baby-like object available for sale locally...I withhold my opinions on this...to each his own...but I did decide to make a few cards and envelopes with a Halloween theme, just to fill in a quiet morning, you understand.
I have an old SU stamp set called "From The Crypt" which seems apposite for Halloween use and is great to use with the heat embossing and bleaching technique...here is what I made...now I just have to work out who I can send them to...most will probably be posted off to NSW...I have a few friends for whom Halloween is a fixture in their year...