Trick or treat? The leering pumpkin jack-o-lantern will be lit this Saturday as people across the world celebrate - what? - the chance to dress up in kooky costumes?
Halloween, or Hallowe'en in its correct spelling, has become another excuse for a party. Hell, we're always looking for an excuse for a good time. It's the Aussie way.
But it wouldn't hurt to familiarise ourselves with the origins of this American impost, sorry - import, before turning up at the party in a flourish of cape and fangs.
Hallowe'en, also known as Hallow's Eve and the Festival of Samhain, dates back to the times of the druids in Great Britain.
It was a pagan tradition to celebrate the pagan new year, November 1, and the change of the seasons from the light side of the year (summer, spring) into The Dark Side.
It was believed that this date, the last day of October, was a time when the spirit world was revealed and the evil souls could be called upon by Saman, lord of death.
"An old proverb says, `When you sup with the devil, use a long spoon.' Presumably, no genuine Christian would want to sup with the devil at all and yet many may be doing so in ignorance," he writes.
The Bible is firm in its instruction on such things. Ephesians 5:11 says, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."
Over time, the macabre roots of the October 31 tradition have been glossed to a pretty sheen and spread around the globe - most notably in the US with its broad influence. Like junk food, it lures you in, tempting with its colour while hiding its nasty content.
So is it a dirty trick? Or a treat?
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