Halloween in the ‘Hood. Fright or Flight?

Every year in October, as the Jacarandas start to bloom, and the storms roll in to create the famous purple rain, I love driving through the streets of Paddington and surrounds. Not only to see the splashes of spring colour everywhere, but to catch glimpses of giant spiders hanging from branches, sticky cobwebs plastered to fences, orange pumpkins in garden beds, and even green-haired witches on broomsticks! 

Halloween is not for everyone and it’s obviously not an Australian tradition… but it’s not an American-born holiday either. It started with the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain, which officially starts on November 1, but the celebrations commence the night before. As a non-religious festival, it’s available for everyone to enjoy as and how they want. Samhain marked seasonal change from summer to autumn in Europe… and Halloween happens here in Australia just as spring arrives. Instead of falling orange leaves, we have falling purple flowers! 

No alt text provided for this image

Traditionally, Samhain observers believed that the boundary between life and death became especially thin at this time, enabling them to connect with those who’ve passed. Other cultures share in this — the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which also typically occurs in October, involves saying prayers for the dead. Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a holiday traditionally celebrated in late October/early November, particularly by people of Mexican heritage, where people come together to pay their respects and celebrate the memories of those they’ve loved who have passed away. 

These connections to the dead are also where Halloween events get their “haunted” themes from. The Americans have made it into an art-form, with some truly incredible events and experiences for their revelers. A few years ago, we heard about a Paddington local who actually turned her family home into a haunted house, complete with props, costumes, actors and animatronics to raise money for charity. Up to 400 people would come to Kerry Forsythe’s Paddington Halloween event from all over Brisbane to experience spookiness of the highest order, paying a gold coin as an entrance fee.

No alt text provided for this image

Kerry and her husband, John, decided to bring one tradition into their family home from the USA, John’s homeland. Halloween was it. So each year, they go all-out, and share their love of this fun and exciting holiday with their friends and neighbours.

This year, however, Paddington Halloween’s Haunted House is being built at the Paddington Hub, 144 Latrobe Terrace, where Kerry and Caylie Jeffery run Paddington Then & Now. As local community storytellers, these ladies decided it would be the perfect place for a community haunting! They are currently busily building the most incredible scary space our suburb has ever seen, ready for trick-or-treaters on Monday 31st October at 5pm!

No alt text provided for this image

Place Property has been delighted to support Paddington Halloween this year by printing door hangers for locals to use, regardless of their position on this event. If you don’t receive one in your letterbox, come up to the Haunted House to collect yours. It gives you the chance to kindly let people know if trick-or-treaters are welcome at your gate or not. 

No alt text provided for this image

Halloween is not everyone’s bowl of pumpkin soup in Australia, but whether we like it or not, this pagan tradition has seeped into our community and people have started to embrace it. The joy is palpable. After the years we’ve just been through in Covid-19 lockdown, too frightened to socialise, the thrills experienced by the children and their adults in preparation for October 31st is exactly what the witch doctor ordered!

If you’re too nervous to enter the Haunted House of Paddington, swing past, give them a gold coin towards their chosen charity this year (Precious Wings) and enjoy what Kerry and Caylie have done to the front of 144 Latrobe Terrace… It’s a scream! 

Happy Halloween from us all at Place Property!