FAMILIES across the south-west are joining the growing interest in Halloween celebrations.
Stuart Trotman of The $2 Shop in Warrnambool said sales of Halloween masks, costumes and other macabre artefacts had picked up in recent years.
While not many locals door-knock in costume seeking treats, as happens in the United States, Mr Trotman said Halloween-themed parties were becoming more common.
“If someone is having a birthday party around the time, they might convert the theme to Halloween,” he said.
He said skeletons and bat figures were popular and some local people had whole rooms of paraphernalia.
“Some people really get carried away,” Mr Trotman said.
Local supermarkets have also got into the Halloween spirit, selling large pumpkins that can be carved into ‘Jack o’ Lanterns’, confectionery to give to Halloween “guisers” to gain good luck and even fog machines to create an appropriately spooky atmosphere.
A Warrnambool nightclub will hold a Halloween-themed disco on Friday, November 8, while St John’s Presbyterian pastor Toby McIntosh said he would talk about the origins of Halloween in a talk to a local youth group.
Pastor McIntosh said although some people saw the annual event as a celebration of evil, it did have links to Christian traditions.
Evil spirits were depicted as caricatures to make fun of them, such as the devil’s costume of a pitchfork, horns and a tail, he said.
“Halloween is not a scary thing for us. Jesus casts out demons.”
Halloween takes its name from being the eve of All Saints Day, also called All Hallows Day, on November 1, a time for honouring the saints and praying for recently departed souls yet to reach heaven.