Have your kids been wondering: Do they celebrate Halloween in Australia?  

When you’re going to live in new country, it can be helpful to understand the traditions of that country so I thought it was worth writing a post about Halloween in Australia so you know what to expect from an Australian Halloween and learn how the Aussie celebrate this special event. 

Halloween in Australia is not as widely celebrated or deeply rooted in tradition as it is in some other countries, particularly the United States, but it has definitely gained popularity over the last decade, and some suburbs really do go all in for Halloween in Australia!

So if you’re asking does Australia celebrate Halloween? The answer is most definitely YES – an Australia Halloween can be an awful lot of fun if you choose to celebrate it! (Equally, if you prefer not to celebrate Halloween, that’s fine too – you don’t need to feel the pressure to celebrate here unless you live in a suburb that goes big for Halloween celebrations and Halloween parties in which case you might want to turn off your lights and hide if it’s an occasion you prefer to avoid!).

What was once more heavily rooted in American culture is now a big deal in Austraila too.  Let’s get started talking about black cats, evil spirits, spooky painted face designs and Jack o’ lanterns and go all out to celebrate Halloween in Australia! 

Want to learn about Christmas in Australia? Read this post!

Halloween date Australia | When is Halloween in Australia? 

If you’re wondering what date is Halloween in Australia, of course, it is 31st October – the Halloween Australia date is no different to the other parts of the world! 

Australia celebrates Halloween on the same date as Halloween in the United States, the UK and everywhere else but what you might not have thought about is what the weather like on Halloween.

Australia is in mid-spring (Australia’s spring runs from September to November when it’s Halloween on October 31st. As it’s spring in Australia and in the Southern Hemisphere, it means that time of the year is hot! It’s a big change from the Northern Hemisphere, where it can feel freezing cold – I remember Halloween in the United Kingdom being so so cold – it’s not a time you want to put on scary costumes, instead, you want to wear your big coat and gloves!

Knowing what the weather is going to be like can help you plan your Australian Halloween costumes as you definitely don’t want to be too wrapped up as it can feel very warm when celebrating Halloween in spring in some states. Of course, this depends on where in the country you live, as places like Tasmania will be much cooler than Queensland!

I found it strange celebrating Halloween in Australia on a warm spring night rather than on a freezing cold evening like we were used to in the UK. Having the Halloween date in Australia fall during warm weather felt very alien and it was our first taste of things being ‘upside down’! It didn’t take us too long to get used to it though – it’s actually a lot more fun celebrating when you aren’t freezing cold as you can enjoy being outside for a lot longer and you can enjoy more outdoor Halloween events!

Halloween is NOT a nationwide public holiday in Australia – it’s just a regular day like any other. If Halloween falls on a week day, you are likely to find a lot of Halloween events running on the weekend before it although trick or treating is reserved for the main day itself. 

Origins of Halloween date: What is the History of Halloween?

Halloween is celebrated around the world on 31st Oct and it has a variety of other names. All Saints’ Eve, Allhalloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowe’en are all names given to the eve of All Saints’ Day All Saint’s Day is November 1st).  

Ironically, while Halloween is a well-known US tradition, Halloween celebrations began in another part of the world.

The occasion dates back to ancient times (around 2,000 years ago) from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Celts celebrated their new year on 1st November. They believed that on this night at the end of summer as the dark, cold winter was beginning (remember, they were on the opposite side of the world to Australia!), the boundary of the worlds of the living and dead blurred together. They believed it was a time when the ghosts of the dead were able to return to the world as the spirit world seeped into ours. 

A ritual was conducted with the lighting of bonfires and the wearing of costumes to ward off the ghosts (not to be mixed up with Day of the Dead which is a Mexican festival traditionally celebrated on 1st and 2nd Nov). Fires were also lit and animals were sacrificed as a way of keeping the deities on-side. 

Times moved on, and the event shifted and changed as different cultures and religions influenced it. Eventually, people in England and Ireland started leaving out gifts to satisfy hungry spirits and this evolved into people dressing up and begging for treats. Irish immigrants who left their home due to the potato famine arrived in the US in the middle of the 19th century and brought their own traditions and customs with them. This included the carving vegetables (potatoes, turnips or whatever root vegetable was large and sturdy enough to carve!) This is where pumpkin carving originated from. 

Fast forward many years and now Halloween is a fun family event that is celebrated around the world, especially in Australia! 

How do Australians celebrate Halloween? Halloween customs explained

Let’s give you the lowdown on Australian Halloween costumes, Halloween traditions, trick or treating, Halloween props and all the things to do with Halloween in Australia!

Trick-or-Treating in Australia 

A child celebrating Halloween in Australia

Just like many countries around the world, a lot of people in Australia go trick or treating. Trick-or-treating is becoming more and more common in Australia, and some areas really go all out for it! 

Where I live (in a quiet outer suburb), it is usually pretty quiet with just a couple of small groups going around and knocking on the doors of homes that have Halloween decorations up or their outside lights on. (If you don’t, you’re usually safe from door knockers!)

There are nearby neighbourhoods where most houses are decorated for Halloween with coffins, cobwebs and skeletons. These are the neighbourhoods that kids gravitate towards, and usually groups of kids are driven to these spots to trick or treat, so if you live in one of these areas be prepared to stock up on Halloween lollies (in Australia sweets are known as lollies even if they don’t have a stick!). 

We arrived in Australia and moved into our first rental home in Australia just before Halloween so we had to figure everything out quickly as we had no idea how big the event would be or whether we needed to prepare much for it.

We received a poster in our mailbox that asked us to put it on our door if we were happy to take part in Halloween (and if we didn’t want trick or treaters, we should leave the poster down). I loved this idea as it gave us the choice about whether to participate or not.

That first year, I was really shocked by the number of people being driven around the neighbourhoods door knocking to trick or treat in Australia. We’d obviously moved to one of the popular trick or treating areas! In the UK, kids would only walk around their local streets. Having cars full of kids meant the huge tubs of Halloween candy I’d bought was completely decimated very quickly! It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. 

We moved to a new home in a different suburb a few months later, and trick or treating is much quieter here. That made me realise that Halloween Aus is very different from suburb to suburb.  

Australian Halloween costumes 

One of the big Halloween customs in Australia is dressing up in a scary costume (whereas the American tradition is more about dressing up in any fancy dress outfit, here the focus really is on wearing something with a spooky theme). The shops all begin to stock Halloween costumes and clothes ahead of the date so you can easily pick something up from Kmart, Big W, Target or Best and Less (think witches’ hats, mummy costumes, vampire outfits etc). You don’t have to spend a fortune on an expensive Halloween costume here and there are lots of cheap shops to pick up Halloween accessories.

It is worth buying your Australian Halloween costumes or t-shirts fairly early though – the years I’ve left it til a few days before have ended up being quite stressful trying to find what the kids’ want to wear (I may have visited about ten shops one year trying to find one of my boys a Grim Reaper outfit as that was the only thing they were willing to wear!). So my advice to you is to shop for your Halloween outfit early because spooky costumes can sell out!  There really isn’t any need to go along to a costume shop though and spend a fortune – you can pick up Halloween theme outfits really cheaply (or even pick them up on Facebook marketplace at this time of year). 

Halloween pumpkins Australia

Pumkins and spooky things set up for Halloween in Australia

Yes, we still have Halloween pumpkins in Australia! Again, leaving one of these outside (along with any Halloween props) is a sign that you’re open for trick or treaters to come by. (Don’t expect to find pumpkin pie everywhere though – that is more of an American culture thing and I’ve never actually noticed it being served in Australia so you might need to bake your own if it’s one of your favourite Halloween traditions.)

Outdoor Halloween decorations Australia

There are lots of homes that really go big for Halloween. Some people convert their whole garage into a cemetery complete with coffins, moving skeletons, mood lights and creepy smoke. It goes beyond the outside decorations I used to see in my local area in the UK.

Shops like Bunnings have some great Halloween inflatables, lights and home decor if you want to really get in the Halloween spirit. You can go big with your Halloween props! Australia really knows how to celebrate this spooky season! 

Community Halloween events in Australia

There are lots of Halloween-themed events such as festivals, parades and markets and things like the local shopping centres often run trick or treat trails for the kids to enjoy. These events usually include Halloween costume, face painting and Halloween sweets.

In the past, we’ve loved going along to the Night at the Museum event at Queensland Museum every year (in the past it has been held on the Friday before Halloween but alas it’s not on this year so you’ll have to check back next year) – the kids get dressed up in their costumes and get their spooky faces painted, plus they get to hold snakes and spiders and things at the event and see lots of live spooky shows. It’s an absolute blast. 

Halloween in Australia | How to celebrate

There are loads of exciting and fun ways to celebrate Halloween in Australia.

Here are a few ideas for how you can enjoy the celebrations of Halloween in Australia:

  • Visit a market – lots of outdoor market events run a Halloween-themed event. Google for your local events!
  • Go along to an outdoor movie screening – this is a great Australian tradition as the weather is warm so there are plenty of free movies in the park to choose from (these aren’t usually scary movies – they’re family-friendly movies like Hotel Transylvania). Local councils, schools, daycares and attractions run them so do a search on Facebook. 
  • Book on to a ghost tour, or look for a haunted house tour! I know Brisbane has lots of these – what better time of the year to enjoy a spooky adventure? 
  • Have a go at pumpkin carving. You can do this yourself or you might find a local event to go along to. 
  • Personally, I love having a scary movie marathon at home as I’m a big fan of horror movies – Netflix is filled with scary films at this time of the year.
  • Host a Halloween party! Or even better, look for party venues that have organised parties like sports clubs and restaurants – there are Halloween events for families all over the place. 
  • Go along to a shopping centre trick or treat session – as a celebration of Halloween many shopping centres and groups like the Australian Retailers Association and malls such as Westfield host free trick or treating events.
  • Check out what Halloween events are running at the local theme parks or wildlife attractions – there are so many fun events to experience! Sometimes special events are included in annual passes, so be sure to explore what special events are included if you’re looking to buy a theme park pass. 

Enjoy Halloween in Australia!

So that is a roundup of what to expect from Halloween in Australia! 

In recent years, Halloween has definitely grown from an American thing into a much bigger celebration. During the eight years we’ve lived in Austraila, I’ve seen a growing trend of Halloween festivals, big community events and theme park Halloween events. it has become a really popular celebration in the Australian calendar and is no longer seen as a pagan holiday.

If you’re wondering: Is Halloween big in Australia? I would say it is now, yes it is! 

While Halloween is not as deeply ingrained in Australian culture as it is in some other countries, it has definitely been growing in popularity and it seems to get bigger every year. I like that you can go all out to celebrate Halloween in Australia if you want, or you can choose to ignore the date if you prefer (just make sure if you’re a Halloween-hater that you avoid moving to an area where all of the streets take part so maybe add it to your list of considerations when buying your first home here!) 

I hope you found this article about Halloween Australia useful for your new life in Australia! 

Here are some quick FAQs about Halloween in Australia

Do Australians celebrate Halloween? 

Yes, they do!

What season is Halloween in Australia?

Halloween in Australia is in spring.

​When should you put up Halloween decorations in Australia? 

Usually this would be a few days before 31st October.

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