Halloween Aotearoa

by | Apr 29, 2012 | Uncategorized | 11 comments

 It was the young people who made Kiwi Halloween special this year. They were so inventive with their carving of apples, kumara and pumpkins, and it was touching to see their cards written beside the lanterns and candles. Often it was grandparents whom they were remembering.

 There was a special area for those who had died over the last year.  This woman is remembering her mother.

I had seven people on my list, their ages ranging from 17 to 95.

Three eleven-year-olds came along and lit the pumpkin lanterns they had carved during the day. They sat and watched the flames burning, after writing cards for those who have died.

 Halloween developed out of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, the Day of the Dead. The lanterns looked eerie in the darkness, and yet somehow friendly too.

 A young man carved a butternut pumpkin and then painted around the eyes, to look like the tree gods he’d seen in a TV programme. He brought autumn leaves to scatter all around.

He even carved a kumara. It reminds me of a cheeky pixie. People lingered on the street and nearby benches. Once again, it was a warm vigil, filled with love for all those dear ones who have passed over. This is the true Halloween. By holding this event each year, and linking with people all over NZ who are commemorating it, I hope to restore the resonance with the old festivals.

I heard on the radio about a man who has reduced the amount of fizzy drink consumption in poorer areas, not by protesting, but by creating an alternative. He’s supplied houses with free water coolers. The kids think it’s so ‘cool’ to drink from these, and their friends come round for drinks. Fizzy drink consumption has plummetted, and water consumption gone right up.
This is the principle behind Kiwi Halloween: creating a positive alternative, that people love so much they naturally want to do it each year as autumn deepens and pumpkins, apples and kumara have been harvested.


  1. Max

    I love this, especially that it involves your community. were off to carve pumpkins and play hide and seek with torches with our little one tonight, but next year i might hold an all hallows party and get my people into it x

  2. Joan

    Just wonderful Juliet.. may Kiwi Halloween grow and grow! Love the pumpkins.!

  3. juliet

    Max, hope you have fun tonight. The children love it, especially when we do Halloween when the nights are shorter and pumpkins abuundant.
    Joan, it seems to be growing a little more every year. Thank you both for your comments.

  4. lifeonthecutoff

    I love your celebration – and the age range of your celebrants, Juliet. Such a wonderful thought, isn’t it, of New Zealanders of all ages reaching across the miles and celebrating Kiiw Halloween.

    I love the carvings.

  5. juliet

    Hi Penny, it certainly had a great sense of community. Very heart-warming. Thank you for visiting.

  6. Hotly Spiced

    It looks like an incredible festival and what a wonderful night out. Amazing how one person through a great and generous idea has managed to reduce the sugar drink consumption xx

  7. juliet

    Charlie, it was a great night indeed. Thank you.

  8. Lynley

    I do not like the commercial version of Halloween that occurs here in NZ in October but this festival has wonderful appeal.

    Well done on gently offering alternatives for us Juliet.

    I heard that piece on the radio too. The changes in people’s consumption of water against sugary drinks was simply staggering.

    The selection of apples, pumpkins and root vegies at the moment is amazing.

  9. juliet

    Lynley, I feel the same about the commercial version, but like the idea of restoring the meaning to this festival. Yes, all the ingredients are abundant right now. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – great concept .. well done and how lovely that you have a vigil to remember family and friends who have gone to the peaceful world.

    Fantastic .. cheers Hilary

  11. juliet

    The vigil really touches people Hilary. We have so few opportunities to do this.


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