All Hallows E’en

Today is All Saints day, the day for to celebrate saints who don’t have their own special day. So last night was the celebration to scare away the evil spirits in anticipation of their arrival.

Which brings me to the question: how many children came knocked at your door last night? We had about 20-30, but around half came because we hosted a Halloween party.

It was only when we visited the US last year that I realised what a titchy event Australian Halloween is by comparison with its US counterpart. And to bring it home, here’s a paper by Dean Karlan.

Candy We Can Believe In: A Halloween Experiment on Trust and Political Symbolism
Treb Allen, Gharad Bryan, Snaebjorn Gunnsteinsson,
Julian Jamison, Dean Karlan, Melanie Morten,
Scott Nelson, and Bram Thuysbaert
October, 2008
We conducted experiments during trick-or-treating at Halloween, four days prior to the 2008 presidential election. We decorated one side of a porch with Obama material and the other with McCain material. Some children are asked to choose a side to get an equal quantity of candy, whereas other children are offered more candy to go to the McCain side. At the candy table, each child chooses between a clear plastic bag and a brown paper bag, thus revealing their level of trust or comfort with ambiguity. We find that, in a predominantly liberal neighborhood, children choose the Obama table and continued to do so even upon the promise of more candy at the McCain table. We also find that Obama supporters, identified as those who choose the Obama table, are more likely than to take the brown bag of candy than the McCain supporters, identified as those who choose the McCain table. These results mimic results from the General Social Survey in which supporters of Kerry over Bush in 2004 are more trusting.

The sample size – the number of children who knocked on Dean Karlan’s New Haven door – is 551.

One thought on “All Hallows E’en”

  1. What a lot of nonsense.Let Americans waste their time swanning around with Halloween,why introduce it into Australia.I soon give any door knockers short shrift.
    Is this all about the influence of American television,or, are some people simply bored?
    Perhaps the Americans could celebrate Australia Day and the Melbourne Cup?
    Please leave Halloween where it belongs-in the mighty USA.


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