Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 10: Bobbing for Bacteria with Ebony McKenna

Tradition plays a big part in some Halloween celebrations. Some people do haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of trick-or-treaters. Other carve amazing jack-o-lanterns.  CSandrabooksharlie Brown and Linus all all about the Coming of the Great Pumpkin. Me? I ‘m all about the great Halloween tradition of pimping my own books, and by books I mean my grown-up, smart-assed romantic comedies, which you can buy here for cheap.

There are others, like Australian author Ebony McKenna, who embrace Halloween, and wonder about the hygiene of a few traditions.

Thank you so much Sandra for inviting me to join in Halloweenie. I’m equal parts spooked and excited to be here.

bobingI love how in America Halloween is embraced for all its spooky fun. Laughing at death is a great way to face your fears. Fear such as ‘I wonder how many million bacteria are swarming in this apple bobbing tub?’

Just about everything I know about this bizarre festival comes from watching American sitcoms and their Halloween specials . . . which are then shown in Australia some time around March.

ondine-2-autumn-palace-us-cover-v7d-medium-res-max100In the eastern European country of Brugel, where my Ondine series is set, they celebrate Halloween in the best northern style. Bruglers eat copious amounts of seasonal turnips and cabbage, (fried, in soups, roasted, etc.) then gather around the village square for Bonfire Night. Bruglers write down their bad habits or regrets on notes, and cast them into the fire, as a way of saying goodbye to the past and cleansing their futures. It’s considered tremendous bad luck to remain inside on Halloween Bonfire Night. Because of the mountain of turnip and cabbage consumed, and the lower-body explosions that ensue, staying outside is not just tradition; it’s vital for good health.

Feels wrong celebrating this particularly autumnal festival down here in the Australian spring. Sunburned zombies and vampires in broad daylight are totes legit. The important thing to remember is if there are lollies around (our name for candy), the kids will be in it.

Luckily for me, I have a kid, so I get to enjoy the fun vicariously through my son, while also wandering the streets pranking people.

Teenagers make the best marks. They’re all ‘I’m way too cool for this,’ or ‘I’m dressed ironically’, or ‘I’m only in it for the lollies’. But I got them. I had a skull-shaped lolly bowl, choc-full of candy. While my son, in his old-bedsheet-now-a-ghost costume ran up to people and yelled “boo”, I offered ‘mobile trick or treat’ to the vast gangs of teens roaming the avenues. They reached in and grabbed a chock. Then SURPRISE! A skeleton hand reached out and touched them. They jumped and screamed and laughed their costumed heads off.

I’ll have to think of something even better this year. Only a couple of weeks to go as well. I’d better get pranking!

Ebony McKenna is the author of the Ondine series, about a teen girl whose pet ferret starts talking with a Scottish accent.

Ebony’s books are available here

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