What is
“Halloween themed”?

We asked some zinemakers what they reckon Halloween is all about.

Thy O’Donnell:

Halloween growing up was a fantastic affair, I grew up overseas in Singapore and Cambodia with a large amount of American friends that went ALL out. We would do scavenger hunts on tuk tuks (a Cambodian taxi/carriage thing pulled by a motorbike) that we decorated. I got started in Halloween because my friend did it & dressing up is fun! Halloween nowadays means staying in, decorating the house & scaring children. We do trick or treating in my neighbourhood which has been slowed down due to COVID-19. Sometimes I’ll go to a party but I’m not really into that kind of thing.

Gemma Randall:

Halloween's sort of an odd holiday for Australia, culturally speaking. We haven't been colonised long enough to amass much of a folk mythology to frame the holiday around, not to mention the seasonal disparity. I used to roll my eyes at shops attempting to sell Halloween-themed stuff, but they reeled me in eventually. Now it's the highlight of the calendar year for me.

I first started to participate in Halloween one big movie night in year 11 or 12. Halloween's the best time of year to watch creepy movies with your buds. Not everyone's going to enjoy a marathon of the Conjuring movies, but more approachable movies that play with the concepts of horror like Coraline or Monster House will provide a good laugh and good atmosphere.

These days, I love making my own decorations! I tend to amass cardboard packaging, so I'll cut out garlands of ghosts and pumpkins, and I have a big green spider for my front door. It's a bit more environmentally friendly than buying plastic decorations, and a low-pressure way to flex your creative muscles.

Michelle Harford:

I like that in normally holds back the tide of christmas decorations. But I'm growing to love the dress up and decoration aspects. It reminds me of a kind of macabre masquerade ball, which I'm here for. Jack o’ lanterns are rather cute.


We had friends from Canada that introduced us to the holiday in the 90s as teens, we would walk around with our younger siblings but few people knew what we were doing.. one fella wrapped a biscuit in tin foil and made out they were miniature ufos as he 'flew' them into their sacks. I thought that was a cool quick-thinking fix! Prior to that we never celebrated but movies like Hocus Pocus and The Craft were watched repeatedly. Now our kids help us each yr prepare for the potential of trick or treaters by tracing outlines of each other's bodies on the crossover/footpath/road with chalk and splatter with food colouring or beetroot juice for added effect. We usually watch episode's of Monster Squad (daggy old teleseries) and eat pop rocks, sherbet and pez.


Halloween has weirdly shallow roots in Australia and a bizarre seasonal backdrop. End of October falls between local Wurundjeri seasons Poorneet and Buarth Gurru; a festering wet warmth. When orchids unfurl from the sodden earth, air thick with choking pollen, to the cries of baby bats and baby owls.

It can be about the scary and absurd. It can be filled with anxiety and fear and ritual and history and making up the monsters you need. Halloween in an antipodean immigrant nation? It’s ALL untethered plasticity. I like that Australian Halloween REQUIRES improvised creative control. Do you loathe “American” Halloween? Capitalist / Globalist Halloween? What do YOU think Halloween should be? We get to name our terms!

Zinemaking CAN be a therapeutic act, seeing an internal hurricane laid out on finite pages; cutting and pasting, expounding and redacting. I love making zines to digest unresolved fixations. Every year, there’s something I’ve got to get off my chest; some research hole I’m stuck in, pictures I have to draw, ideas I have to articulate and see arranged in order. What a good season to expel something weird and unsightly and surprising. We run each Hallozeen to foster a fruitful zinemaking harvest, the Halloween theme is just a prompt to get you going.