Friday, 26 October 2018

Halloween in Rotorua

Trick or Treating, Jack-o'-Lanterns, haunted attractions, bobbing for apples, candy apples, candy corn are all traditions associated with Halloween. The idea of celebrating Halloween or specifically Trick or Treating begun gaining popularity in New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s. This blog post looks back at how Halloween has been celebrated in Rotorua over the years, and how we are celebrating it in 2018.

1983 - Waterbed World uses Halloween for a sale. Source: The Daily Post, Monday 31 October 1983, p. 4.


1985 - Lymore Primary School teacher Mrs J. Angell with Katie Spence, 6, left, and Johnny Johnson, 6. Source: The Daily Post, Thursday 31 October 1985, p. 1.


1994 - Renee Brierly, 10, the friendly ghost. Source: The Daily Post, Tuesday 1 November 1994, p. 1.

2008 - Halloween Fright Night at the Library, Friday 31 October 2008.

Halloween has not always been a positive affair in Rotorua. In 1995 the Daily Post run with the headline ‘Children ‘hold up’ woman’.  Mrs Merilyn Farrant reported that she opened her door to two youngsters armed with a toy long barreled shotgun and a crow bar.

In 1999, a Lynmore woman reported being terrified by a group pounding on her door demanding lollies. Police reported receiving no complaints but the following year they reported that they received five complaints regarding Halloween trick or treaters and three complaints about young people using fireworks.

Also in 2000 the two Lorraines (they did not want their surnames known) distributed Halloween-Free House signs. In 2002 the Salvation Army also offered Halloween-free signs for a donation.

Salvation Army corps officer Ian Gainsford with one of the Halloween-free signs. Source: The Daily Post, Thursday 31 October 2002, p. 3.

The Blood Bank cleverly cashed in on Halloween in 2001 with ‘Night Bleed’, a special blood bank recruiting drive held on the night following Halloween.

Also in 2001 students from Rotorua’s Seventh Day Adventist Primary School used Halloween to start The Daily Post’s Christmas hamper appeal.


Upcoming family friendly Halloween events


Hell-O-Wheels Halloween Roller Derby Spectacular is on at the Southern Trust Sportsdrome on Saturday 27th October. Doors open 6pm.



On Sunday 28th October between 11am and 3:30pm is the Halloween Pool Party at Rotorua Aquatic Centre. Entry is $7.



More FM is hosting HolloWin on Tuesday 30th October in Jean Batten Square outside Rotorua Library from 3:30pm – 5:00pm. The family event is a free and safe alternative to Trick or Treating.



There is an outdoor movie screening of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events at OGO Rotorua on Friday 2 November. Movie starts 8pm.



Halloween quilt window display at Cottage Flair, 1127 Fenton St.



If you have any photos or memories from past Halloween celebrations, Light Parties in Rotorua please add them to Rotorua Kete, our online community space.

This post was written thanks to The Daily Post.

This post was written by Graeme.

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