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Halloween costume and decoration ideas for your last-minute Australian celebration

Jack-o'-lantern and pumpkins
In Australia pumpkins are in season between March and May.

Thinkstock: Photos.com

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The argument as to whether Australians should celebrate Halloween seems to have been won — or lost, depending on who you are.

But Halloween could do with some Australianising. After all, giant pumpkins are nearly as unseasonal down under as snowmen at Christmas.

Here, then, are some genuine Australian ideas for your spooky costumes and decorations.

Bunyip

A line drawing of a hairy creature emerging from a waterhole.
This 1935 drawing of a bunyip shows one interpretation of the myth.

National Library of Australia: Artist unknown

Tales of large creatures that lurk in rivers, swamps and billabongs have been told in Australia since long before white settlement.

One theory is that Aboriginal elders told the stories to scare children from playing alone near the water's edge.

Descriptions of the animal range from "half man, half fish" to "half crocodile, half emu", but it is often depicted as a hippopotamus-sized animal with a dog-like head.

Or you could look to 2016 Australian thriller Red Billabong, which had its own take on the appearance of the mystical monster.

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Big cat

Strap on some ears, draw on some whiskers and pop in the plastic fangs, because rumours of big cats abound in Australia.

For decades people across the country have reported bushland encounters with panthers, leopards, cougars or pumas — although rarely lions or tigers.

A North American mountain lion sharpens its claws on a fallen tree trunk.
At least three state governments have officially dealt with reports of big cats in Australia.

www.chinohillsstatepark.org

In 1979 their existence was debated in West Australian parliament, with Labor member David Evans reading a letter from a farmer blaming recent sheep killings on a strange animal "the size of a large dog, cat-like with long tail".

A 2003 NSW inquiry found it was "more likely than not" that big cats were roaming the bush, but an investigation nine years later concluded the sightings were probably of feral domestic cats.

A test on the tail of a 1.5 metre long big cat shot in 2005 in Dargo, in south-east Victoria, found the animal was in fact an impressively large feral cat.

Yowie

A tall hairy creature.
Yowie spotters have compared the creature to Chewbacca from Star Wars.

Supplied

The yowie has been described as a tall, hairy, ape-like creature, similar to a yeti, sasquatch, or Chewbacca from Star Wars.

In the late 1800s a long debate over the existence of the creature raged between amateur naturalist Henry James McCooey and Australian Museum curator Edward Pierson Ramsay.

In 1893 newspaper The Braidwood Dispatch reported that a "hairy man" had been captured and killed east of Canberra.

Yowie sightings are still common in some parts of New South Wales and Queensland.

Former Queensland Nationals senator Bill O'Chee claimed to have seen a yowie while a school student in the 1970s.

Drop bear

Koala with fangs
Stories of the drop bear have struck fear into many a backpacker.

Wikimedia Commons: Yamavu (own work)

Stories of a koala-like animal with powerful forearms and large teeth are often told to overseas tourists unfamiliar with the Australian bush.

In a tongue-in-cheek entry on its website, the Australian Museum says the animal may wait perched in a tree for up to four hours before ambushing an unsuspecting animal from above.

Visitors intending to bushwalk in "drop bear habitat" are often told that smearing Vegemite behind their ears will repel the animal — although according to the museum, there is no evidence that such a folk remedy works.