We went big on Halloween. Halloween is our neighbor April’s favorite holiday. When we told her this summer we’d be back in late October she asked me to shop for Halloween costumes for the kids. She also advised me they had all grown substantially in the four months since we left Pescadero. Good thing she did because the kids barely squeezed into outfits I thought would easily be big enough. Childhood obesity in rates in Mexico are second only to the US. Baja Caifornia Sur has the highest obesity rates in the country. Meanwhile, we took the gang trick or treating. The irony was not lost on us. At least they walked.
Halloween has mixed reception in Mexico because it competes/overlaps with Day of the Dead festivities. Of course the origins of both are similar, christian mythology incorporated indigenous pre-exisiting traditions into their All Saints celebrations. In Europe we got Halloween. Today’s Halloween is a lighthearted, superficially spooky affair focused on door to door candy. In Mexcio the amalgamation resulted in Dia de Muertos and today it is still a complex multi-day festival honoring deceased loved ones and welcoming them home for a visit. I will not attempt a meaningful explanation. There are many ways of celebrating publicly and privately. More in the next post. Back to Halloween here. Halloween in Baja California Sur seems to have been welcomed as a compatible but separate event. You can do both.
Our neighborhood gang gathered at April’s and got to work dressing and face painting. Lots of scary faces. Skulls, spiders, wounds…Glorious gore. After the several hours of this we headed to town for a Trick or Trunk event April had organized. It started slow because we started too early. We milled about with decorated children and cars and big bowls of candy for about 45 minutes. As dark settled around us the goblins of Todos Santos started coming out. Suddenly we were out of candy and it was time to flee as more and more kids started coming by our parked cars. Not to selves: Next year start later and bring more candy. Next we took our 11 kids and 5 adults on a walk through downtown and we hit up restaurants and stores. Many were prepared for the trick or treaters. After that we headed to La Casa de la Abuela. The haunted house!!!! La abuela was a little late getting her place ready so we sang La llorona and sorted out who was ready to go in and who was not ready to go in. Finally at 7:20 Grandma invited us in for a tour but first our group was reorganized by them (a keen psychological trick that separated kids from their favorite companions and heightened their fear). Grandma was in control.
We were group one and I was the front person. We were advised nobody would touch us. Two 8 year old girls and two ten year old boys followed me. Rafa had the back of the line. The girls were terrorized. I was, too, because for the life of me I couldn’t see where to go and the rookie staff wasn’t sure how to guide without touching. Finally a desperate hand grabbed me (shocked, I screamed) and led me through the maze. The exit door we found ourselves stuck. The door was locked. Intentionally or unintentionally? Who knows? So I tried to go back. Goblins said no. Door still locked. We circled a table round and round. Funny, it was the table where I take Spanish class. I new hell had manifested in place of Spanish classes. I was trapped with 4 screaming kids in a room with no exit. I beat on the door. Rafa beat on the door. The room ghoul beat on the door. The door beat back. It did not open. I broke the rules and took some flash free photos. Other groups were backed up behind us. A new ghoul arrived and unlocked the door and we burst free into a slightly less oppressive night.
Immediately all the kids swore they were not scared. I did not disabuse them of this idea while they beat their chests and mocked the abuela but I have proof and I present it below. Boo to you!