Day of the Dead in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico
When we were in Toronto we knew exactly what to expect for Halloween. It was clearly mapped out as it had been for years even back to when we trick or treated ourselves. First was the agonizing decision of choosing the costume. Then, of course, would it be bought or home made?.
Back in my day my mother always made my Halloween costumes and I remember my favorite being an Egyptian Princess ensemble complete with billowing pants, a halter top and a jaunty hat with yards of material flowing down. I was thrilled.
As we were working parents we chose to buy the costumes for our children but always bought the make-up and my husband expertly applied it to our little ghosts or goblins.
Once the costume was donned and the appropriate make-u applied the tears would always come as our little ones had to wear coats over their masterpieces. Some years we managed to get the costumes on over the coats but this seldom worked to anyone’s satisfaction. You have to remember we were in Toronto, Canada and it was cold at the end of October.
Then came the actual trick or treating going up and down neighboring streets ringing the bell and demanding candy. For several years our kids carried UNISEF cans for people to make donations to this very worthwhile cause of helping children throughout the world.
When everyone was ready to drop we would gladly trudge home and carefully go through the loot obtained. The kids, of course, wanted to devour everything forthwith and it was always a struggle to dispense the candy and goodies over a period of time to avoid poisoning or excessive vomiting.
If handled properly we could make the candy last until Christmas season began with all of the festive chocolates in gay profusion.
When we were first here in Ajijic, Lake Chapala there was no real Halloween as it were.
There was the Day of the Dead on Nov. 2 which is a wonderful celebration of ones departed loved ones but no Halloween to speak of.
It was not very long after, however, that the Mexican kids got word of this splendid occasion where people gave you candy just for showing up at their door and they soon were all over Halloween.
Also when we first came to Ajijic, Lake Chapala, pumpkins were very hard to find and one usually had to go to Guadalajara to purchase one to be carved into the macabre smiles welcoming the little ones to your door. Our kids still laugh when they remember ordering a pumpkin at a local flower shop in Ajijic and when they went to pick it up it was as small green affair, a pumpkin – yes, but no bigger than a grapefruit.
Today Superlake already has a large selection of pumpkins available.
Many of the local stores in the village have wonderful candy and treats at a very reasonable price and Walmart has an extensive selection of costumes for all ages.
So fill the candy bowls and wait for the kids to come on Oct. 31. Unlike Canada, however, they arrive early afternoon rather than after dark. One thing to watch out for is the wily teenagers who come to your door more than once without the benefit of costume. Bless their hearts.
Instead of shouting “Trick or Treat?” the Mexican children will yell “Quiero Halloween” which translates into “I want Halloween” which they do indeed now have.