I put my Halloween decorations up at home yesterday, so I thought it was time to decorate the blog with some Halloween pictures. My favorite place to celebrate Halloween is Isla Mujeres. Halloween melds with Day of the Dead and it seems to go on forever.
My first year on Isla over Halloween and Day of the Dead, I assumed kids would trick or treat on October 31 -- just like at home. Ha! They begin patrolling Hidalgo and the restaurants one or two nights before Halloween, and they're still dressing up and trick or treating after the three-day Day of the Dead observance. Last year, there were still a few stragglers on Hidalgo on November 3 and 4! Halloween's an American holiday they've adopted (adapted!). And they have new rules. Ha! I didn't understand my first Halloween on Isla that kids prefer pesos as opposed to candy. Most of them carry a tiny goblin type container. In 2004 when I was handing out candy, most acted like they had no clue what to do with it. I did notice in 2007 that some had switched to carrying larger bags and were happy to take candy, but pesos are still preferred.
I love Day of the Dead customs. In the U.S., families go to the cemetery and leave flowers on the grave of loved ones around Memorial Day, but Day of the Dead is intense. Last year some groups set up booths on the square to honor their departed relatives. Graves in the cemetery are decorated with flowers, lit candles, and various tributes. Vendor stands on the street outside the cemetery sell flowers, candles, and even drinks (lemonade and Sangria in 2007) for visiting relatives. Events usually include a late afternoon procession to the cemetery and some type of evening observance in the square. Last year a local woman knew I was very interested and explained the entire three days to me at length. Unfortunately, she gave the explanation in Spanish (so I missed a lot of it)!
I won't be on Isla this year for the events, but I did notice that my town has a Day of the Dead event planned. I think I'll go take a look, but I know it won't be the same!