Happy Holidays!


It’s my favorite time of the year, the Halloween/Dia de los Muertos holiday season.

A few years ago I went to Mexico to celebrate the Fiestas de Octubre. I was quite surprised by the fervor in which Mexico celebrates Halloween and how it’s been combined with many of the Dia de los Muertos traditions. There are many that may be dismayed by this change but not me, I thought the hybridization of traditions was inspiring and clever, most notably in the way people decorated their homes, altars and costume choices.

Just like all other holidays in Mexico, Halloween is not celebrated on just one day, I saw kids wearing their costumes up to five days ahead of the 31st and the school costume parades started on October 28th. And by the way, there’s no little princesses or cute frilly costumes in sight, it’s all ghouls, vampires, mummies and Dia de los Muertos inspired attire like La Catrina. I say we start taking our cues from Mexico and make Halloween a week-long holiday and stop dressing our kids like little cupcakes!

Since it’s right about that time when folks start preparing their altars and deciding on costume ideas, I’d like to share some of the photos I took while in Mexico. Hopefully, it will inspire you to try out some new ideas this year. I was particularly impressed by the altares created by the indigenous groups in Oaxaca, simple but beautiful.
Click the links below for more photos:



This year I’m heading to Guadalajara and maybe Michoacan for the annual fiestas. I’m sure I’ll return with dazzled eyes and a mind swimming with ideas for next year’s projects!


12 thoughts on “Happy Holidays!

  1. Another vote to make Dia de los Halloweens a week long event. Maybe we can also bring back the celebration of death as part a natural stage of living and not a fearfull escape with blood, gore, chainsaws and 14 inch knives. Just a Blog-Thought.

  2. slightly off-topic, but i’m finally going through some of my “this american life” podcasts from 6 months ago. one was on the fear of sleep and talked about this mexican girl who grew up in the states having this empty feeling in her chest when she slept that made her not want to go to sleep. her parents (from mexico) said, “oh, that’s probably just the devil sitting on you,” to comfort her.

  3. Those colors always get me. You cannot go wrong with orange and purple. Very interesting shots. Really like em. BTW, Janitzio is the place to be!

  4. “Dia de los Halloween”—-that’s why the Mexica prediction was that their culture would be preserved in Aztlan, not in Mexico. We’re purists about that stuff here.

  5. Thanks for the comments!
    I loved the altars made by the indigenous groups in Oaxaca. While I’ve always had a fondness for the bright, colorful ofrendas with the papel picado, calaveritas etc., the simple altars with just the fruit, marigolds and daily foodstuffs blew me away. The pictures I took don’t really do them justice. I hope you can make out the pan de muerto images too. They are in the shape of little bodies and decorated with sesame seeds. I’ve only seen this kind of pan de muerto in Oaxaca.
    Soon I’ll post pictures of the costumed kids and students and hopefully put some videos up as well.

  6. I am making my yearly alter, but what spots have the sugar skulls this year as well as decor? the place I went to last year shut down. Thanks for any info

  7. Dear Chimatli,
    Over here in NC they do not know nada about Dia de los Muertos. Last year I dressed in my best skull makeup and fiesta clothes to show how it’s done. This year I’m planning a party with an altar and sugar skulls to decorate. I think I’ll make those awesome beans that El Chavo just posted on his blog.
    While I really love Asheville, I miss HP at this time of year.
    Good to find you in the blogosphere.


  8. Jen, We miss you here in NELA too! Glad to see you’re carrying on the traditions, your party sounds like it will be lots of fun! Maybe you can make some pan de muerto too. Love to everyone!

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