Este es Halloween.

DSC_0523   Exam:  Choose the correct phrase to finish these sentences:

  1. Halloween in Spain is:
    • celebrated.
    • not celebrated.
    • celebrated and not celebrated.
  2. Trick-or-Treating in Spain is:
    • not done.
    • done only at friends’ houses.
    • includes dumping water on trick-or-treaters.
    • all of the above… maybe.
  3. Costumes include:
    • scary monsters.
    • princesses and superheros.
    • sexy-anything.
    • none of the above.
  4. School Halloween parties are:
    • a huge fundraiser.
    • an event planned months in advance.
    • vaguely organized a few days before.
    • a big fun chaotic party.

The answers are:  1) celebrated and not celebrated, 2) all of the above… maybe, 3) scary monsters, 4) vaguely organized and a big fun chaotic party.

As ex-pat moms facing our first real holiday away from home, we needed to compare notes.  So we descended upon El Higo bar last Tuesday night for drinks and tapas.  Each of us had heard many different stories about Halloween in Spain, and, more specifically, in the Albayzin neighborhood.  It soon became clear that no one really knew what was going on.  “American style” Halloween is a relatively new thing in Europe.  Chances were there wouldn’t be much going on in the way of truco-o-trato unless we made sure of it.DSC_0600

So a plan came together for the coming Saturday.  But first, we had to make it through the school party on Friday.  At Gomez Moreno, the 6th grade class puts on the Halloween party as a fundraiser for their upcoming trip.  The expat 6th grade parents went into a panic when the first planning meeting for event took place 4 days before.   How could this be?  How would it all get done?

The Spanish parents just laughed.  ¡No se preocupe! DSC_0554

It all got cheerfully thrown together last minute.  Spanish style.  The party was sweet and simple:  music, potluck, beer, face-painting, a tiny “haunted room”.  Mostly the kids just snacked and ran around the play yard in their costumes while the parents snacked, sipped beer and chatted.  Such a departure from the elaborate booths and entertainment and fundraising and set-up and break-down and exhaustion that comes with most school events back home.  We even had enough energy afterwards for a movie party with friends.DSC_0576

The next day was Halloween.  This year I had no access to a Goodwill or a sewing machine or a fabric store or even a glue gun.  What they do have in abundance here are papelerías.  So yes, their costumes were made of paper.  Violet and her friend were keen to think of and make their own, so we had a crafty playdate at our place the week before.  Graham and his friend were keen to avoid making their own, so they wrestled while I cut and glued.  Paper and ribbon: $7.  One afternoon.  Done.DSC_0603

I never did find pumpkins in the Albayzin.  So two days before Halloween I picked up a couple musk melons from my frutería lady.  It worked, and they’re so much easier to carve than regular pumpkins, it may become a new tradition.  Plus at $4 for both, the price is right.  One hour.  Done.DSC_0626

Halloween evening.  Time to implement The Plan:  We would all meet at the highest house in the neighborhood at 5pm to start our Casa-Crawl-o-Treat.  Cups in hand, we accompanied our kids down the hill, stopping at each others’ houses for drinks, snacks and candy.  Our final destination was the bottom of the Albayzin, where supposedly a festival was happening along a plaza full of restaurants.DSC_0618

We never made it that far.  Four hours of walking and group truco-o-trato was enough for most kids.  Our band broke up and headed home.  It was almost 9 o’clock, and clearly the party was just getting started for the rest of the neighborhood kids and teens.  I don’t even think they were trick-or-treating as much as chasing each other through the streets.  But our paper costumes were falling apart so we called it a night.DSC_0634

I wouldn’t call it a traditional Spanish Halloween, because there isn’t such a thing.  It certainly wasn’t a traditional American Halloween either.   Memorable, stress-free, entertaining fun for kids and parents?  Yep.  I’ll take it.


2 Responses to “Este es Halloween.

  • Uncle Joe
    8 years ago

    That sounds like a lot of fun!

  • Gramma L.
    8 years ago

    Wish I had been there ! V and G will have great stories to tell their friends next Halloween …

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