Halloween is largely a North American holiday. People around the world including the Spanish are slowly adopting our traditions as they are inundated with American movies and television. At home in California we spend 4 to 6 weeks planning for Halloween. Halloween is a big holiday at our house. We decorate the house, we put up orange and purple lights in the bushes outside and we even have permanent bats on the walls in our entryway! Catalogs of costumes begin arriving in August and provide hours of entertainment for the girls, planning and dreaming up costumes. We spend at least one Saturday at a costume store picking out new decorations and trying on costumes. I’d like to say that I spend October creating amazing homemade costumes for the girls but it isn’t true. On Halloween evening we usually have some friends over for a quick dinner then get to the business of trick or treating. Last year Sky and Savannah ran ahead from door to door collecting mountains of candy. We strolled along behind sipping a glass of wine and visiting with our lovely neighbors. Here in Spain Halloween is not the anticipated event that it is in the US. A couple of days before Halloween Sky and Savannah mentioned that they would like to dress up and they were pretty sure that their friends would dress up too. Grammy and Grampy were visiting that week so we all took a trip to the “China Store” as it is called in Alhama. The “Hiperfor” is where we go when we need just about any random thing. Sure enough, there were wigs, costumes and decorations of all sorts amongst the dishes, towels, underwear, cleaning supplies, nail polish and hair dye.
Sky had a vision for her outfit so she was on a mission. She found face makeup, a bat headband and a big black towel. Savvy picked out a cool orange wig and a funny headband. At home Sky worked magic with her scissors then stitched the pieces of the towel together to make the best homemade bat wings I had ever seen. We got up early on Halloween morning to prepare for the day. Savvy wore her cool pumpkin shirt that we brought from home, a purple star skirt and crazy socks. She looked very festive. Sky came out of the bathroom as a bat, ready to go and very pleased with her creation.
I was a bit worried that the other children would not be dressed in costume but Sky assured me that they would be and she didn’t care if they weren’t. Sky is awesome, always her own person!
We arrived in the playground and found that a few kids were dressed in costume, most were in Sky’s class which was a relief. Sky’s friend Ana had her costume in her backpack so she hurried inside to change. Eva and Ricardo also showed some holiday spirit.
Javier, the school director was definitely embracing the spirit of the day!
The teachers invited Sky and her friends to come down to the classrooms of the smaller children to share their costumes and spread some Halloween cheer!
Ana’s dad, David, who is originally from France but grew up in Alhama volunteered to take all of the children trick or treating. It seemed that most of the parents were not completely familiar with the tradition but agreed to let their children roam the streets in search of candy. My mom, Mike and I tagged along.
The children were all dressed in scary costumes, even David had a strange costume on. It was a cold night which reminded me of Halloween in Illinois. The kids went from door to door ringing bells up and down the steep calles of Alhama. We had our best luck at the houses of friends and relatives.
Savvy’s (9 years old) account of Halloween:
In school on Halloween day there wasn’t much change because it was pretty much like a regular school day. The only difference was that there were a few people in costumes and my teacher gave my class small bags of gummies.
At school my teacher, Conchi, asked if I had a costume like Sky (because Sky had worn her bat wings and her makeup) and since everybody liked Sky’s costume I put on my orange wig and let Silvia (my BFF) wear my spider head band. However, at recess I took of my wig because I like jumping rope. Other than that, school was all pretty much the same. After school Sky and I worked on homework and we put on our costumes including putting on makeup. After we did all of our homework we waited until a group of my friends came by the door to get me. Silvia and Esther led me along with the group down to a garage where there was supposed to be a party, however the party was mostly people eating bocadillos de jamon and lots of kids trading and eating candy that they had collected. After about thirty minutes my mom came to the garage. She asked me if I wanted to stay at the party because it cost money if you wanted to stay. Silvia stayed because she had brought money to stay. We gave them the money for me, but we didn’t want to stay because I hadn’t gone trick or treating yet and the only candy I had in my bag was candy that my sweet friends had given to me. Plus, going trick or treating is almost the whole point of Halloween, right? My mom and I went home and got extra candy from my dad when we rang the door bell. Sky’s friend Ana came over and took us to her grandma’s house so she could get ready. Once Ana was ready, Ana, Sky, Teo (Ana’s brother), and I went back to our house to collect the family. Daddy and Grampy stayed home so if there were any trick or treaters they could pass out candy. Later we found out that nobody else came other than us and the group of my friends. Grammy, Mommy, Ana, Sky, Teo, and I went to Carmen’s house for Ana’s makeup. At Carmen’s house there were a lot of kids because Carmen has a little sister in fifth grade and her sister has a ton of friends. Once we started trick or treating it got a bit crazy.
The children would ask for food and candy. Once, one of the boys got hungry and he even asked for un bocadillo de jamon (a ham sandwich!). When a person didn’t have candies, the kids would ask for chestnuts or ham! Many times when the people at the doors saw us coming they got scared and ran inside or up to the balcony. If they came out on their balconies, the kids would yell castañas, caramelos, y jamon, which means chestnuts, candies, and ham. Once an old man was on his balcony throwing chestnuts and one of the chestnuts fell and hit my eye. No kidding, it hurt!
After a while it got darker and cold and we all started to walk sideways. (The reason I put walking sideways is because its one of the funny quotes from one of the book series that we’re reading. The quote is: When the darkness gets darker we go sideways, replied Bob the Titan.) All the kids ran around like crazy people in costumes for almost the whole night.
Mommy, Grammy and I went home once it got later because we were all getting cold and tired. Sky kept running around and yelling like a hooligan for candy in the cold night until it was time for Sky’s sleepover at Ana’s house. The day before Ana had asked Sky if she wanted to sleep over at her house on Halloween with their other friend Lara. Sky told us later that they had warm milk and cookies before bed and that in the morning they had churros and hot chocolate that Ana’s mom had made. Sky’s sleepover sounded fun, although it was late and I wouldn’t even have been able to eat my milk and cookies because I was so tired! Halloween was different in Spain, but always so fun to be with your friends and run and jump for candy! FIN! (THE END!)