Tag Archives: Halloween in spain

Halloween in Spain by Mom and the Savster

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Savannah, Silvia and Sky ready to trick or treat!
Truco o trato!!!

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.

Everyone gets a turn in the wig!

Everyone gets a turn in the wig!

We bought this crazy blue wig.

We bought this crazy blue wig.

Savvy with a wig to match her jacket!

Savvy with a wig to match her jacket!

Grampy Dave, everyone gets a turn in the wig!

Grampy Dave, everyone gets a turn in the wig!

Sky and Grammy

Sky and Grammy

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.

Sky flying into school with her spooky classmates.

Sky flying into school with her spooky classmates.

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!

Ana came by to pick up the girls on the way to school. Savannah, Ana and Sky

Ana came by the house to pick up the girls on her way to school. Savannah, Ana and Sky

Sky, the most beautiful bat

Sky, the most beautiful bat, on her way to school

Sky with Ana and Savvy following behind

Sky with Ana and Savvy following behind

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.

Eva and Ricardo dressed in their costumes for school. Eva dressed as a spider witch and Ricardo dressed as the joker. :)

Eva and Ricardo dressed in their costumes for school. Eva dressed as a spider witch and Ricardo dressed as the joker. 🙂

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Javier, the school director was definitely embracing the spirit of the day!

Have you ever seen a school principal dressed like this?

Have you ever seen a school principal dressed like this?

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 mob of trick or treaters David, the dad is on the right in the back.

The mob of trick or treaters
David, Ana’s dad is on the right in the back.

Truco o trato! Castañas, Jamon!

Truco o trato! Castañas, Jamon!

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.

Josefa and Juan gave us chestnuts and hugs.

Josefa and Juan gave us chestnuts and hugs.

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 like normal on Halloween Day.

At school like normal on Halloween Day.

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.

Spooky me in the crowd of hooligans! Candy, Chestnuts, Ham galore, TRICK OR TREATING for door to door.

Spooky me in the crowd of hooligans! Candy, Chestnuts, Ham galore, TRICK OR TREATING from door to door.

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!

Truco o trato.  "trick or treat"  Here is a neighbor throwing chestnuts to the kids.

Truco o trato. “trick or treat” Here is a neighbor throwing chestnuts to the street.

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.

These are the kids in the dark being more spooky than ever. Boo!

These are the kids in the dark being more spooky than ever. Boo!

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!)

Team Kezmoh goes on a school picnic with Grammy and Grampy

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Beautiful October Morning

Beautiful October Morning

Last week we had our first brave visitors to Alhama de Granada.  My mom and stepdad, Dave came to visit for my birthday.  Team Kezmoh drove our Seat Leon to Malaga to pick them up.  We returned the little car and exchanged it for a minivan for the week.   A minivan is a rarity in Spain because large vehicles are not meant for Spain. The roads are narrow and parking spaces are very tiny.

At the airport Mike took care of the details of switching cars while Sky, Savvy and I planted ourselves outside of customs.  We were overjoyed when we spotted Grammy Sandi and Grampy Dave!  We gave them huge hugs and led them to the minivan.

So glad to see Grammy and Grampy!

So glad to see Grammy and Grampy!

The girls chattered all the way to Alhama about their new lives here.  While our special visitors settled into the apartment downstairs (Apartamentos Salmerones), Savannah made a list of the important sites she wanted to share in Alhama.  We hardly gave Mom and Dave time to put their suitcases away before they were pulled out the door for a tour.  Savvy had her list so she was our guide.  We visited all of the important parks, the library, the grocery store, the Churrero, the coffee shop and the school.  Looking back I had to smile because Alhama has many tourists who pass through every day.  I always see them disappearing on hikes into the gorge,  touring the old quarter, and posing for photos in front of the old church but I bet none of them knows where the grocery store is!

On Sunday morning we hiked down to the Churrero for churros and chocolate, a must for visitors to Spain.  The churros are made fresh when ordered and “churros for 6” is enough for an army.  The chocolate is a thick molten pudding rather than a drink and it is served with a spoon.

Grammy and Savannah Churros and chocolate

Grammy and Savannah
Churros and chocolate

Churros and Chocolate Sky and Dave

Churros and chocolate
Sky and Dave

Luckily for Mom and Dave we had an all-school, all-day excursion on Monday!   It was an “Excursion al Campo”, a trip to the countryside.

Grammy Sandi and Savannah ready to hike to the campo

Grammy Sandi and Savannah ready to hike to the campo

Sky, ready for the outing!

Sky, ready for the outing!

Checking the schedule for the day

Checking the schedule for the day

The week before Mike and I had been recruited to help brainstorm activities for the day.  It was Halloween week so they wanted us to help with ideas from our Halloween/Harvest festivals at home.  We were delighted to be included and agreed to run a station and bring a typical American snack.  We googled Halloween cookies and although we had never had them before we thought “witches’ fingers” would be a good Halloween snack.  Grammy took charge of making the cookies. Sky and Savannah were in charge of forming the fingers and adding the “fingernails”. We also made Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.  Javier, the school director, enjoyed hearing us say peanut-butter-and-jelly more than the sandwiches themselves.  “Say it again!” he laughed calling a friend over to listen to our funny accents.

Making Witch's Fingers!

Making Witches’ Fingers!

Sky, Savvy and Leslie with our PB&J and cookies

Sky, Savvy and Leslie with our PB&J and cookies

The Fingers

The Fingers

We hiked in a long line of children, parents and teachers down into the gorge across one road and onto a trail into the forest.

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Embalse de los Bermejales

Embalse de los Bermejales

We set up the festival under the shade of tall trees at a picnic ground by the local lake, Embalse de los Bermejales (this is different from the Lake Bermejales that we run around).  Mom, Dave, Mike, Spencer and I manned Estacion #3.  Spencer is a young man from Tennessee who is teaching English at the school this year.  Since he is the other American he was assigned to our group.  We really like Spencer so we were glad for his company. Our station was called “Coma manzanas sin los manos” (eat apples without your hands). We sliced apples and dangled them from a string hanging between two trees.

Savannah and Spencer (pronounced ES-spencer by the Spanish children)

Savannah and Spencer (pronounced ES-spencer by the Spanish children)

Mom, Sandi cutting apples

Mom, Sandi cutting apples

We gave the instructions in Spanish and had the kids repeat them after us in English.  We were supposed to be teaching some English so we quizzed them on the words for fruits and vegetables.  The children were pretty hungry and were motivated to get the apples without using their hands.  It was fun to watch.  In every group there was always one kid, usually a big boy, who would demand that his string be reloaded several times.

Grampy Dave helping with the apples

Grampy Dave helping with the apples

Toma manzanas sin manos

Toma manzanas sin manos

Delicious apples!

Delicious apples!

Sky's friend Ava

Sky’s friend Eva

Sky and Savannah stayed with their classes. They had sack races, a mask-making station and other games.

Beautiful Sky winning the sack race

Beautiful Sky winning the sack race

Savvy with her cool autumn mask

Savvy with her cool autumn mask

Once every class had rotated through all the activity stations, it was time for lunch and most of the parents began arriving.  One mother roasted chestnuts and passed them out wrapped in newspaper.

Passing out roasted chestnuts

Passing out roasted chestnuts

Tables were set up and the food was laid out.  There were Tortilla Espanolas (thick egg and potato omelettes), Empanadas, fried fish, and an entire table devoted to what else,  jamon. We visited with the other parents and tasted all of the foods. I had to explain at least 6 times that I was certain that the jamon was delicious but that I was a vegetarian. Mike just kept some on his plate to prove that he was enjoying it.

So much JAMON!

So much JAMON!

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Mike, Dave and Sandi after lunch

After everyone had eaten, Javier jumped around and announced that it was time for some games.  I volunteered for the sack race.  Spencer joined me.  Spencer has a rule that he must never say no if he is invited to try something as long as it is not unhealthy or illegal. I knew when Javier approached him that he would be lining up for the race!  Spencer won and was awarded a bag of candy which seemed to come with about 40 children. They surrounded him and left him with an empty bag. He was smiling, what a prize!

Full of fried calamari, tortilla Espanola, witches’ fingers, and jamon we all hiked back to the school.  It was a long line of tired children who hiked the mile back to school.  I was impressed that even the tiny kids hiked without complaint.  Javier took up the rear making sure no one got lost.

DSC_9705It was evening and we were all tired.  It felt good to have had a station of our own to run.  We felt welcomed and part of the community which was lovely.  Team Kezmoh and Grammy and Grampy went home and watched Despicable Me and went to bed.

Team Kezmoh

Team Kezmoh

Stay tuned for more adventures of Team Kezmoh and visitors.