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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Halloween! y Dia de Los Muertos

Yes, Halloween was a while ago now but I'm finding it tough to keep up with posting!

For me, Halloween has always been fun and about dressing up and visiting neighbours, rather than the 'begging' aspect that a lot of people get annoyed with. I find it sad that there are fewer and fewer homes opening their pathways to trick or treaters. Living in a commercial road with no front door of my own, we couldn't join in and prepare a basket of goodies for the local ghouls. So I took Leon to my childhood home and paraded along the street, happily crossing other little monsters.

My little pumpkin enjoyed visitng the first few homes and proudly announced his presence with a loud but cute "RAAAARR!!" (they should make some effort to scare!) and delighted in seeing all the other young children in their getup. Of course, he demanded I open his sweets straight away, but I helped him understand that you need to wait until the end. I relented after the 2nd house and let him munch on a Milky Way.

Scary Pumpkins go RAAAARR!

By the fifth house; he'd become wary and didn't want to make his way up a very well decorated, spooky entrance with spiderwebs and candlesticks - but I sort of forced him... he glared questioningly at the lady and didn't like a grown-up opening the door... After that, he was reluctant to visit more houses, especially the one with a hand peeping through the door... so we called it a night. Content with the booty, we had a hot chocolate and went home.

The upside of taking a toddler trick or treating? I got to eat all his sweets ;)

Leon was lucky to have the opportunity to dress up twice! Once for his morning Halloween party then trick or treating in the evening, but we were also invited to Mindshape's launch of Casper's Scare School: Costume Closet, a new iPad and iPhone app (£1.99) mixing and matching different dress up outfits with the aim of increasing object recognition and memory recognition. He certainly picked up the craze of mixing up outfits with his pirate/copper costume!

Mixed Up Dressing Up

Fun times aside, I also celebrated the Mexican Day of the Dead. A time for remembering your loved ones who've died. In Mexico, people make shrines with offerings of their dead's favourite dish, or may cook their favourite meal in their honour with an empty seat for them at the table.

While we didn't do this as well as we should have, I visited a beautiful communal shrine at Hackney City Farm (better outlined here) where my sister and I could write a note to our dad and enjoy the beauty of the candles bouncing off the colourful decorations of mexican papel picado, autumnal harvest, flowers, personal photos, messages and offerings.

Dia de Los Muertos shrine at Hackney City Farm

I'm hoping to see more Day of the Dead exhibitions and shrines when we're in Mexico next week! It's so vivid and crazy I love it. Death is celebrated so differently there.

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