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Happy Halloween and Day of the Dead

How was your Halloween? Halloween and Thanksgiving are my two favorite holidays.  Ironic that I moved to a country that doesn’t celebrate either.

La Primera said that she was going to dress up La Nieta as mid-life crisis guy since LN looks like she has a receding hairline. I told LP to enjoy being in control of the costume choices for as long as possible. In addition, I reminded her of the October 10th cut off date for costume requests that I enforced until they got old enough to do their own costuming.

Costume request deadline started when LP was 3.  Early in October LP had announced that she wanted to be “A sah-ran-cha-la” for trick or treat. Having no idea what that meant, I asked her what one looked like. She looked at me like she thought I was a blithering idiot and replied in a serious tone,”You know, Mommy, a hairy spider!”. I spent the  week before Halloween making her a tarantula suit out of a black leotard and several pairs of tights. When I presented her with the costume, demonstrating how the legs worked in tandem, she decided that she really had wanted to be a bat. Micky Mouse ears, the removal of two pairs of legs along with a cape basted to the long sleeves did the trick.

Don’t think that I never got to make cute costumes. One year, I made my nephew a tiger costume. Recently I ran across a photo of me wearing it, He was only ten but we wore the same size. He was big for his age.

The year we moved back to California, LP was 5. My mom supplied us with  some pretty Georgette fabric with roses and a vintage pattern for a ball gown costume. LP was delightful as Cinderella in pink and cream. I still remember my parent’s neighbor opening her door and asking in an amazed tone,”Now where did you come from?” to which LP answered in a sweet voice “Arizona”.

 Remember the Disney version of Aladdin? I wanted to make Mijo an Aladdin costume. In what I thought was a clever move, I questioned him. “Don’t you think it would be fun to be something from that movie? Maybe the monkey?”.
He nodded gravely, “yes, I would like that.” When questioned further he announced that he wanted to be the flying carpet. No one could talk him out of it, so Mijo was a fez wearing carpet for Halloween that year. No one could guess what he was, the closest anyone came was asking if he was a curtain, but he was happy.

Today, I made an altar for the Day of the Dead. A group of us got together at Joanna’s school, we learned how to make two dishes that Yucatecos prepare at this time of the year and also created a traditional altar.

Paraphrasing a comment that Joanna made regarding having a family gathering. Many of us, expats, are far away from our own families. However, we gather together with our friends and create new ties, in effect expanding our families. I probably won’t be making costumes for my grand kids or giving out candy but I will be trying out new traditions.

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. Thank you 2ericc, I am always happy to hear that my posts are appreciated.


  2. Theresa —

    You’ve been writing a delightful heirloom collection of memories for your entire family; and they will enjoy it for many generations to come. But today your extended family just loves your writing right now. Keep it up for the sheer joy of it.


  3. Hi Billie, I remember reading a sticker or poster that said “Friends are the family you choose for yourself” and thinking it was hokey. Now I see it was true.


  4. Yes indeed, our friends in Mexico do become an extended family.

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