This isn’t the 1st time I’m writing about my Halloween adventures, and it won’t be the last, but this past one was a milestone as the 20th year my barkada has celebrated together. It started when we were in school, young girls wanting to dress up and get some candy. I wasn’t present for all the parties, but every time I went, it was a unique experience that I’ve counted as some of my most treasured times with my girlfriends.
I’ve loved this holiday since Trick or Treating around the village with my sister and our neighbors, but I only started putting more effort into the costumes since this set of friends began the tradition. Carmel’s family has hosted us in Ayala Heights from the very 1st, and has continued to do so even when she lived in other countries for years at a time. We’d assemble early in the afternoon and do our preps together, then once the sun had set, we’d hit the streets for some candy – both visual and edible. Walking around let us enjoy the creepily decorated houses and encounter other kids in a variety of garb. They went inside the Haunted House once, but I was absent that year… and thank God!
Initially, we came in whatever we wanted, so it was as random as one dressed as a troll doll, and me as a wicked witch. In our later years after college, we decided to kick it up a notch by coordinating our outfits. Some of the most memorable were when we came as a bunch of geeks, favorite childhood figures, United Nations, and a box of crayons. Much older, we had also stopped Trick or Treating, but doled out the treats to the kids that came by “our house.”
Now that some of us have children, the themes have become more complicated to execute, and the kids now have ideas of their own. That means we’re back to being a hodge podge of personae, and it feels like a new tradition altogether. I love that we’ve passed on the joy of Halloween to their generation, and it was so heartwarming to see them helping pass out the snacks to the visitors this year.
This year, with the freedom to go as anyone or anything, and the limited time I had to prepare, I decided to go as the budding musician, Miguel, from Coco. Seemed easy enough because he just wore a dark pair of jeans, a white shirt, and a red jacket. I had 2 red hoodies to choose from: one was plain but had garterized edging, the other had a graphic design in the front , but had a silhouette more similar to the cartoon’s. The latter seemed to be the better choice, and I opted to wear it wrong side out, making a conscious effort to conceal traces of the logo with my Spanish guitar.
I didn’t have the time to go out and buy face paint, so I had Googled DIY white coverage with only cornstarch and moisturizer; but as luck would have it, another colleague of mine came as Miguel at our therapy center’s activity with the kids, and she let me have whatever she used. With that and a couple other makeup products I knew I had at home, I was set. Without a trial, and just enough time to get ready after work on Wednesday, I knew I’d be able to pull it off. Watch the video if you want to see exactly how I did it, and how it turned out.
It was so satisfying to be accurately identified by both kids and adults, even from afar (though many of them said, “Coco!” instead of Miguel ? I rolled with it). Some ran up to me waving excitedly, and so many asked for a photo. Others jokingly asked me to sing Remember Me, and it was so much fun seeing their reaction when I actually did. One of the girls looked like she was gonna cry while taking a video. ?
When we’re out of candy, and the hordes of people slow to a trickle, we head back inside for late dinner. Carmel’s mom makes a mean egg salad, so we used to request for it all the time. Now, she knows to serve it without preamble. ? This is also about the time we take better group photos, since it’s always so dark outside. In the past, we’d have drinks and stay til past midnight, but with the kids in tow, we’ve had to retire earlier in more recent years.
Halloween may be many things to different people. Some warn that its origins as a pagan celebration means that taking part is heresy. I’ve even heard the more ridiculous allegation that donning costumes is tantamount to abandoning your God-given identity and soul. Wew. Overthinking much? (For those worried about how it reflects on the faithful, these articles from the History Channel and a Dominican Priest may assuage misgivings).
Personally, this holiday has always given me a better sense of community. It’s a day when people let me into their homes, I can unabashedly greet and giggle with total strangers, and have good, old fashioned fun walking around with friends. It will always be linked to such fond memories of comfort food and even more comfortable company, a little bit of creativity, and plenty of laughter. It is because of these that I raise my pumpkin-spiced cocktail and say cheers to many more years of celebrating this spooktacular holiday. ??
Disclaimer: free wallpapers and screenshots from the Disney Pixar website and movie, Coco. No copyright infringement intended.