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Halloween. I have never been a huge fan of the holiday, but here in Juarez it’s a pretty big deal and people get really in to it.  The Consulate has a big Halloween party every year and all the employees bring in their kids for trick-or-treating.* The warehouse guys set up a terrifying spook alley and every office or section decorates their area and has a table with candy and treats. It’s super fun and so so cute to see all the kids in their costumes.  This year there were a LOT of Spiderman costumes, a couple of really cute mermaids, a tiny Khaleesi, and an even tinier Mike and Sully from Monster’s Inc. I didn’t dress up for work, but one of my fabulous coworkers had brought a bunch of props so I grabbed a few and threw together a last minute costume.

After work, I spent a few hours trying to figure out what I was going to dress as for the crazy, Juarez-wide Halloween party I went to with a bunch of friends. Most of my friends were going together as a a group of sexy female mariachis. Somehow I missed the invite for the group costume, though, so I had to come up with something on my own. Seeing as I’m an ex-theater nerd I almost always have some costume-y things laying around the house and even though most of my stuff is in storage, I did mange to ship one gigantic box full of costumes etc. I wanted something really really easy this time. I hate spending money for Halloween and I didn’t want to have to buy anything for the costume, especially as I didn’t really even start thinking about it until T-minus 3 hours from the start of the event.

When I pulled my old cheerleading outfit out of the box (complete with pom poms and matching scrunchy!) I knew that was a good starting point. I could have just been a cheerleader and called it a day, but I wanted to somehow incorporate Mexico into the costume.  I started googling like mad and racking my brain trying to figure out how to add a touch of Mexico to my pretty ubiquitously American cheerleader costume. And then it hit me: a calavera Catrina! Luckily, I had leftover white make up from last year’s Labyrinth couple costume, so I did a google image search, found a classic style that I liked, and got to work. It turned out great and thanks to my awesome face-stay-spray, it stayed on all night even when I forgot about it and scratched my cheek. The party was awesome: great location, good music, good drinks, AND my sexy mariachi friends won the costume contest! Hooray!

I don’t think Halloween will ever be a holiday that I look forward to all year, but it’s good to know that even at my laziest, I can still manage to pull of a great costume. Next Halloween I will be back in DC, just days before my final Arabic exam and my move to Doha. Hopefully I’ll be able to kick back and enjoy the holiday a little bit, but I already foresee another lazily planned costume. Calavera Congressional Intern? Calavera Martha Washington? Vamos a ver…


*Trick-or-treating here is different than it is back in the U.S. At work, the kids don’t  say anything when they came to the candy booths, we just give them candy and tell them how cute they are. But if you are lucky enough to get trick-or-treaters at your house, they come in gigantic groups and they stand on your porch and chant “queremos jalowin!” (literally: “we want Halloween!”) until you open the door and give them candy. I kind of love it. I always wondered why we say “Trick-or-Treat” when clearly we just want candy, so to me, queremos jalowin really gets across the message that Halloween = candy. There’s no pretense. There is no pretending like there’s another option. Just give us the candy and we’ll get off your porch.