Mixing Themes

I love Halloween. Dressing up, scary stories, and candy. It’s a great holiday. This year, I was determined to celebrate it with my very own party.

Brown dog with an eyepatch and a knitted parrot
Melba was not entirely enthused with her costume.

At the very least, I needed an excuse to follow the advice of just about everyone who has met Melba and dress her up in an eyepatch. The picture above sums up her feelings towards eyepatches. Parrot, fine, but the eyepatch got shaken off pretty quickly.

A friend had already announced a party the weekend before Halloween, so I set my party for the weekend after, and, because Friday was the Day of the Dead, I threw caution to the wind and made it a Halloween and Día de los Muertos party.

multicolored banner
A little color.

From a cultural anthropology standpoint, I don’t know that that’s quite ahem kosher. Halloween has a lot of cultural syncretism going on already (definition: it’s a cultural mashup), and throwing one more cultural tradition in there has the potential to result in some awkwardness. And, of course, there is the fact that people of European descent have a long history of going “ooh!” and then going “mine!” and generally appropriating pieces of other peoples’ cultures whether that’s ok with the people or not. And I’d rather not be the latest example of that.

Ofrenda with sugar skulls and Katrina
This was the part I was unsure of.

And really and truly, I didn’t mean to appropriate cultures. I will admit to having a weakness for pan dulce, but what I wanted to do (aside from dressing my dog up) was make an ofrenda. The bit that has gotten lost in the shuffle that resulted in the Halloween I grew up celebrating is the part that comes after celebrating the ghouls and witches, and after celebrating the Hallows: celebrating the ordinary people that are no longer with us. That celebration remains central to Día de los Muertos, and that’s the bit I wanted. Not everyone I love is still here with me, and I wanted to have something to show them that even while we’re dressing up and being silly, we still remember and miss them.

I hope it was ok.

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