BOOO!!!!! Halloween and Day of the Dead is arguably the scariest part in the calendar year. It’s time again where witches walk the street freely, broomsticks are parked everywhere, Jack-o’-lanterns add to the mood and skeletons pop out of every dark corner.
You can’t beat them so join them! Staying with the spooky theme we have 6 things you need to know about Halloween and the Day of The Dead that will add meaning and spirit to your scaring tactics:
Day of the Dead Party at Calexico
There is an event at Calexico almost every weekend but most importantly they’ve planned a Day of the Dead themed evening party on the 2nd of November. The Vinyl Lounge, Bar and Grill is aptly named after the city of Calexico which lies on the border between California and Mexico. They dish up a hot mix of music, smells of chipotle BBQ, corn on the cob, coloured trinkets and above all, dance. This is the perfect setting for a Day of the Dead Party!
Spicing things up further, Calexico is offering the 2 winners of our Competition, an R200.00 voucher each to spend on the night. Doors open at 7 pm and will stay that way till late. Entrance is free so even if you are not a winner you will still be assured of an amazing evening. DJ Charles will be on the decks and there will be prizes for the best-dressed girl and guy. A couple of clicks are all that’s needed:
Origins of Halloween and Day of the Dead
The Celts originally celebrated Halloween about 2,000 thousand years ago. The last day of October marks the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. A time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.
The Day of the Dead originated several thousand years ago with the Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people. In contrast to the Celts, they believed that morning the dead was disrespectful. Death was natural to these peoples so the dead were treated as members of the community, kept alive in memory and spirit. During Día de Los Muertos, they temporarily returned to Earth.
The costumes worn during Halloween come from the rituals performed during the Celtic festival of Samhain. People lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts. Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.
During the Day of the Dead rituals, altars for worshipping are built. These are to welcome spirits back to the realm of the living. As such, they’re loaded with offerings—water to quench the thirst after the long journey, food, family photos, and a candle for each dead relative.
Food on the Run
Food served over Halloween highlights the transitional time of year between plenty and scarcity. Dishes mainly celebrated the harvest. Candy was funnily enough never an old traditional food. Its popularity grew only recently due to it being easily packaged and of course having huge commercial value.
You work up a mighty hunger and thirst traveling from the spirit world back to the realm of the living during the Day of the Dead. Traditional symbolic foods for the Day of the Dead include Pan de metro – sweet bread decorated with bones and skulls made of dough, brightly decorated sugar skulls and pulque – a sweet fermented beverage made from the agave sap. Don’t forget to try Calexico’s Chipotle Chicken before the party starts.
Halloween is synonymous with the likes of broomsticks, black cats, spider webs, jack-o’-lanterns, witches and bats.
The Day of the Dead features skulls and skeletons, alters, Marigolds and flowers and most importantly La Calavera Catrina – the image of a skeleton dressed in elegant women’s clothing.
Spooky Costumes and where to get them
If you’re not making your own, then you need to book your costume in advance, all the best ones go quick.
Halloween: Vampires and Goths, Steampunk, Pennywise the clown, superheroes, witches.
Day of the Dead: Dead Dolly, Voodoo Magic, Dead Bride, Skeleton costume, a Dead Mexican bandit
Where to Hire them
Online: Monster Shop, Halloween Store
Johannesburg: Scalliwags, Hollywood SA, Harlequin Costumes, Masquerade, Party Spot, Sinderella, CPS Warehouse
Pretoria: Costume Castle, Jules Costume Hire, Creative Costumes, Let’s Party
Cape Town: Kids Fancy Dress, Theatreland, Mardi
Durban: Fantasia Party World, Costume Carnival
Finally, make the most Halloween and Day of the Dead this year. Prep the office, dress up and scare someone. After all, we humans scare so easily; the sight of a big spider web gets our hair rising and the adrenaline pumping. Forget this fight or flight instinct we are born with – we’d rather dance. Adorned in black, a face full of paint, and a coloured broken umbrella, why don’t you join us at Calexico?