We went to a tango Halloween party last night. Some of us were talking about the small number of trick-or-treaters coming to our respective doors these days. Unless you live in a gated community, it seems like kids trick-or-treating house to house in a city is nearly extinct. Of course safety issues are valid, but in our cases the kids, parents, grandparents, all of them our neighbors, know who we are.
One person suggested that Halloween has sadly been taken over by adults. And it's true - the street is filled with costumed revelers far from childhood years. The decorations festooning the outside of homes are getting more elaborate each year, and they are hardly childlike. This year I saw an entire New Orleans style cemetery (complete with crypts and theatrical lighting) created in someone's small front yard.
I didn't put up Halloween decorations (click on images to a larger view) until yesterday when I got home from work. It was kind of fun decorating for the moment at hand. I have tons of stuff in the shed, so it was easy to haul out a couple of boxes and be ready a half hour later for trick-or-treaters.
It was a cool night, so we wrapped up and wigged out, and opened a bottle of wine and sat on the porch waiting for the kids.
Cholo looks so cute next to the giant Snoopy. This giant tacky suburban lawn ornament cracks me up!
My wicker fan chair awaits my best Morticia Adams fantasy. I love the crows! Do you use them too? A friend of mine set a whole bunch of crows out on her front lawn and the real crows had a fit, cawing and screeching until she removed them!
So I'm taking down the Halloween stuff, and thinking about making a journey to the cemetery to partake in another New Orleans tradition. I am reprinting the following post I did last year about today, All Saints Day.
Calling All SaintsOur first trip to New Orleans in 1999 coincided with Halloween and All Saints and All Souls Days. Although we are Catholic, we had never participated in the traditions of going to the cemetery on November 1.
Our friend Sabina took us to our first All Saints cemetery experience to St. Louis #1 and St. Louis #2, probably the two most famous ones since they are in The French Quarter.
We have no family grave to tend, but we go to take care of the grave of our dear departed friend Miss Anne. It's nothing really, just a little kindness that makes us feel good. The cemetery is very peaceful, and doing some little mundane chore, like sweeping off the the headstone and leaving flowers and some trinkets, is very comforting.
Our loved ones rest far way from us, so having an adopted loved one to tend to makes us feel a part of this time and place.
All over Louisiana, people are tending the graves, washing tombs, sweeping up, planting new flowers, leaving trinkets behind.
Sabina and I made a yearly visit to St. Louis #1 and # 2. We have no one there, but we visited our favorite tombs, including Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau's. You mark an X on her tomb, asking that she guide you and grant a wish in the coming year. Sabina is no longer here (she moved away after Katrina), and I just don't feel like doing this without her.
We'd also bring candles and flowers, and candy, and sometimes little bottles of perfume. I'd bring tango things too, and a personal trinket from my jewelry box.
Though it's a family thing, it is also a solemn day for the church, and the priests come to add their blessings.
It's a custom that has been going on for nearly 300 years. It takes place during the day, unlike other ceremonies in the New Mexico that take place at night.