Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Reprise

We were ready for Halloween kids at our house!

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 Saints

Our 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.


my favorite and my best said...

great post. i love the last minute decor. i'd love to see the outside of your house from across the street, i.e. the whole thing. do you have a pic somewhere on your blog??

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh sweetie,
I so loved your decorations. I especially loved the large Snoopy, as I am a big fan of Charlie Brown characters. Your critter looked precious next to him. How sweet.

I too love the crows. I only had 1 this year, but have decided to add more next year. Your over decorations were just beautiful, and so creative, for only 30-45 minute set up. You are awesome. I am a little slower I am afraid, but I so loved your decorations.

We had about 130 kids pass through, and we noticed too, that some looked a little old to be out trick or treating. Adults, come on!

Thank you for sharing the All Saints and All Souls day with me. I loved the tour and the explanation, as I was not realy familiar with this tradition, although I had heard of it. I thank you for sharing with me today. Loved the pics of the cemetary and headstones as it is always so peaceful there, don't you think? I loved it.

Happy November sweetie. Country hugs, Sherry

Carey said...

That's SO funny about the crows protesting so fiercely that your friend had to remove the fake crows from her front yard! We have loads of crows in our neighborhood, so I'm going to buy some impostor crows and see what happens here:)

p.s. does Cholo have the cutest face in the world or what.

Crystal @ Plush Palate said...

So happy to have just found your blog :)

xo, Crystal

Anonymous said...

MizV - The print at the bottom of this piece, I love it! Where might one find a copy? - Mrs. Robinson

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

A tango Halloween party? Now I can honestly say I have never been invited to one of those!

That is the way we do halloween...about 1/2 hour before it gets dark! Perfect!

Cholo is adorable!

Visual Vamp said...

Via e-mail from a regular reader:

There are so many things to say about this wonderful post!! I love the whole NOLA All Saint's Day history. I have always wanted to spend Halloween in the Quarter. Someday I will!!! I'm so sad y'all don't get many Trick-or-Treaters. We don't either, but two blocks over there are always BILLIONS. All the houses do special things. Several set up elaborate haunted houses, special treats like cauldrons of "Hot Wheels", and really cool special effects. One house sets out several 'real coffins (even a very creepy infant's) that they leave the goodies in. They always give out REALLY good stuff, if you're brave enough to venture into their morbidity!!! Families drive from all over, and IT IS FUN!! We always take the golf cart and the kids have a ball!!! So do we. As adults we know who has the adult refreshments, so we strategically (sp??) plan our routes! Lastly, Cholo looks sssssoooo serious! It cracks me up! Do you ever watch the "Gilmore Girls"? There is a very serious dog on the show, and Cholo reminds me of him! Love it! It looks like y'all had so much fun!
xxx kim

Visual Vamp said...

Hi all,
To answer you Mrs. R. about the print. I found the image on Google Images last year. Don't think the resolution would be high enough to print it.
And Kim, loved your note. Yes Cholo gets a serious look when the camera comes out! He has been a model since he was a baby, and now at three years of age he is an old pro. But I need to teach him the Tyra Banks trick of smiling with his eyes, you know "the smize".

xo xo

Donna Maher said...

Aww, Val, you're Halloween Decos look nice. I hope you had fun. Thanks for the reposting of last year's article. If I was there with you, I would visit Marie Laveau with you. I wish that you were closer to Albuquerque where our daughter is buried. I know you would decorate her headstone beautifully.

glamoursmith said...

We were in NOLA for Halloween and I hoped we could meet you. We had such a wonderful time, and have fallen in love with the city all over again.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I know that your posts that I am commenting on are a bit random but this one made me think about the 3 years I lived in Germany.
Is is known as Allerheiligentag.
The German people are master gardeners and create elaborate designs on the graves with stones, shells, and other floral and fauna. It was a true work of art that alas I have only photos of in my mind.