Halloween 2012 came and went with little celebration. In fact, Phillip and I spent the day in perhaps the place the least likely to celebrate Halloween, Lourdes – a haven for Catholic pilgrims looking for a miracle from sweet Saint Bernadette Soubirous. And this year, a more strenuous work schedule than last year threatened to cut the festivities short once again. But after a bit of dumb luck and poor planning (a key skill to possess when your job relies largely on an ability to schedule the calendars of many important people), I found myself organizing a dinner party with my housemates on the 31st.
What a feast! My hostess duties extended little beyond sending out a hesitant invitation, and with no efforts on my part to coordinate any part of the meal, we ended up with five separate entrées, each stacked one on top of the other (and each delicious). A marathon dinner, for our final sprint we obligingly chomped our way through two of Phillip’s Mississippi sweet potato pies. It all clashed quite spectacularly with my spontaneous and stupidly simple costume choice: French woman – black blouse, black pencil skirt, black stockings and black heels. I plopped a beret on my head and shoved a ballpoint pen between my middle and index fingers (a self-proclaimed “very clever and socially relevant” nod to the modern Parisienne, who wishes to curb her glamorous smoking habit à la clopinette). My glass of wine and heavy eyelids after a long week of work truly made the look.
We anticipated trick-or-treaters, but were only visited once throughout the evening – a disappointment, as I had some a couple dozen horrible mango lollipops covered in a thick layer of chili powder (a popular Mexican confectionery) that I really wanted to clear out of my cupboards. Having been paid no visits by vagrant ghouls, the creepiest moment of the night came when sorting through the house mail and finding this special offer in the stack (limited time only!).
The following night, I was invited back upstairs to partake in another autumn celebration, Día de los muertos, with a housemate originally from Mexico City. She had made a beautiful altar in the living room to pay respect to deceased family, pets, friends, as well as favorite authors and artists by posting their photos and putting out their favorite foods and drinks – pears, pineapple, bananas, chocolates, red wine, and tequila. We drank rose tea and ate pan de muertos, a sweet bread shaped to look like a pile of bones. It was really a treat to be able to celebrate these two holidays this year!