When we do Halloween, we try do it right(we play with the cards we’re dealt, anyway). This year no party, but I did make a scavenger hunt for the kids around the house, as there is no organised trick-or-treating in the Netherlands. They found candy I hid around the house; a witch, eyeballs, a ghost, pumpkin, etc.. They had a lot of fun and got bellies full of marshmallow rats and gummy snakes. We also carved our jack-o-lanterns; the only ones in our neighborhood! Sad, but I need to keep my dear Hallowe’en traditions alive!
And why do I look like a lunatic, spelling Halloween with an (e’e)? Well, Hallowe’en is short for ‘All Hallows Evening,’ to ‘All Hallows Eve,’ to ‘Hallows Eve,’ to ‘Hallowe’en’ There, it’s a bizarre abbreviation and I would like to keep it that way.
We found real carving pumpkins this year; last year all I found were baking pumpkins, which do just fine, but they’re really tough to carve.
Dia de Los Muertos: I like the tradition of death reminding you that life is short. Why? Because our animal instinct against seeing a dead body or skeleton is a sort of panic and aversion. By having this tradition, you intentionally create this uncomfortable aversion and it reminds you to live the life that you have, in a more pleasant way and festive way, and reasserts the idea of living your life to its fullest. Creepy tradition? Yes. But for a good reason. But also, the La Catrina makeup and costumes can be quite beautiful.
And, now for the La Catrina makeup. Who is Catrina? And what on earth does that have to do with Dia de Los Muertos?
According to Mexican Folklore, “La Catrina” —also known as death— can show herself in many different ways. Sometimes she is dressed in a rather elaborate, festive way. Sometimes she appears before us in “bare bones,” to take us away when we least expect it. Generally, however, the relationship which the Mexican people have with La Catrina, is defined by a unique set of circumstances, intimately tied with the history and culture of Mexico. Death in Mexico is thought of as a welcome guest on certain very important occasions, such as the Day of the Dead, or “día de los fieles difuntos.” As Mexicans, we believe that death, and specifically the memory of our “fieles difuntos,” which literally means “our faithful deceased,” gives us a strong sense of identity and rootedness in our culture. This conspicuous —and perennial— guest is paradoxically also associated with the joy of life in the face of the imminence and inevitability of death. We only live once and La Catrina, with her mischievous smile, pleads with us to seize the moment and through music —and perhaps a little dance—, find life’s meaning.
And now for our ’10 Steps to La Catrina Makeup’ with our beautiful model, my oldest daughter, Zoe.
1. Clean face, 2. Makeup Primer, 3. White costume makeup, applied with a little water and a flat brush, 4. White powder to seal it all in