Halloween in Costa Rica

…doesn’t really exist. Not in the way we gringos are used to seeing it, that is. Where we come from, decorations can rise to the level of an artform, and the single evening has evolved to the point where the only thing people really want to do is scare the crap out of each other.

All in good fun, of course.

In Costa Rica, 31 October is known better as (El) Noche de las Brujas (Witches’ Night). While that sounds quite a bit cooler than “Halloween” (I still prefer the more archaic “All Hallows’ Eve”), it’s not really observed here, which is a shame.

Now, I have to say that I didn’t really get to experience what was done all that much. Friday evening seemed to be a confluence of a variety of things, including payday (which for some reason that I haven’t figured out yet seems to wreak havoc on traffic) and the end of the month. A normal 30-minute commute turned into a near-hour and a half on the road. A bit much, if you ask me.

Anyway, by the time I got home, the bulk of the event was already over. One of the mother’s at our complex arranged a bit of a near-parade for the children here (there’s a lot more under the age of 5 than I expected), around the lago that sits in the middle of our collected group of condo buildings. Tiki torches lit the way, and a few “stations” doled out candies.

The parade had long since ended by 19:00, and the remaining kids were on the grass just outside of our building, eating candy and/or staring at the parents as if to say: “Alright, now what I am supposed to in this outfit?”

The costumes were pretty simple, considering most of the kids were pretty young. The most elaborate was a young girl (she couldn’t have been much more than six months older than Mi Pequeña Niña) in traditional Spanish flamenco attire. Alex had found a little fairy princess outfit for MPN that gave her little wings, a tutu, and a magic wand.

Had MPN been in Calgary, she’d have been in a parka.

Okay, yes, mild exaggeration.

Most of the other kids looked like they were having fun, though I think the parents were getting more of a kick out of it than their children. Another amusing point — almost all of the others were Spanish-speakers, largely Argentinian (we think — there’s a lot of them in the complex). Alex and MPN were the only gringos in the group.

Out on the streets, there wasn’t a costume to be seen anywhere. In Calgary, you’d drive home 40% slower, keeping a wary eye for Spiderman, the current pop stars, pirates, and the like, any of whom might dive in front of your car at any moment. In a way, I miss that.

I also missed the pumpkin. I couldn’t find one here (and I did look). They don’t really have them in Costa Rica. Though you could use a squash … but it just ain’t the same (or size). Not like the monster pumpkins we could get back in Ontario, anyway.

Well, that’s another changed event down here. Can’t wait to see how Christmas fares, now that nearly every place we go not only has their Christmas display out, but decorations too. Lights and music can’t be far behind…