Pumpkin’d out? Think Day of the Dead instead…
If you’re a bit pumpkin’d out – or just had enough of spiders – then Mexican boutique Casita Bonita has the perfect solution. Out with Halloween – in with The Day of the Dead.
Now, it might not sound that different on the surface – Halloween is about ghosts and that, right? And ghosts are dead, right? But there is way more to it than that.
Day of the Dead is actually 3 days – 31 Oct to 2 Nov – and it’s a time to get together with family and friends to pray for and remember those you’ve loved and lost. In some parts of Mexico, they also believe that during that time the souls of the departed are given permission to visit the living – so you need to make your home ready and welcoming for when they arrive.
If know anything about Day of the Dead at all, it’s almost certainly the brightly-painted skulls that are such a feature on the altars that families prepare and in all the celebrations.
But then there’s the food. If pumpkin pie isn’t your thing and you’re after something a bit different, you’re in luck. There’s always food involved, and plenty of it – black beans, corn on the cob, fruit, desserts and calaveras – skulls made of iced sugar.
The big dishes, though, are muci pollo – a spicy tamale made with chicken, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an underground oven – and pan de muerto, a butter bun decorated with sticks meant to look like bones. (You’re getting the whole skeleton vibe, right?) And the dead like to drink, too – tequila, mezcal, rum or hot chocolate.
Think you’d miss the whole dressing up thing? Not a problem. Just dress up like a skeleton and pop your mariachi (gents) or catrina (ladies) costumes on, get some seriously macabre make-up going, and head out to party!
Brett and Amy at Casita Bonita have all sorts of bits and bobs to get your party looking the part, too – not least of which are their top tips for hosting a deliciously different Day of the Dead party this year…
1. Put those pumpkins away – it’s all about colourful skulls. Decorate your house with these beauties and stand out from the creepy crowd.
2. Witches? So last year… Make a statement as a catrine or a catrina. If you’re a catrina, think long elegant dresses, flowers in your hair and great big hats. Catrine? Top hat and tailored suit. So much classier than a raggedy old witch costume. And don’t forget – the detail is all in the make-up!
3. Don’t just nosh on the kids’ Haribo. Cook up some Mexican food, dig that bottle of tequila out from the back of the cupboard – or, better still, go and buy a new one! – and get inspired with some tequila-based cocktails.