Halloween meets the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Faithful readers of this blog will recall earlier posts about Granada’s proclivity to be festiv(see entry on Carnaval). This has spawned a micro-culture among well integrated gringos to go full force into costume party mode (see earlier post Snakes charmers and belly dancers). This week end, we faced a convergence of Halloween and the spanish-speaking world’s Dia de los muertos. Hence a costume party on the theme of birth and death. More “event” than “party” with people travelling to Granada from various parts of the country – Ometepe island, Managua and beach towns.

The local funeral carriage heralded the beginning of festivities by going down Granada’s main street. The somber, glass panneled 1850’s carriage is a working carriage – it is not just used for halloween, but all the time, followed by slow walking processions to Granada’s grand cemetary.

This time around, we were given an “acting role” in the party as the greeters, setting the tone by delivering swigs of “death juice” (orange, pineapple, grenadine, rum, seltzer water) through 2 foot long pastic tubing and asking incomers to write down 1) how they are going to die and 2) how they want to be reincarnated.

This preceded costumed party goers CRAWLING through a very narrow (and somewhat claustrophobic) tunnel made to replicate the “birth channel”, replete with the live screams of the delivering mother and prompting doctor to “push… push…”. Nayeli, our German friend, found her calling and proceeded to “deliver” about 50 people in full throated screams of labor over a two hour process.

There was an “insane asylum” room, replete with electric chair, strobe lights, pre-recorded sound tracks of messages about societal insanity, a traveling reaggae-ish band and a theatrical piece by Warren, party organizer extraordinaire.

Our costumes were conceptually good, but lacked dramatic impact! As sandwich boards, with birth on one side and death on the other, Peta’s board reflected birth of our new life in Nicaragua (Humidity, beach week ends, CO2 Bambu, La Prensa newspaper, Selva Negra organic foods etc…) and “end” to our prior life in Chicago (i.e. farewell to snow, aerospace jobs, traffic jams, New York Times…). Ben’s board reflected birth and death in global news.

Here are some of our favorite costumes:

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