I admit, we’re really not very big into Halloween. My sister and her family go all-out, planning their costumes months in advance, etc. Me? I didn’t even plan my own wedding that far in advance…so I certainly don’t do Halloween costumes.
Last Halloween, we were traveling through Mexico with friends, walking the streets of Mexico’s guitar capital on our way to one of our favorite Mexican outings of all time–a native Perepecha village. Later that day we drove to a another small village near Patzcuaro, Michoacan to experience the breathtaking celebration of Mexico’s “Dia de Muertos”(Day of the Dead), which is not celebrated in Spain. In Spain they celebrate All Saint’s Day on November 1st, which is nothing like Halloween.
This year our Halloween was all about that gawdy, American tradition.
For lack of costumes, I was happy that the girls were content putting on clothing we have along for our travels (Maiya has a gymnastics suit with her!). We found a cheap makeup kit from a supermarket nearby, which turned out to be pretty lousy. Thankfully, I still managed to come up with a butterfly face, nonetheless.
Ella was “dying” to be a vampire. We didn’t have white for the teeth…but she was satisfied, anyway. She drew her own little Frankenstein stitch marks…and I didn’t even suggest to her that they weren’t suitable for vampires. Her “cape” was a darker sarong that she tied to her wrists.
Oh, I fear the sweet simplicity of children’s expectations may soon change! But I love these years where they really don’t care what other people think. If it’s good enough for them…it’s good enough!
We read online at marbellafamilyfun.com, that the local Hard Rock Café had some fun Halloween activities. We arrived to discover that their “activities” included servers dressed in costumes (many with their bosoms hanging out), and one table where a lady made balloon characters for them, and offered to paint faces.
That Hard Rock Café meal did NOT come cheap—$70 USD to be exact. OUCH!! While it was satisfying…it certainly wasn’t a “wow.” Oh well, the girls enjoyed the atmosphere…and at least we felt like we were trying to make it a fun holiday!
Next, we walked around Puerto Banos, known as the ritziest place on this coast. There were some nice looking boats in the dock, some fancy cars, and a few men that I thought passed as Spanish drug lords (totally joking here…but they did have that movie-image). There were also a lot of high end shops that I wouldn’t last 10 seconds in. The area wasn’t very conducive to walking with kids (small sidewalks), and we didn’t find it very appealing.
Taking more advice from the Marbella Family Fun website, we drove 30 minutes to a small white Spanish village of Benhavis, where reportedly there has been Halloween activities in past years. We were not disappointed!
Policeman had blocked off the main road through town, making it into a kid-friendly walking street!
By the way…Spanish police are a LOT less intimidating than Mexican police (who carry machine guns and wear big padded bullet-proof vests)!!
Halloween isn’t widely celebrated or popular in Spain…but apparently this town had it going on! They had some jump houses for the kids…
…A small haunted house (which had fake blood on the entryways, as it turns out…so all of our jackets got “blood” on them), and little vignettes set up with someone giving a little bit of candy…
…Free face painting where I encouraged Ella to go get the lady to touch up her makeup…
Ella’s revamped vampire looked a little interesting…and she admitted she preferred the original design, better! She’s scary, either way!
They also had some organized events outdoors where they included the adults and the kids. Jared and the girls were “roped” into tug-a-war, and for awhile Jared was the lone adult trying to anchor one side full of kids, while the other side had 6+ adults, as well as kids! Eventually parents realized Jared’s plight and joined in, and his side won
They also had gunny-sack races…and I’ll tell you what…this redhead of ours is a MASTER racer. She hopped so far ahead and faster than everyone else…and she didn’t falter or look back once! She is a fierce competitor!
We noticed that kid’s trick-or-treat bags were quickly becoming filled with candy. I asked a few people where they went to go trick-or-treating, and they pointed up and down the streets. We didn’t see anyone knocking on doors…so I was a little hesitant to start…but we did, anyways. We found a small number of houses giving out candy, but most didn’t answer.
Some entryways required quite a bit of confidence from the girls!
Still not finding much candy, we decided to follow a rambunctious group of kids who had bags overflowing with candy. They knocked on a door and seemed to taunt the resident, whose head appeared for only a moment, and who never reappeared with candy. The kids finally gave up and walked away.
Ella then turned to me and said, “Truco o Trato.”
“That’s what they say here…Truco o Trato!”
“Really? You heard that? I didn’t even notice!”
Sure enough…in a minute of watching the kids, she realized what the “Trick-of-Treat” equivalent was, and she started her mission anew with confidence. The girls ended up knocking on quite a few doors, and getting a varied assortment of treats. The most successful trick-or-treating, however, came from the businesses…who were well prepared for trick-or-treaters! One restaurant owner warned us, “I put ice cream in their bags!”
What?!! Indeed…he put mini Magnum ice cream bars in their bags, which of course had to be enjoyed by all immediately.
It may have been a pricey day (when considering the expensive lunch at Hard Rock Café), but it was balanced out with great free entertainment at night, and a memorable experience that the kids will recall as their Halloween in Spain!