All Hallow’s Eve & Dia De Los Muertos

My Spooky Specimen Table with Pumpkins underneath

Anyone who knows me knows that I live and breathe for Halloween. It is by far my favorite holiday EVER! I feverishly anticipate every October 31st and prepare for this night by soaking in all the harvest and autumn inspired surroundings. It feels like the entire month of October is one big build up that only fuels my passion for this night/holiday. I can’t explain how or why I have this passion inside of me for one night of the year, but whatever it is – it has dug its nails in deep and over the years I have just come to accept the undeniable joy I get from the rituals surrounding All Hallow’s Eve. I have learned how to indulge my inner/eternal child by falling head first into all the pageantry and decoration and tradition that truly makes Halloween absolutely wonderful.

The Haunted Mantle Piece

This year I was lucky enough to host a “Victorian Era Eerie Haunted House” Party! Talk about a lifelong dream come true! I can’t even begin to describe how much I’ve wanted to have a blow out party dedicated to my favorite holiday. Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to make my own haunted house. For years I’ve wanted to craft a macabre headquarters filled with nothing but fog, spiderwebs, scary sounds and pumpkins, pumpkins and MORE PUMPKINS! (see October Tin5le #2) To make the scene even more perfect, the classic San Franciscan Victorian house I live in lent the perfect bones to create a spooky dwelling. I’ll admit that I got carried away with all the decorations. I know, I went overboard. But when your favorite holiday is looming and you are fulfilling a longstanding childhood dream…there is no such thing as a budget or “too much”.

The Gallery Wall of DEATH!

For the party every inch was bathed in orange light. Our drink table was overflowing with the most “deadly potions and brews”. Cob webs hung from every stationary surface and spooky ripped  gauzy cloths draped over the mantle and the staircase. My personal favorite “scene” was my specimen table filled with human body parts in bloody specimen jars and labels that I created which described each body part (example: the brain of a madman, the heart of a killer, eyes of a peeping Tom) and behind each of the bloody jars were long tapered candles that bled when you burned them! Another feature that I loved was our Creepy Gallery Wall of DEATH! I went online and found a ton of turn of  the century post-mortem photographs and also some Victorian “horsemanning” photos and printed them out and placed them all over the house to enhance our Haunted House effect.

My Halloween Costume

On top of the party decor, I decided to go all out for my costume. In the October edition of Top 5 Tingles, I dedicated one of my tingles to the authentic Calavera makeup look. I had come across a wonderful and romantic photo of some of the sugar skull makeup faces and I immediately knew then and there that I had to try out this look for my Halloween Costume.  I watched a plethora of YouTube videos and looked at a lot of photographs before trying out my own Dia Look. I’m so glad that I did my due diligence because in the end the look was fantastic and everyone seemed to really like it! I’ve always wanted to represent my Latina heritage (which has remained dormant inside of me for many, many years). One of the things that I discovered in researching these sugar skulls is how diverse each one is. There is so much room for freedom and creativity and I love looking at everyone’s different looks to see how each face can take their own direction while still remaining true to the spirit of the Dia De Los Muertos calaveras.

In fact I have to admit that I loved this makeup so much that I wanted to try out the look out again! A few days after Halloween was the official “Dia de los Muertos” (November 2, 2011). To celebrate I attended the Mission District’s annual procession with one of my co-workers and his family. They were incredibly good sports and let me do their makeup so that I wouldn’t be the only person walking around San Francisco with a face full of Mexican Skull! Their little 3-year-old son Kai is super-duper cute! I loved going to the procession with him and seeing everything through his eyes. All the colors, sounds and smells must be so magical for a child! And I was also so impressed with the general spirit of the march. There was so much positive energy floating around. What a special evening. If you haven’t already attended the Dia De Los Muertos procession, I highly recommend it! A must see for every San Franciscan. While it may sound crazy to some, I can’t wait to do it all again NEXT YEAR!!!


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