There is a Mexican Spanish phrase that I like to use and today it seems more appropriate than ever because it is both literal as well as figurative. The phrase is "Ya está la calabaza". The literal translation is "The pumpkin is already in place" and the the figurative meaning is "Everything is all set", or "It's ready to go", or as George W. Bush might say, "Mission Accomplished".
Over the weekend I bought several jack-o-lanterns made from "barro" (clay or terracotta) and gave them to my wife, Gina, as a surprise. Judging from the amount of hugs and kisses that I received in return it was a good move. You can see "calabazas" in the photo below. One thing that I noted is the difference that exists between Mexican Halloween Pumpkins and Gringo Halloween Pumpkins. In Mexico all of the jack-o-lanterns and ghosts and goblins and monsters, etc., are very happy. This is in contrast to the menacing grimace that you see on many of the Halloween creatures in the U.S.
When I first came to Mexico there was no sign of Halloween but little by little thanks to Walmart and the Chinese, the spirit of Halloween crept over the land. Many older people are still afraid that Halloween will supplant "El Día de Los Muertos" (The Day of the Dead) but I don't think that will happen. The Mexican people are very clever and they have found a way to adapt Halloween to their own culture and by doing so I think they have enhanced their traditional activities and made a nice holiday even longer and better, especially for kids. The kids just love Halloween. I know because I did when I was a kid, so why not?
So, are we really all set for Halloween? Not quite, but we will be by the time our bell rings and the children shout...
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