Most people do not know this but Halloween is often celebrated in Colombia. Actually, the holiday is quite big. Children and adults often dress up and wear make-up. We often see employees in supermarkets, offices, banks and retail stores wearing face paint, special make-up and simple costumes.
German Trujillo Manrique mentions that it is unclear how Halloween became such a big thing in the country but this has been the case for a really long time now. Even those that are in their mid-thirties celebrate the holiday and have so much more fun than what you might initially think.
While there are many things that can be said about Halloween in Colombia, there are some unique things that can be mentioned.
Wearing Only One Costume
In Colombia there is one rule that is unwritten: you are not allowed to alter your appearance or wear a mask that completely covers your face so that you cannot be recognized. This is mainly because of the fact that there are some that use this holiday in order to commit crimes and disguise themselves. That is why it became common knowledge that you should wear just one costume and it needs to be simple enough in order to let others recognize you.
Private School Celebrations
So many secondary and primary schools are sponsoring activities and getting family members involved during Halloween for dramas, games, costume-judging, parades and many other contests. As classes take place, there are many activities included in celebrations, like preparing treats, baked goods, foods and even using coloring books. Teachers read spooky stories and you will see schools filled with witches, ghost figures, plastic spiders and various assorted monsters. Many Colombia schools participate in Halloween celebrations.
It is important to also think about the fact that Halloween is a commercial holiday. There are many merchants that are happy about the fact that Colombia celebrates. You can so easily find specials that are available for various lollipops, sweets, candies and even commercial shopping centers are going to sponsor activities during Halloween. Trick or Treat sessions are so often held.
During the special festivities held by larger commercial establishments we see parents bringing children and visiting different stores to get some candy. As an example, Cali’s larger malls can even feature around 80 shops and stores that give out candy and other treats to children.
Many different costumes can be seen all around Colombia. This includes folk costumes, animals, superheroes, queens, princesses, fairies, cartoon characters, wizards, Jedi knights, ninjas and more. Soldiers and vampires are normally not considered.
During the night you can see some celebrations held in the homes of people all around the country, usually with salsa being the music of choice. It is quite interesting to see Spiderman or Batman dancing salsa with Bugs Bunny.
If you visit Colombia, do not be surprised to see the fact that Halloween is a huge celebration. You will definitely want to be a part of it. Have patience and talk to the locals in order to see exactly what is possible so that you can enjoy it more.