Halloween in Costa Rica

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Every October 31st, when people all over the world put up their disguise themselves in scary costumes and go trick-o-treating, the neighborhoods of Costa Rica mostly stay home and oppose this holiday celebrations for many reasons.

To them it seems to be a pagan outing encouraged by the Americans to increase sugar intake among little children that is harmful for their heaths. Secondly, they believe that the idea of going to some random doorsteps for candy is obnoxious, especially when all year round children are taught not to accept anything from strangers. Lastly the legends that circle these days of the year in Costa Rica, about harmful ghosts of town are enough to convince Ticos that this holiday has nothing to be joyful about.

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The grotesque myths that cloud Costa Rica have built an image that the night of Halloween is creeped by ferocious phantoms and ruthless ghosts. Among the famous ones is the legend of El Cadejos who as a punishment for his drunkenness was malformed into a giant black dog fated to roam in the country forever and haunt people who loose their selves into liquor. A similar persuasive phantom is the ghost of La Segua, a white skinned woman who stops by young men to give them a ride home and turns them into beasts once they get in. Also, a ghoul of La Mona has said to drive men crazy by a mere touch of skin. Fables like these have terrified people since a long time and therefore they desist from the Halloween festivity.

Moreover, there are days like All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day on the November 1st and 2nd respectively that are taken more seriously. Also known as the Day of the Dead, All Soul’s Day is the day when those passed away are remembered and are paid respect at church by attending Catholic masses and stopping at their graves.

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Even though Halloween is not regarded by the Costa Ricans, the American ways of celebration are slowly seeping into the communities and many have started to go along with the fun aspect of the celebrations. Hotels in Costa Rica organize special costume and masquerade parties for its tourists so they feel at home, even the high school and college students play dress up eagerly for their night parties. Homes are decorated with bloody and gory stuff like the Jack o Lanterns, which are carved pumpkin faces that are lit at night. Children are gradually attracted towards the tradition of trick or treating, sharing and watching horror stories and visiting fake set up haunted houses.

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The Americans bars and restaurants in Costa Rica have begun to make the most of this holiday. They host ghoulish parties with Halloween spirit in full swing where the best dressed contestants are awarded. This trend of capitalization has started to grow on other Costa Rican businesses as well and almost all the shops carry the traditional decors, masks, costumes and makeup as the holiday is around the corner. Freddy Kruger themed haunted house in San Pedro called the Mansion del Horror is setting a  fashion and making people scream loud as they move around its complex and daunting pathways.