Friday, December 17, 2010

Mexico City: Scenes—Halloween

I kept telling people here how nothing can equal the pageantry of Halloween in New York City. But I have to stay that the folks of Mexico City impressed me mightily. We headed down to the main square of Coyoacan, a quiet and slightly traditional neighborhood in the south of the city. And it was madness.

At first, all we could see was this.

Then the lights went on, and we saw this.

Last-minute makeup adjustments in a truck window.

That's a real person.

Traditional Mexican pan de muerto. Some are ghost-shaped.

Sand painting in an ofrenda, or altar to the dead.

More of the ofrenda.

Then a costumed motorcycle gang showed up.

At one point while we were struggling through the throng some of my friends started saying, 'It's Changoleón! Take a picture! Take a picture! He's famous.' It took me awhile to realize they were talking about the damp guy in the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Apparently Changoleón is a beloved drunk who became famous after appearing on a Mexican reality TV show. There were fears that he had died in 2006, but he's still here, hanging around Coyoacan. His name means 'monkey-lion.'

These kids won.

The strangest thing was that the shopping mall where we parked had this huge Christmas scene in the lobby. I guess without Thanksgiving to conveniently mark the division between fall and winter, Mexicans can basically start gearing up for Christmas whenever they want.

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