Halloween on a Budget: La Llorona

I didn’t hear the story of La Llorona until I was 13. At the time, my cousins Adán and Jorge were living with us after moving back from Zacatecas. During the day, they’d work delivering roofing materials throughout Southern California. In the evening, we’d sometimes talk about what it was like to grow up in Baldwin Park and then move to Mexico right before high school. Eventually, Adán would start with the creepy stories about weird phenomena in el rancho.

Those stories were creepiest to me, because Adán swore he’d lived through the events or knew the main character personally. Adán is the one who told me about witches transforming into owls or dancing balls of fire. He’s also the first person I remember telling me about the legend of La Llorona. It was creepy, of course, but I was just glad he told me while sitting at the kitchen table and not around the campfire at Kern River.

Here’s what you’ll need to be La Llorona:

  • Black and white face paint to paint like a calaca
  • Baby powder or hair paint to lighten up hair
  • Long hair teased so it looks ratty (or buy a cheap wig and tease)
  • Flowy and dirty white dress (or a few yards of white fabric fashioned to look ghostly)
  • Works best: if you live by a river or creek and moan “¡mis hijoooos!”

An added bonus: if you dress up as La Llorona, you can save money on candy for trick-or-treaters. The little kids will run when they see you.

Photo by Rio Yañez


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