Halloween on a Budget: La Catrina

Growing up my family never celebrated Día de los Muertos. Late October and early November were spent preparing and celebrating Halloween, my tía Martha’s birthday, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. I didn’t learn about the wonderful traditions associated with Día de los Muertos until I got to college. I was hooked by the imagery and art, especially any take on José Guadalupe Posada’s 1913 zinc etching of la Catrina.

I realize la Catrina may not be a low-budget or low-effort costume, unless you have turn of the century clothing and hats lying around. However, dressing up as la Catrina will set you apart from all the other women dressed like sexy [insert random profession here]. As la Catrina, you won’t be showing any skin. You also won’t be just any other lazy Chicana who simply painted her face like a calaca as your costume shows much more effort. Finally, you can easily go from your average Halloween party to a Día de los Muertos event in the same costume.

Here’s how to do la Catrina:

  • Black and white face paint (I shouldn’t have to tell you what to do with it)
  • Fancy women’s clothing circa 1910 OR
  • Fitted maxi skirt and fitted long-sleeved blouse with a high collar (or a dress)
  • White gloves
  • Ankle boots (they’re in style these days!)
  • Wide-brimmed straw hat decorated with many fake flowers
  • Optional accessories: faux fur, feather boa, expensive looking earrings
  • Works best if: you’re tall and thin

If you can pull it together, send me pictures!

Upper left photo (purple hat) by Pepergrass, used under Creative Commons License.

Deportes, Fotos

Upper reserve

By the time Alfred and I got to our seats in the upper reserve section — just one row from the top — I was hot, hungry and annoyed. The score definitely didn’t help my mood. In the two and a half innings we’d missed while stuck in traffic out- and inside Chavez Ravine, the Phillies had already scored 3 unanswered runs.

I should have just stayed home, I thought. This isn’t going to be good.

Then I turned away from the game to check out the view of Downtown to the south. I changed my mind.

Same photo, different post.


Halloween on a Budget: Bumblebee Man

A few years ago, my ex dressed up as a Killa Bee* (of Wu Tang fame). He bought a bumblebee costume online (above right) and found a Wu Tang medallion. Some people thought he looked more like Bumblebee Man from The Simpsons rather than a Killa Bee.

As faithful Simpsons fans may know, the Bumblebee Man is a parody of el Chapulín Colorado and appears on Channel Ocho in Springfield.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Grey or black hoodie
  • Yellow t-shirt with wide black stripes for the bee body (if you don’t mind spending some money, you can easily find a baggy bumble bee costume like the one above)
  • Antennae (DIY with a black headband, pipe cleaners and yellow pom poms; or you could just buy some for a few dollars at a costume shop)
  • Blue/grayish wings (DIY with wire hanger and panty hose or foam)
  • Khaki or brown shorts
  • Black Converse Chuck Taylors or other black canvas sneakers
  • Pansa (beer gut) and brown skin
  • Chihuahua doll
  • Walk around saying nonsensical and grammatically incorrect Spanish phrases, such as “¡Ay, ay, ay, no me gusta!”, “¡Ay, ay, ay, no es bueno!” and “¡Ay, Dios no me ama!”

If you’d rather be a Killa Bee, you’ll need a Wu Tang medallion or pendant (try eBay).

*That’s the year I dressed up as a sunflower.


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