We don’t have Halloween here in Costa Rica. It’s still considered a pagan holiday from America. I’ve noticed that the Fanta (soda pop) company has put up billboards with silhouettes of bats and jack-o-lanterns, but nothing over the top spooky. It’s just not accepted here. Some of the grocery stores dabble in selling pumpkins, but there aren’t many sold, even fewer carved, and most people only buy them as a novelty… secretly wondering how to eat the thing. We bought 3 mini pumpkins to decorate the coffee table at home, and that is the entirety of our Halloween festivities.
I have to say, it’s really nice not to have that pressure anymore. I don’t have to create a costume for each kid, with the ever-increasing pressure to out-do my last years’ creations. I don’t have to buy any candy for greedy monsters and sugar-high superheros. I don’t have to man the front door and sweat it out, hoping that my stash of goodies lasts until the last group passes by. And I don’t have to chase my kids around an over crowded harvest celebration, trying to keep their fairy wings and wigs in place while they bounce through the carnival games and “jumpy house”. My kids only know what Halloween is from watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” and from the pictures that families post on Facebook of their kids at harvest parties and church pumpkin parties. The whole holiday is kind of on the perimeter of our awareness, but no one really cares. I’m happy about that.
The one new, imported “holiday” that I got a kick out of last year was “Black Friday”. Even though Costa Ricans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, somehow the concept of Black Friday sales appeared in malls all over the country just last year. But I thought it was funny that often the prices were not actually SALE prices and the Black Friday Sales lasted until the following Monday or Wednesday, no biggie. So the concept is slowly catching on, just not the actual DETAILS of the “holiday”.
And I have to say, I hope it never catches on like it has in America. Black Friday has become very frightening to those of us not obsessed with shopping. I just can’t fathom the emotional rush that a sale can ignite in people. The obsession to possess has in actuality possessed the obsessed! But for Costa Rica’s sake, I hope it never gets as out of hand as it has gotten in America. I hope they never make “Black Friday” a real holiday here… nor Halloween for that matter. We are better off without the stress and hype of both of those imported holidays. But I won’t object if someone sends me their left over Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Butterfingers.