Halloween is not celebrated in Costa Rica. There is no trick or treating and kids don’t dress up in costumes. I think part of this is because it is considered either a pagan or even “gringo” holiday, but I bet a huge reason is that Halloween has been commercialized to the point that it is an expensive, ecological nightmare, which goes against the Costa Rican culture of sustainability.
As such, I was not expecting for us to celebrate Halloween this year while we are living in Costa Rica, which was a bummer because Halloween is even a bigger holiday than Christmas for our family. I was therefore thrilled when we got invited to a Halloween Party at the Monteverde Butterfly Garden. There were games (bobbing for oranges, marshmallows-on-a-string, Franken-toy creations) and lots of food that the guests brought to share. I was in charge of the “creepy touch” table which I enveloped in a Dungeons and Dragons theme to please Kara and Tristan. The kids (blindfolded!) touched the entrails of a goblin king (cooked spaghetti with pomodoro sauce), the hearts of fallen warriors (canned peaches in pomodoro sauce), fairy teeth (feed corn), and orc eye balls (peeled grapes). The kids went trick or treating to the different gardens and had a great time. I was glad to see that both expat and Tico children participated.
Those who wore costumes made them at home, including our kids. There is no Target or Walmart or Halloween Superstore here! So Kara assembled an 80’s girl outfit and Tristan dressed up as a ninja spy. I dressed up as an Eladrin cleric who owned an apothecary (hence all my creepy “ingredients”). The kids used reusable grocery bags for their “trick or treat” bags. I was so happy to celebrate Halloween with very little expense and waste. We all had a lovely time. Thank you Bryna and David for putting this together!
- How Halloween is celebrated in Costa Rica (lachozadelaurel.com)
- Who Needs Halloween? Creepy Costa Rican Lore (naturelandings.com)