Another Halloween and another time to remember our first Halloween in the U.S. Back in Cuba, it was “El Dia de los Santos” or All Saints Day on November 1st. Of course, it was a “day of obligation,” so don’t forget the mass today. And there was no candy on All Saints Day!
We had been in the U.S. about six weeks when Halloween came up on the calendar in 1964. My Uncle Orlando and family told us about the night. They suggested wearing a costume, walk around and say “trick or treat” when standing at the door.
We followed his advice and got lots of candy, especially the lady in the neighborhood who made the brownies that reminded us of the Cuban chocolate cake we had before food shortages and rationing spoiled everything on the island.
Our mother came along to help our little sister, who was dressed up as Cinderella. My brother and I went as cowboys. It was a wonderful night. My favorite part of Halloween is hearing my mother say “trick or treat.” It sounded a lot like “tree-ko-tree.” And explaining to her why there were so many “calabazas” or pumpkins.
So many Halloweens have come and gone since that night in 1964. Things changed, and then it was our sons’ turn to dress up as Indians or should I say indigenous people so no one is offended. Another year it was Dallas Cowboys about to play the Washington Redskins, another thing of the past. Or one year they just took off with their friends and came home with lots of bags full of everything. Of course, everyone remembers the morning after when all that chocolate had kids saying that they couldn’t go to school because their stomachs were upset.
Today, our Halloween is hearing about the little grandchildren going “trick treating” and watching videos and photos by phone. Last but not least, we have candy ready in case the new generation knocks on the door.
Nothing will replace that first Halloween and especially explaining so many things to our mother who was proud of my sister’s dress and had no clue of what the holiday was about.