Halloween is October 31st. Day of the Dead is November 2nd. The only relationship between the two is their proximity in the Catholic calendar. Halloween is the eve of All Saints' Day (All Hallows' Eve), and the Day of the Dead is All Souls' Day. Despite the common Christian element, the two celebrations come from two very different cultures. However, much to the chagrin of Mexican traditionalists, just as Santa Claus and Christmas trees have infiltrated Christmas in Mexico, Halloween customs from north of the border have seeped into the Day of the Dead observance.
This morning I took the Metrobus from Alejandro's house to the nearby Walmart.
As I entered the store, the first thing I saw was "pan de muerto", the traditional bread of the dead which is only sold this time of year.
The bakery section was decked out with "papel picado" (cut paper) decorations that are also traditional for this time of year.
But even more prominent was the Halloween section with plastic jack o'lanterns, children's costumes and other assorted stuff... probably all made in China.
Walmart's slogan for the season is "Live a Monstrous Halloween!"
You can continue on to the produce section and pick out a pumpkin for carving into a jack o'lantern. Some of the pumpkins look rather alien to the eyes of those from north of the border.
Even though Halloween / Day of the Dead are still two weeks away, the Christmas merchandise has already made its appearance.