Behind the Scene
by Randy Limbird
Editor & Publisher, El Paso Scene
Halloween used to be a fairly simple affair. Your mom would sew a costume for you or pick one up at the store, then for a couple of hours you’d go door to door stockpiling enough treats to keep your dentist employed for another year.
Halloween isn’t just an evening anymore, it’s a season. Overall, we spend more on Halloween than any other holiday other than Christmas. It’s a $9 billion industry nationwide. And if you live along the border, Halloween is just part of a multicultural festival of ghost and goblins and calaveras and catrinas. Día de los Muertos is alive and well in El Paso, with celebrations that pick up where Halloween leaves off.
Both originated in the 3-day religious tradition of All Hallows’ Eve (Oct. 31), All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2). All Hallows’ Eve morphed into Halloween, and in Hispanic culture, All Souls’ Day became Día de los Muertos — a time to honor beloved friends and family who have died (most notably with altars created for the occasion) and also to laugh at death in the face (the reason for the caricatures of skulls and skeletons).
At El Paso Scene, we’ve seen a steady growth in haunted houses, ghost tours, zombie adventures. Día de los Muertos is the more artistically oriented of the celebrations, with altars becoming increasingly creative and costumes more elaborate. Added to the mix are cornfield mazes and other harvest-themed festivals (often held by churches as “non-scary” alternatives to spookier Halloween offerings).
This issue has nearly three pages of such events, beginning on Page 6. If you hate Halloween and all its related hoopla, you can’t avoid it just by going to the movies or hiding in the bedroom on the night of Oct. 31 and waiting until the trick-or-treaters go home. You’re stuck with Halloween and its offshoots until it’s time to plan Thanksgiving dinner.
But there are many other people who would prefer to celebrate Halloween year-round. Their opportunities to dress up and pretend are on the upswing in the El Paso and Las Cruces region. Our feature story this month is about the various ways people can escape from reality, including escape rooms, cosplay, play-along movie nights and special events like El Paso Comic Con and the Renaissance ArtsFaire.
* * *
Another way to escape is to “Hike Through Time Up Cristo Rey,” the annual event El Paso Scene sponsors each fall. This year’s event is Saturday, Oct. 13. Details are in the listing on Page 5 and our ad on Page 24. No reservations required, just show up at 8 a.m. To get there, take NM 273 (McNutt Road) north from West Paisano or south from Sunland Park Drive. Look for the sign to Mt Cristo Rey and take Mt. Cristo Rey Road about one mile to the trailhead parking lot. Security will be provided. I will be your host, and give some commentary on the history and geography of the area, and on the monument itself. Cost is $3 ($1 for children). All proceeds go to maintain the mountain’s trails and the monument itself.
* * *
Déja vu? It’s not your imagination; El Paso Scene ran similar covers last month and this month, with a prickly pear cactus in the foreground, and the mountains and river in the background. Last month was Steve Hastings bright, stylized painting. This month is Lisa Matta Brown’s fall-colored variation on that theme.
Here's the Ticket
Southwest Art Scene
At the Museum
Keep on Bookin'
Copyright 2018 by Cristo Rey Communications.