Trick-or-treating and Halloween parties were some of the similarities between students’ various Halloween traditions. Each student interviewed also had their own unique traditions, such as haunted basements, scarecrow chili and making ofrendas.
Street markets selling sugar skulls for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), is what Shantall Morales, a sophomore from Mexico majoring in psychology, said she pictures when thinking about Halloween. “I love, love the sugar skulls and the chocolate skulls,” Morales shared with a smile.
“My favorite memories are going to fairs and markets and buying all you need for the ofrendas competitions.”
According to Morales, ofrendas are offerings to ancestors. Someone gathers items their ancestors loved and sets these items out for them at their grave. At school, she said they had competitions where students made ofrendas for celebrities that had died and there were prizes for the best display.
Morales said, like other celebrations in Mexico, “There has to be dancing, there has to be music and there has to be families gathering together.” She said there are many dances put together by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for youth in the area to attend.
She added some areas of Mexico have trick-or-treating, just like the United States, but many people hand out money instead of candy to the children.
Rahel Meyer, a sophomore from Germany studying communications, said her family loves Halloween. “My family is so big on Halloween.” She shared for her family, Christmas is the best holiday, and then comes Halloween.
During Meyer’s Halloween party each year, she noted guests bring Halloween-themed food such as skeleton brownies and sausages decorated to look like fingers. Also, her family has a haunted basement. She shared how these parties bring together family and friends from around Germany. In some cases, this is the only time she can see some of her childhood friends.
Meyer said the younger generation mainly celebrates Halloween. “In Germany, we have a huge Catholic and Protestant culture, and it kind of clashes with those Celtic beliefs of Halloween.” She said Halloween is still celebrated with parties and trick-or-treating, but not so much by the older generation.
Mercedes Smith, a freshman from Utah studying business management, said her old neighborhood loved to celebrate Halloween each year.
“When I lived in Saint George, we lived on the biggest Halloween party street. People would come from all over.”
She said the houses on the street turned into haunted houses, and people scared others with chainsaws. There was also cotton candy for everyone.
She also talked about how her family would make scarecrow chili each year, which is chili with shell noodles.