Reverse Trick or Treating

Historically Halloween has not been celebrated here in Peru. It has only been in the past decade or so (and seems to grow each year) that people have started to dress up in costumes and recognize Halloween. However, November 1st and 2nd are holidays that have a long tradition.

November 1st in a national holiday where everyone has off of work and is knows as All Saints Day (Día de Todos los Santos). This is the day used to celebrate all the saints, usually by going to a mass.

November 2nd is known as Day of the Dead (Día de los Difunctos). This day is used to remember and honor all deceased relatives. Many people visit the graves of their dead relatives and have a family meal in the home where they may also have a picture of the deceased relative set up. A tradition that is more common among the traditional Andean culture is to prepare the deceased person's favorite food and actually take it to the cemetery where they then play music and have their family party at the cemetery to honor the deceased. 

Here in Arequipa, most people will visit the graves of their family members on November 1st and have a family meal because they all have off work and the streets around the cemetery are all shut down.

The Halloween that has been "imported" to Peru (from the US) is similar to that in the US but not as big. People dress up (adults and kids) but instead of going around house to house trick or treating, people go to the malls to go trick or treating from store to store. The amount of candy a kid ends up with is about a handful or two. 

So, since we didn't want to fight the crowds at the mall, but we wanted to have some sort of Halloween, Jaclyn and I decided to do reverse trick or treating. We made some pumpkin shaped cookies (some looked a little more like basketballs than pumpkins) and walked door to door in our neighborhood handing them out to our neighbors. We got to meet several new neighbor families that we hadn't before. We also had to explain to each house what we were doing. Since we were handing out sweets instead of asking for them, we named it reverse trick or treating. And the girls didn't care if they ended up with candy or not (we'll see about next year).