The needler in the haystack.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nueva Halloween en Plainfield


Maritza Martinez and her sons outside her Front Street store.
Her candy was completely gone by 4 PM.
Plainfield's Front Street was mobbed from Central to Roosevelt Avenues (as was North Plainfield's Somerset Street business district) Monday afternoon as costumed Latino families and youth celebrated Halloween.

While the American custom of celebrating Halloween with costumes and 'trick and treating' may be rooted in lower-class 19th century Scottish immigrants (the Puritans were agin' it, see more here), it has been readily adopted throughout the country by the latest wave of immigrants from Mexico and countries further south.

Perhaps a thousand or so people strolled the sidewalks of Plainfield's downtown shopping district as shopkeepers handed out small candies and other treats.

Often enough, parents were costumed as well as their children. And many adult men were made up in white face paint with black around the eyes -- meant to recall not zombies (the current fad) but skulls associated with Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) ceremonies which traditionally take place overnight today (All Saints) and tomorrow (All Souls) -- see more here.




This young Roman soldier drew crowds of youngsters
passing out candy in front of his place of employment.

The costumed promenade and treating were much larger than last year. Maritza Martinez of Maritza's Boutique on East Front Street told me that she thought she was well-prepared with 400 pieces of candy on hand when the kids got out of school at 3 PM. By four o'clock she was completely out of candy. Sending one of her staff to find more ... they returned empty-handed as everyone was sold out.

While this Latino custom of trick-and-treating merchants instead of residences may not displace the older neighborhood tradition, it certainly adds an attractive and fun activity to the downtown mix.

Maybe it's time for a Halloween Parade?


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Councilman Storch and I were downtown for an early portion of the evening--downtown was thronged--it was fun to see so many children out and about, along with all the open stores. In the neighborhoods as well, there were lots of kids out enjoying the holiday, in spite of the weather!

Rebecca