Country gets the Halloween bug from TV shows
Inspired by pirated US movies and television shows, young Cubans are turning American-style Halloween parties into the island’s latest trend.
Trick-or-treating may not have taken root, but across Cuba this weekend elementary, high school and college students were dressing up, dancing and enjoying a festivity that few knew as children.
“It’s out of the ordinary,” said 17-year-old Luis Ramos. “We didn’t celebrate it a few years ago because it wasn’t the custom. But we’ve seen it in movies and TV shows.”
The rising popularity of Halloween is one of many manifestations of the decadeslong intermingling of Cuban and US culture despite the half-century of hostility between the two countries’ governments. Cubans are immersed in US popular culture and, increasingly, US products brought by expatriates visiting family on the island. At a party attended by Ramos and friend Marilyn Alvarez in eastern Havana on Friday night, the costumes ranged from expensive imported rented outfits to handmade costumes cobbled together from items found around the house. “You can’t find everything but some people can rent an outfit to wear and others can’t manage it,” Rodriguez said. “You celebrate as you’re able to.” Yasmanni Manuel, a student at a merchant marine academy dressed as a black-clad male witch, said he was delighted to have a new reason to get together with his friends. “It’s a new trend,” he said. “It’s a beautiful party.”
COSTUMES: Cubans get ready for Halloween parties