Truco o Trato: Happy Halloween from Costa Rica

As we were preparing to move here, one of the billions of questions floating around in my head was, “Do they celebrate Halloween in Costa Rica?” I ran out of time to research it, and ran out of room to pack a costume for Camille. So I figured we’d wing it, if it was even a holiday at all.

Turns out trick-or-treating (truco o trato) hasn’t caught on as a tico tradition. But, there are enough Americans here that Camille’s international school hosts its own Halloween party. Every family donates a bag of candy and the kids trick-or-treat from class to class. We picked up some coconut flavored hard candies at the Super Nosara, but I admit I was missing my usual Halloween candy selection (mixed bag of smarties, nerds and sweet tarts … Mmmmmmm).

Thankfully, the school rents costumes, which is handy because there is no JoAnn Fabrics here. Added bonus – all the rental money goes to support one of the local public schools.

We scoured the costume rental table a couple of weeks before the party, and Camille chose a lovely kimono. I was delighted to find some wooden chopsticks in a local mini-mart, and combined them with hibiscus flowers from our yard to decorate her hair.



We did have to get a little creative though. It’s not easy to get her hair into a bun without bobby pins, of which I had none. But we did have some jewelry wire, so I snipped off little bits of wire and bent them into homemade bobby pins, which worked like a charm.


As we were getting ready for the party yesterday, Camille remarked, “This is the least we’ve ever worked on a Halloween costume!” She’s right, but I think it turned out well!

The school was decorated with fun Halloween lights, and I loved watching the real bats flying all around us and fitting right in with the theme. Camille enjoyed trick or treating with her friends the bride and the jellyfish.



I thought I would miss Savannah’s Halloween a bit more than I did. Our neighborhood back home is a fun place for trick-or-treating; the homes are decorated beautifully and the streets are crowded with children in costume going door to door. And I certainly missed seeing our friends.

But at the school party here in Costa Rica, when the DJ started playing spooky music and Camille declared she wanted to go home, I remembered why we didn’t enjoy Halloween last year. Camille’s peers seem to be transitioning out of fun fantasy and into gore, and Camille is definitely not there yet.

So, we left the party early. The school shindig was on the 30th, and on the 31st (today) we just decided to ignore Halloween. Instead of trick-or-treating, Camille is on the couch right now with her Daddy and a sleepover buddy, and they’re watching Star Wars.

I can tell you what I do miss – some pumpkin spice coffee creamer and pumpkin beer. But instead I had to settle today for freshly made salsa and generic wheat beer, and watching the sun set over the ocean.

I’m okay with that.

One thought on “Truco o Trato: Happy Halloween from Costa Rica

  1. You will have many stories to tell as you go through the holidays there. Keep us posted and keep sending pictures.

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