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Shakespeare slept here!

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Halloween Eve: Madrid, 1975

Wendy . Blog Shakespeare slept here! Published 30 October 2009

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In 1975 Halloween hadn’t yet arrived in Madrid. Only the foreigners, the ex-pat community celebrated this childhood classic at private parties and bilingual schools. Halloween costumes and decorations were nowhere to be found. October 31st was the eve of All Saints Day, and that was that.

The film “Halloween” appeared a few years later. And then in 1982 a little extra-terrestrial named E.T. joined a group of trick-or-treaters and the world took notice: Steven Spielberg introduced Halloween to Spanish children. E.T. was surrounded by children in costume who had parties and went “trick-or-treating”. What fun! And they were on the big screen!

Over the last 30+ years Spanish children have seen more and more of Halloween in films and TV shows. And now Halloween is celebrated at schools. Whole aisles are devoted to witches costumes and draculas, pumpkins and Halloween décor at the local stores and supermarkets. It’s hard to ignore. Children demand to celebrate Halloween. The older generation don’t really approve.

Well, let’s get back to October, 1975. Girls had to be home at 10 pm. The Serenos patrolled every block. Things were pretty quiet and controlled. And we were going to have a Halloween party at my apartment! We were young! We didn’t realize that there could be any objection to this. Who could possibly care? Well, there were objections and not from the neighbors calling about too much noise. No, this party was stopped before it started. Someone from the Embassy called to say that more than 3 people at a time could be considered a political act, that wearing costumes was not acceptable either. Franco was terminally ill at the time, and our little party would not be appropriate.

Wendy

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Comments (2)
david (not verified)
5 February 2016 12:29 pm Reply

Luckily times have changed. My mum was in college by that time, and she told me everyone had their things packed, in case Franco died, because there would be three? days of mourning and they could go home and visit their families.

EMiLiO (not verified)
5 February 2016 12:29 pm Reply

In my hometown, Melilla, we still have a statue of Franco, I think it's the only one remaining in Spain...

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