We have always had a certain antipathy to Halloween, perhaps because of its increased commercialism in the UK, or because it is a blatant American import; sorry to all our American friends, we have not really got an anti- American phobia. The other reason we may have an aversion to Halloween is we are just old grumps.
Our attitude to Halloween was, however, severely tempered on our visit to Cusco in Peru
As darkness descended we made the short walk from our hotel to the main square. We were warned that Halloween is the real deal in Cusco but given our experience to date of a few kids coming around and annoying you with their trick or treat and commercial tacky masks we were not over expectant.
What greeted us changed all our preconceptions regarding Halloween. The floodlit square was absolutely heaving with hundreds and hundreds of children, many with their parents all sporting individual Halloween outfits. Some had gone to considerable expense to create lavish costumes but even the less well-off kids joined in the fun
We started off at Restaurant Aldea Yanapay at Calle Ruinas 415 as we had some pens that we wanted to drop off . This is an educational charity and one of its fund raising sources is this restaurant, which produces extremely good value food in a really funky atmosphere . I dare you not to try on a hat whilst you have your meal. It is really great fun and we met our first ‘Halloweeners’ as the staff took out their kids into the city.
We were advised beforehand to buy a big bag of sweets but we were totally unprepared to be swamped by hordes of good natured if somewhat earnest children, all calling out “Halloween, Halloween”, intent on capturing the ‘sweet’ reward which they triumphantly put in their little plastic pumpkin containers.
The aim seems to be to get as many sweets as possible in these containers and even the parents joined in, encouraging their children and acting as scouts for them in identifying the ‘sweet sources’
Three bags of sweets later we had had enormous fun
Americans eat your heart out this is how Halloween should be celebrated: by small kids and their parents with hand -made costumes and huge crowds.
To round of the evening we returned to Aldea Yanapay and the kids kept coming in for their sweets. Every time the staff not only gave them a sweet but a smile as well and they never showed any intolerance.