Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Myths

And a special treat for all you youngsters at heart.

During my many years of travel, I was presented opportunities to visit sights off the beaten path. Did you know that just south of Mexico City, between the urban sprawl and the farming region known as Xochimilco lie an ancient lake and canals. A semi-popular tourist attraction, the only way to travel through the canals is by trajinera, like the gondolas of Venice. There is much to be seen on a trip through the canals: swamps, islands covered with exotic plants and trees, and wildlife. There is one place on the canals, however, that is not on the regular route of the trajinera. You can hire one to take you there for about $100.
There is a small, isolated island in the vast, complicated maze of the canals. As your boat approaches the island, across the deathly still water, you cannot help but feel a sense of dread. Twisted, old trees with gnarled branches line the shore, but there is something very sinister about them. As you move closer, you notice that there are faces…hundreds of faces among the branches, staring back at you with dead eyes. Closer, and you see that they are children’s faces, infants with missing limbs, blistered faces, covered in cobwebs, nailed or lashed to the trees with rusted wire. Welcome to La Isla de Las Munecas: The Island of the Dolls.

Some of the dolls have decomposed over time. Damage from the sun has left many covered in blotches and blisters. The wind and rain have eroded any painted surfaces, and left their hair in ragged tufts. Many are missing limbs, or have been given limbs that are not their own. Some are headless. Some are only heads. Some have become the home to spiders and insects that inhabit the island. They are nailed to trees, wired to branches, hung from clothes lines, and jammed into knotholes and between branches. Some of them have smiles, melted by the tropical heat, into grimaces. Some have lost their eyes, or, even more disturbing, have eyes that flutter open in the breeze.

Some days there are visitors to the island, an average of about 20 per day. Some days there are none. All are greeted by one of the relatives of Don Julian, who act as caretakers of the island. There are some, however, who are convinced that the dolls themselves come to life at night to take care of their island home, since Don Julian passed away in 2001. Some even believe that Don Julian has joined the little drowned girl as a permanent resident of the island. Whatever they say, and whatever you believe, it’s hard not to agree with those who claim that La Isla de Las Munecas, The Island of the Dolls, is the Creepiest Place on the Planet.

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Halloween -tips and tricks

This is it. The spookiest time of year has arrived.  Many communities have Halloween activities planned. The hours for trick or treating for your community are usually posted on the town’s website, and if you haven’t looked yet, do it now! There are events scheduled for schools, local malls, parks and recreation centers. Usually, the hours for these events are early evening, to keep from interfering with school schedules. It’s time to make your plan for a safe and happy Halloween.

Here are some tips for the youngsters:

1. Choose age appropriate events for your trick or treaters. Make sure you know the times and locations ahead of time, to avoid disappointment, or a last minute rush that could compromise safety.

2. Plan your trick or treat route  ahead of time. This will give you a clear idea of where your children will be at all times, and an idea of when they will be finished.

3. Feed your trick or treaters a good supper before trick or treating starts. This will make them less likely to snack as they go, before you have a chance to inspect their treats.

4. Stick to places you know. All year we encourage our children to be cautious of people and places they don’t know, yet, on Halloween, we send them to the doors of strangers. Stick to areas where they will be visiting family and friends, both for their safety, and for your own peace of mind.

5. Only visit homes that have a porch light on and never go inside the home of someone you don’t know.
6. Wear something reflective and carry a flashlight.

7. Cross streets only at crosswalks. Never walk between parked cars. Stay on the sidewalk.

8. Stay in a group, and never run off alone, or fall behind on your own.

9. Turn in all candy at the end of the night for parental inspection.

Aand of the Dolls, is the Creepiest Place on the Planet.