Happy Ha-luluwa!

Sorry, I just can't resist localizing the Halloween greeting into Ha-luluwa (guffaw,guffaw). Nope, this is not a Polynesian (can you say Hawai'i) word.  Kaluluwa is Tagalog for soul.  I had to add the "ha" for happy souls.  Pardon the corn hehehe.

It won’t be Halloween till end of the week and we don't do trick or treat – we don’t live in a subdivision or village set up where kids ring doorbells for candy and then congregate at the clubhouse for a program, usually a magic show and eats.  Lots of communities celebrate Halloween and if you aren't part of one that does, there's always the mall. If you are a call center agent, expect to rustle up a costume for the monthly (or weekly) get-to's. I love orange and purple, so the decorations go over big for me. You can even buy pumpkins to carve for Jack O' Lanterns at the supermarket.
Very interesting, that Jack! Outwitting the devil but can't get to heaven because he is a sinner; can't go to the devil because he compromised the devil into not taking his soul but then has nowhere to go! So he wanders the earth with a lantern made out of a turnip (later a pumpkin), carved with holes for the light of the ember within to show him the way to his final resting place.  He never would. How's that for tragic?        

Halloweening is another adopted tradition of ours. And why not? We don’t need much of an excuse to party.  We could think up all sorts of holiday themes or hold feasts in the name of saints from A to Z and all sorts of produce - flora, fauna, or agri! Just give us a long weekend, food (potluck), a videoke machine and friends and family are quick to organize a powwow! Us fun loving Pinoys are capable of celebrating over dead bodies (er, remains); share our food with  relatives who have long ago lost their appetites (and everything else); and scare ourselves silly with stories about our dead haunting us with the scent of flowers or burning candles to make us run to their side (er, nitso or puntod, meaning tomb) – because they miss us and it is our obligation to say a prayer for them. Family reunion of those gone ahead and those still walking the earth – check! So, although All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day is more the tradition, getting kids dressed and made up in fashionable gore or fairy tale whimsy while the grown ups indulge in anime and fantasy costumes is freaky fun, too!  

We also love scary movie and TV documentary marathons on witches, elementals, fortunetellers and all kinds of supernatural phenomena.  I wonder if historians and social planners from long ago planned it so that we let loose all our morbid fascination for scary stuff in October/November and then Christmas sweeps the black doom away and resurrects faith among all.  Like bad news, good news; bad publicity, good publicity.  Hmmm.  
Anyway, we are staying in.  I hear a lot of people are doing that too, to economize.  This last quarter hasn’t been all that great.  A lot of people are still reeling from calamity.

Our dead are thankfully in their “resting” place just a jeepney ride away so we don’t have to go far.  Others just have to brave over crowded bus terminals and ports; struggle with bags, families and seating; endure long travels which feels all the more interminable by annoying co-travelers and group pit stops. There’s an option for people who can’t visit their dead. They can be anyplace where they can observe a few hours of silence, offer prayers, arrange for a dedicated mass at church, and set candles burning by the front door.  I rather like these Smart candles! I saw a news feature on one kind of flame-less candles but didn't catch the brand name.

My nephews did experience trick or treating for a while, when I was staying at San Lorenzo Village.  Back home they just have to boo! the hapless auntie (me) to get these chocolate chunk and rice crispies cookies.  You just get any ole chocolate chip recipe online or buy a package mix. I see one celebrity putting her name on baking pans and package mixes. I resolved not to buy them.  Seriously! She makes oodles of money out of endorsements and I refuse to add to her coffers.
I made these cookies from scratch. Chill the dough, form into balls before baking, and tuck a chunk of chocolate in the middle (let it show through) to look like eyeballs.  You roll the sides and bottom on rice crispies to suggest maggots (eeewww).  When baked, the dough flattened out (because I used two yolks for a soft cookie) to Cookie Monster eyes (from Sesame Street, which I love back in the day when puppets are not subject to psycho analysis).  If you want bugged out eyes, you could make blondies in a brownie lollipop mold (wish I have one). Accent with pompom spiders (nifty ref magnets, courtesy of a balikbayan friend). These are fun, and yum! The cookies, not the kooky spidey! 

Happy Halloween! Like this? This is piped meringue. I made this from two egg whites, clear vanilla, and 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar.  Whip like crazy until the meringue sets like a stiff (hehehe). I made meringue cookies as well but those didn't last long enough for pictures.  Got eaten fast! I did make a  meringue ghost that could pass for an angel : ). 

P.s. Kalachuchi, Sampaguita, orchids and mums were commonly used for funeral wreathes along with roses.  These days, the first two don't figure much (I wonder why) in floral arrangements offered to the dead, although the scents of these flowers were most associated with "haunting" smells. I say, any wilted flower smells musty after languishing in the funeral parlor.  There is no scent distinction between a dead flower and flowers for the dead, is there? ; )
People always asks me where they can get or rent costumes.  I used to go to Camp Suki or Totoy Madriaga, which shop is along Balintawak, EDSA.


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