Photo by Lauren Gugwar
A Dia de los Muertos altar full of ofrendas( offerings) to the deceased
Photo by Esmeralda Guerrero
NEIU students with face paint depicting traditional sugar skulls given out on the Day of the Dead
Photo by Lauren Gugwar
In celebration of Halloween and El Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) the Student Alliance for Leadership and Education (SALE), a Latino-based organization from El Centro hosted their 1st Annual Zombie Trail. The zombie event combined elements from modern zombie-horror films, live music, Halloween treats and decorationsfrom El Día de los Muertos.
Among the festive decorations, there were also many zombie-themed aspects. Fake severed limbs and blood were scattered and splattered around the library and Student Union. Fake propane tanks and barrels with the words “BIOHAZARD” written on them were placed around the campus as well. Students who played as zombies were given fake eyeballs to make their faces look more scary and gruesome. The zombies hid in the shadows and chased a living team as they [the team] ran and collected supplies at several checkpoints.
The real purpose behind the SALE’s Zombie Trail was to raise funds or toys for the children of the Hermosa Community for the upcoming holidays. “We wanted to start earlier than Decemberso we decided to start in October,” said Esmeralda Guerrero, event organizer, leader and SALE Advisor. “With the event taking place within a week of the Day of the Dead and Halloween, we decided to use that opportunity to educate people about El Día de los Muertos traditions, while still enjoying their own Halloween customs,” said Guerreo.
El Día de los Muertos is a celebration that originated from Mexico and it is believed that the spirits of the dead visit their families from Oct. 31 until Nov. 2. Despite its Mexican origin, this holiday is celebrated in various parts of Central America and around the world, each region with its own twist.
El Día de los Muertos is a day that celebrates, remembers and prepares special foods in honor of those who have passed. These foods vary from sweet bread baked in the shape of skulls (pan de muertas), and colorful candy skulls/sugar skulls (calaveras de dulce). If the person that passed was a relative or was well known by the individual, then the family members and friends bring that loved one’s favorite fruit or prepare their favorite desert instead.
Families celebrate by placing offerings on altars (ofrendas) dedicated to their loved ones. These offerings include treats, marigold flowers, skeletons and skulls (calavers and pardes), tissue paper that was cut into festive designs (papel picado), and most importantly, a photo of the long departed loved one.
The Zombie Trail was SALE’s first time hosting the zombie themed event and considering how popular the bands, the food and how many people signed up, it’s safe to say that next year’s will be much grander. This year the Student Alliance for Leadership and Education fundraised $343.35 and collected three toys.