Stumbling Into Day Of The Dead

This is a post I put together to promote the Myths, Moons and Mayhem MMM paranormal menage anthology. The antho’s editor, Dale, didn’t like how the post appeared when it went up at the Alpha Book Club, so here it is as I wrote it.

Growing up as a child in the UK, I had no knowledge of the Day of the Dead. The big British celebration wasn’t even Halloween in those days – we preferred to throw our parties on November 5th, when we paid tribute to Guy Fawkes’ failure to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Letting off fireworks and eating baked potatoes, Yorkshire parkin and brandy snaps as a way of celebrating the preservation of 17th century democracy may sound bizarre, but it worked for us.

Over the last few years, however, I’ve found myself on a couple of occasions dining in a Mexican restaurant on the Day of the Dead. The atmosphere is always suitably spooky, and you’re greeted by waiting staff with gorgeously painted faces. Indeed, in one restaurant customers were being offered the chance to have their faces decorated, too, though it’s a little disconcerting to look up from your burrito and refried beans to see a host of skulls grinning at you from the neighbouring tables. In that particular establishment, images were projected on the walls of decorated graves and the items used by Mexican families to honour the spirits of their dead relatives, so even if you knew nothing about the Day of the Dead before walking in, you’d have a pretty good idea what it involved by the time you were finishing off your coffees and settling your bill.

These days, you can find recipes online for delicious-looking Day of the Dead biscuits, while the British Museum shop does a nice line in decorated skulls (as well as a Day of the Dead tea towel, because we love to put our own twist on a tradition). It’s a holiday that I doubt will ever have as big grip on the British imagination as Halloween, but if you fancy a change from trick or treating or burning a Guy on a bonfire, Day of the Dead celebrations are there if you know where to look for them.

Of course, if you don’t have any parties lined up, then you can always stay in with a copy of Myth, Moons and Mayhem, and enjoy a selection of gay menage stories in which all manner of spooks, spirits and other creatures come out to play. Have fun whatever you do!

Myths, Moons and Mayhem is edited by Dale Cameron Lowry and published by Sexy Little Pages. It’s available from various ebook retailers – find out more by clicking here.