NATALIA CERVANTES / Coachella Uninc.
Coachella — Today is Halloween. Pumpkins, ghosts, witches and ghouls are just a few things that come to mind when thinking of this day — And don’t forget the free candy.
But how do eastern Coachella Valley families celebrate Halloween? And how do they stay safe?
I interviewed local moms to ask them what are their families’ Halloween traditions, and how do they keep their families safe while trick-or-treating.
Connie Ruiz – Volunteer at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Coachella, Calif.
“My daughters Lily (8) and Ariana (9) love to get dressed up. But, we only let them use their costumes if we can go to some type of community event.”
Connie usually takes her daughters to the Coachella Community Center, where they always have candy and fun activities for the kids. After a family excursion to the community center, the Ruiz family goes back home and goes trick-or-treating. Ruiz said these are her safety precautions for Halloween night:
“Always take a flashlight and check both sides of the street before crossing. If there are any kids alone, tell them they can walk with you. When we get home, I take all the candy and inspect it before they can have any.”
Rosa Cabusora — Resident of Coachella Calif.
Cabusora emphasized the need for families to be cautious about the candy their children are given.
“If any candy is open, toss it. Any fruit or vegetables, tossed. They can have a little at a time here and there.”
Sandra Rivas — First Grade Teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Coachella, Calif.
Rivas has a nine-year-old son who is very excited for this upcoming Halloween. Rivas usually takes her son down the street she lives on for some trick-or-treating. She does a thorough candy check, and lets her son pick two. She then tosses the rest away.
This year she has something grander in mind, “We want to go to Legoland this year so he can enter the costume contest. He wants to dress up as a rainbow and wear a sombrero hat with a mustache.”
Rivas hopes she can teach her son more about his background and culture that involves Halloween, as he grows older.
Theresa Maldonado — Administrator at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Coachella, Calif.
Maldonado has three sons who attend schools in Coachella. Her family tradition involves all gathering all their aunts, uncles and cousins together at their grandmother’s house on Halloween night. All the women take the children out trick-or-treating, while the men stay back and pass out candy to neighborhood children.
“All the kids are the same age, give or take a year. So they all love getting dressed up and going together. We’ve been doing it for years, and we’ll continue doing it,” Maldonado said.
Emilia Aceves Mojica — Resident of Indio, Calif.
Mojica, who has three sons, said she wants her sons to be safe on Halloween, especially as they grow older. She said her advice for parents is to always keep a watchful eye on their children, even if their children aren’t little kids in costumes anymore.
“When kids are in elementary school, you have better control over what they wear, where they go, what they’re doing and most importantly their safety,” Mojica said. “You want to let them have some freedom but still keep them close enough in case anything happens or to just know that they’re safe.”
So what will you be doing this Halloween?
Whether it may be attending a carnival, a community center event, a costume party, going to grandma’s house, or perhaps some trick-or-treating, always be sure to stay safe.
Carry a flashlight, a cell phone, check both sides of the street, and be aware of your surroundings. And have fun collecting a lot of candy.