Day of the Dead

San Francisco’s Halloween season wraps up on the evening of All Saint’s Day, Nov 2, to celebrate the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead. People put away their Halloween costumes to put on instead black clothing, white skeletal face paint, and orange marigolds. A parade of skeletons and drummers process through the Mission, ending at the memorial altars of Garfield Park.

I put on my antlers just after sunset to join a small group from Pyramid Scheme at Gray Area on 23rd and Mission. The Day of the Dead parade was short, rambly, and festive. Bass drums boomed and boomed for the feathered Aztec dancers.

The altars were quite crowded as revelers leaned in to inspect the candles, sugary bread, photos, memorabilia, and oranges. I lingered at a shrine to Larry Harvey, the Man in the Hat. Other shrines eulogized mothers, children lost too soon, husbands, and communities.

I’m not equipped to handle death. No one close to me has yet to die, but they will. I’d rather think of happier times, focus on the light, and run away from the darkness. My day is coming.