Halloween is the holiday of ghosts, trick-or-treating, and pumpkin patches but it’s also the time for the spirit of the Latinx Halloween community to shine through with passion and culture.
After the first year of the pandemic, Halloween participation has slowly been recovering to pre-pandemic numbers of 69% of Americans, according to the National Retail Federation.
Despite the sudden decline, many Halloween artists still pursued their businesses in the theme of Halloween. Even if the holiday has passed and will not see it come to life till next year, these Latinx vendors will keep the spooky spirit thriving for all 365 days a year.
La Dama Luna
LUNA ALBA, 37, Los Angeles, Freelance Artist, She/Her, Mexican
Founding her business last year, Luna Alba decided to follow her interest in art that existed ever since she was a child.
“I’ve been drawing for my entire life, so I actually don’t remember when I started, but I’ve always been interested in darker stuff,” said Alba. “When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me fairy tales and I was always fascinated with the villains, witches and ghosts.”
Inspired by the Mexican fairy tales her mother read to her, Alba combines dark design and eerie style in her charcoal artworks. Her most recent piece was a La Llorona Mexican-inspired black and white charcoal art on canvas.
Even though Alba has always loved making art, she first struggled with finding her target audience, as well as struggling with her accent, which often made it difficult for her as a seller.
“The fact that I work things out differently and I have an accent made things difficult when I started vending,” said Alba. “I didn’t really think I had to target things, so when I would [table] at places I expected a lot of Latinx people, but they would get scared and walk away from my stuff.”
Realizing that though her artworks were inspired by Latinx stories, not everyone in the same community would like her unsettling but creative art.
Overtime Alba began to focus her style of art towards specific groups such as the Halloween community, discovering success by vending at Halloween/horror events in California all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada. Alba’s goal is to have her art leave a mark on people and for it to linger in the minds of those who see it, as well as expand her social media presence and elevate her art to a wider audience.
Alba also accepts commissions for drawings, jewelry, album covers, posters and other visual media.
To check out Alba’s work, head over to her Instagram @ladamaluna and check out her website at www.ladamaluna.com.
Girl Wonder Extraordinaire
KAREN DRUM, 38, Los Angeles, Artist, She/Her, Mexican-American
Growing up in a Catholic household and unable to celebrate Halloween as a child. Drum grew up drawn to the holiday and found her passion in creating art inspired by it. Combining pop culture and different themes like religion into a mix match of works, such as the combination of Sally from ‘‘Nightmare Before Christmas” and the Virgin of Guadalupe into a graphic design. From her designs and passion, Drum discovered a community of individuals with similar interests.
For Drum, Halloween is more than just a season, it is a community that has made her feel welcome and accepted. “The Halloween community is so beautiful, they’re very accepting of everyone. Nobody is excluded like there is no judgment and just all really supportive,” said Drum. “In this community, my favorite part of it is to see the younger kids’ joy in their faces and just how much they love being at [Halloween] events.”
For Drum, speaking to cosplayers, “spooky adults” and anyone with the same love for Halloween as her keeps the passion in her art fresh and alive.
Drum’s catalog of items consists of a wide range of graphic designs on apparel and accessories that allow her to explore different themes that make her art unique.
To check out Drum’s work, head over to her Instagram @gwe_art and check out her website at https://gweart.square.site/.
Stage Fright Clothing
LORENA RODRIGUEZ, 27, Bakersfield, Business Owner, She/Her, Mexican
Tired and exhausted from working a 9-5 job with her husband as a contractor for Spectrum, Lorena Rodriguez wanted to create her own business. Already selling things online through Depop, she aimed to expand her business into a theme she loved, horror. With support from her husband, Salvador Rodriguez, she slowly began her small business in 2019.
“It has been hard getting your foot in the door. For me, it was hard finding a brick-and-mortar location, but we do have a lot of customers here and a lot of supporters that are always wondering what will be next,” said Rodriguez.
Finally discovering a location in downtown Bakersfield, Lorena sells all kinds of Halloween and horror clothing and accessories, as well as directly working with smaller artists in selling their work from paintings and clothing designs, such as Everyday Ghoul (@everydayghoul_), Empty Funeral (@emptyfuneral_) and Espooky Boutique (@espookyboutique).
Through her business, Rodriguez wants to amplify the Halloween scene within Bakersfield by hosting events that aim to bring small Halloween artists consisting of many Latinx creators to the public.
“I want to be able to grow the whole [Halloween] community here in Bakersfield and I feel like it’s growing a little bit,” Rodriguez said. “Last October we had a horror convention where people came out and we got a really good response from everyone, along with a big Latinx community that [were vendors] at the event.”
To check out Rodriguez’s store, head over to her Instagram @stagefrightclothing661or check out her website at www.stagefrightclothing.com.
A new perspective is what the Latinx community brings to the holiday which has a history of having a lack thereof with racially offensive costumes and stereotypes. For these vendors, what they grew up with brought them into the world of Halloween, but with something that’s missed out on, representation.