OPINION: My culture is not your ‘special Halloween movie screening’

Associating ‘Coco’ with Halloween is not OK


Brittney Delgado - The State Hornet

The sign promoting “Coco” as a “special Halloween screening,” which has nothing to do with Halloween, and is incredibly disrespectful.

Brittney Delgado

Sacramento State, my culture should not be your special Halloween screening.

As I was making my way past Mendocino Hall, I noticed a bulletin that said the Union was going to be playing the movie “Coco” on Tuesday. At first, I was excited, because I love watching “Coco,” but as I kept reading, my excitement turned into anger.

I realized that they are showing it before Halloween, so that already set off some alarms. However, the part that really made me mad was where it says “special Halloween movie screening” under a picture of Abuelita [grandma] holding a chancla [flip-flop.]

Just because the movie has dead people does not make it a Halloween movie.

The movie is about the holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is usually celebrated in Mexico. During the holiday, we celebrate with our families in remembering our loved ones who have passed away and allowing them to return through a spiritual journey.

I am a Mexican-American who celebrates this holiday every year with my family and my culture should not be not your Halloween. Sac State classifying “Coco” as a Halloween movie is not the correct way to celebrate Dia de los Muertos and it is very disappointing that my school, which speaks so highly about diversity, would make this ignorant mistake.

After so many lessons and lectures about cultural appropriation, some people still don’t seem to grasp a clear understanding of how choices like these are inappropriate and disrespectful.

If you seemed to have forgotten, here is one more lesson for you.

Dia de los Muertos is actually a two-day celebration. Nov. 1 is Dia de los Inocentes, or Day of the Holy Innocents, where we celebrate children and the saints. On Nov. 2, we celebrate all souls.

Many people will lay out ofrendas, or altars, to honor and remember their deceased family members. A photo of each ancestor will be displayed to allow them a spiritual journey back to the living. Some of their favorite foods and things will be laid out on the ofrendas, along with beautiful flowers.

Calaveras, or sugar skulls, will also be displayed and are usually adorned with intricate decorations and art. 

This is my culture and it is beautiful. It is not just a special Halloween movie. “Coco” covers many of these cultural topics and tells a beautiful story. It is a movie that I have watched with my family multiple times, because we think it is one of the first to actually get our culture right.

I wouldn’t be so mad if they showed this on Nov. 1 or Nov. 2 and if it wasn’t advertised as a Halloween movie. This holiday is very dear to me, and when people are miseducating others that it might be associated with Halloween, it creates an assumption that is hard to shake.

We celebrate life and those who lived, but when we start to blend Dia de los Muertos and Halloween, people will no longer understand the importance of this holiday and the history will start to be forgotten.