Mark Hoppus of punk rock band blink-182 once asked his beloved to have Halloween on Christmas. For a mother hailing in Parañaque, it seems to be the other way around.
Malou Gonzales and her family are having Christmas on Halloween for quite some time now. For the past 12 years, she's been putting up a do-it-yourself "Halloween tree" to mark the occasion.
“Hello po! Flex ko lang some of my Mama’s Halloween decor. Puro daw po kasi Christmas decor… Halloween muna,” Malou's daughter Frances Louiza Meneses wrote in a Facebook post Oct. 16, which was reposted by The Philippine STAR.
Malou's Halloween tree utilizes shades of black and orange. Instead of being eldritch and morbid, the designs are playful and comical.
She traded the Star of Bethlehem for a witch's hat; glittery balls for wacky illustrations of skulls, witches, mummies, and vampires; poinsettia for autumn leaves, and wrapped presents underneath for more Halloween objets d'art.
The Halloween gewgaws don't end with the tree. Malou also installed a wooden case housing mini pumpkins, ghosts, and a castle. A mini Halloween tree with moss green and jet-black hues also has a witch's hat, ghosts, and balls, complemented by purple articles.
There are also pillows with Halloween-related messages, a beverage corner with fictive concoctions, as well as skull and pumpkin mugs.
Frances told STAR that the idea came from a Valentine's Day tree that her Mama once spotted.
She also told PhilSTAR L!fe that her mother simply wanted to go against the grain for a change, especially since it's always been the Yuletide that's at the forefront of the "ber" months.
"Iilan pa lang ang gumagayak na pang-Halloween," Frances said, though noting that it can be "very challenging" to go all-in with such a theme.
Since 2010, Malou has been buying decors from thrift shops, warehouses, and surplus stores online.
Frances also sent L!fe more photos of new decorations her mother added since her original post. These include a web-like tapestry; jack-o'-lantern banner; cartoon zombies; pumpkin pots for indoor plants; and banderitas consisting of knife, scissors, cleaver, machete, and saw.
Frances said the tree, as well as its bits and bobs, cost P3,000. Other items are worth P20 to P200 apiece.
"Napaka-diverse ng theme ng Halloween," she said, "kaya doon mo mailalabas ang iyong creativity."
In any case, their family still observes Undas with solemnity. Frances said they light candles outside their home, offer flowers for their deceased loved ones, and say prayers for them.
Frances gave a piece of advice for those who want to follow suit: "Mas magandang bumili kapag off-season," noting the items are much cheaper. The build-up leading to Halloween also allows one to acquire more decorations, she said.
"Pwede rin itong gamitin sa mga susunod pang taon," she noted.
At the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules as to how Filipino households may celebrate Halloween—and put up their very own Halloween tree. As Frances previously told STAR: "Do whatever makes you happy. Kanya-kanyang trip iyan!”