My secrets are well buried. But for two days every year, my unlife is an open grave

October 28

My ghoulfriends are muy exited about Halloween, and I can't deny it is a scary-fun holiday. But my excitement lays to rest elsewhere: Dia di los Muertos - The Day of the Dead - is just around the corner. I can already feel the chilling bite in the air and hear the breeze moaning through the barren tree branches and swirling around he tombstones. Other monsters believe it is merely the autumn weather, but I recognise what it really is: the foreshadowing of a monstrous celebration in which my ancestors are reunited - my ancestors who are undead... and my ancestors who are human.

On November 1st, humans honour their loved ones who have passed away by creating altars, which they decorate with keepsakes that belonged to the dearly departed in their human life. The altars are invitations that call those in the spirit world over to the human world, and candles will appear to light their way.

For me, Dia de los Muertos has always been a bit of a mystery in my unlife. My parents are both skeletons which means I was born in the undead world - I have never been human. However, every year I join the celebration, but I have never known who has invited me. The first time I attended, I was a bebe, and my grandmother, who was once human, took me with her to meet her familia. I have gone every year since then with Abuelita - my grandmother - but I've always received my own candle-lit path. I think perhaps my human familia is simply extending my grandmother's invitation to me as a courtesy. Sadly, his year Abuelita is feeling unwell and unable to make the journey, and although she is muy disappointed, she says that I should enjoy the festival without her. And I will... if I receive an invitation.

Some of my favourie Dia de los Muertos memories!

+ When I was 9, I met a human girl my age. Her name was Gloria, and we played together as though we had known each other forever. We had each brought a doll to the gathering, and we decied to exchange them to remember each other by. Very few monsters have human friends and I am honoured to have Gloria as mine.
+ When I was 7, Abuelita and I made paper marigolds and we handed them out to other celebrants as we danced through the cemetary. I was proud to see them adorning so many costumes, and it was the first time I imagined becoming a fashion designer.
+ At 8, I met a human boy named Carlos. It was his first Dia de los Muertos, and he was overwhelmed by the crowds, activities and even the vibrant colours. We found a quiet corner and I showed him how to make a Calaca - a wooden skeleton - while I explained the meaning behind everything he witnessed.
+ When I was 11, the Zunigas treated me to a huge feast. They are distant cousins and hey also have elders who unlive in the Monster World. Those of us who are spirits promised to visit each other when we got back home, and we have kept that promise often.
+ At 13, I danced so much that I kicked off my shows and couldn't remember where I left them. I danced barefoot all the way hoe while Abuelita laughed.
+ Last year, when I was 14, I again ran into Gloria. Her face was elaborately painted and she was dressed as a bootiful bride. But she had lost her veil, so I fashioned a new one from my shawl and hair comb. She was very grateful, but her happiness was all the thanks I needed.

October 31

The Monster High Halloween party was a blast! But now I am nervously dressing for the Dia de los Muertos festival. I want to be ready and look my beast when my invitation arrives, but I fear without my Abuelita, I will not be welcomes as I had been in the past.

November 1: Dia de los Muertos

It is just after midnight, and two candles have appeared at my door...

November 3

When the candles began appearing that night, I stepped outside with a hint of trepodation, but my worry turned to excitement as the next candles appeared...and the next...and the steps quickened as I eagerly followed the appearing candles all the way to the human world! The celebrations was in full swing and I was instantly swept up in the music and merriment. While catching my breath, I ate delicious Pan de Muerto and sugar skulls, and saw so many familiar and beloved faces. Even without my grandmother, I felt a warm welcome from all. Carlos and Gloria came to greet me and took my hands. They led me to an altar decorated with baskets of paper margolds, and as I got closer, I was in for a monstrous surprise! There on the altar was a framed picture of me with the Zunigas! And the calaca I made with Clarlos! And my shawl and comb once worn my Gloria! And even my scuffed dancing shows!

The altar was made especially for me, by all of the humans and spirits I have celebrated with over the years. They explained that every year I left something behind, and every year they carefully saved it, creating an altar filled with wonderful memories of me in order to call me back. They said I always have an invitation to their celebration, as well as a place in their hearts.

Although I missed celebrating with Abuelita, this year's Dia de los Muertos was my favourite of all... I danced and ate and laughed and enjoyed.

And in the end, I left something else iCoffin. Maybe I'll be able to call them during the long wait until the next Dia de los Muertos. After all, a year is a long time to go without talking to those you love.

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