Halloween is about telling stories that excite our imagination, intrigue our curiosity, and flame our fear. This story has it all: imaginative art, curious revolutions, and scariest of all, socialists. During the Cold War they didn’t tell ghost stories, they told communist stories. But this isn’t a communist story; it is The Halloween Ballad of Morado and the Muralists.
They painted the walls of universities, churches, government buildings, and public places as part of the rebuilding of Mexico. They painted stirring images of the great Mexican emancipator Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Their paintings personified the ideals of the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata: a combination of Marxism, Libertarianism, Anarchism, and elements of traditional Mexican culture. Generations of Mexican students and artists were inspired by these accessible and incredible works of art. The Muralists were instrumental in the transition of Mexico from a military struggle against a dictator to a societal struggle for social justice.
If Halloween is about anything, it is about expanding our horizons. In a time of increased accessibility, we should relish those who made access to art and social change the cornerstone of their artistic vision. Traditional Mexican skeletons or calacas combined with communist revolutionaries in the same art piece; the Halloween and communist aesthetics perfectly merged.