Today is Halloween. My daughter came home from daycare with a bagful of candy, none of which she cared to share with her mommy. 

As I constantly mention, I grew up in Puerto Rico, in a culture full on American influences. I vaguely remember going around the neighborhood with my siblings and other kids, to go tricotrí. Actually, it was several years before I figured out that tricotrí was derived from the phrase trick-or treat.

And of course, we would go out in the neighborhood, in our little costumes, chanting “¡Tricotrí, Jalogüín, dame chavos, no maní!” (Trick or treat, Halloween; give me money, not peanuts!).  This was followed by a similar rhyme: “¡Tricotrí, Jalogüín, no te escondas que ya te vi!” (Don’t you hide, ’cause I saw you!)

Why, you may wonder, am I sharing these mundane memories about my childhood? First of all, because it involves the interaction of two languages, both of which occupy equal portions of my brain. Second, because there is a tiny chance somebody at this very moment, encounters the word tricotrí and wonders what the heck it means and how to translate it.

This I can tell you. It involves Halloween in Puerto Rico (perhaps other places, but this is the only one I can talk about, and children, and costumes, and eating too much candy.


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