By Richard Bammer
As Thursday’s sun set and skies turned silvery purple with a hint of orange, the evening, in Spanish, turned “fantasmagorico,” or spooky, during Markham Elementary’s annual observance of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, at the Vacaville campus.
Amid the half-light were dozens of excitable, costumed students gathered on the playground, with some sporting lurid black, white and red makeup or handmade crowns adorned with skulls, cobwebs and roses. Others had created small, lovingly handmade ofrenda altars, which were displayed on tables under a pop-up tent, to honor specific family members who have died. Throughout the two-hour event, which began at 5 p.m., deejay and Markham parent Rene Ortiz blasted Spanish-language tunes, including, at one point, “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens, and commanded a light show with splashes of iridescent colors washing across a portable classroom’s exterior. In a first-grade classroom, students sprinkled glitter on hand-size sugar skulls.