MEXICO CITY — Two of the hottest Halloween costumes in Mexico this year are the country’s most wanted man — and arguably its most hated.
Striped prison jumpers and detailed latex masks representing the mustachioed, twice-escaped drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman are selling like hotcakes ahead of the late October holiday, Diego Esponda, CEO of costume maker Caretas REV, said Thursday.
Caretas, which operates a small factory in the city of Cuernavaca, has produced more than 2,600 “El Chapo” masks this month, with many of them being exported to the United States and Canada.
Besides brutal killings and the shipment of huge quantities of narcotics to the United States by his organization, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel is notorious for breaking out of a maximum-security Mexican prison not once but twice. The most recent was in July when he fled from his prison cell through a sophisticated mile-long (1½-kilometer) tunnel.
Designer Hector Bustos said the idea of producing a costume based on the drug lord began as a dark joke among colleagues but then they thought: Why not?
Its popularity reflects the gallows-humor japes that many Mexicans told following “El Chapo’s” second escape.
“It’s kind of funny, isn’t it: We captured him twice and he escapes twice, right?” Esponda said with a chuckle. “So, you know, we aren’t glorifying anybody. On the contrary, I think this is a wake-up call to the government, which captures him and then he escapes.”
Another popular getup this year is Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and reality TV star who angered many south of the border this year when he denigrated Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug traffickers and “rapists.”
The unflattering mask captures Trump with mouth agape and caricatures his signature blond hairdo.
“The Donald Trump one is also selling very well in the United States,” Esponda said. “I mean, he is the most hated person right now in Mexico.”
Halloween has traditionally played second-fiddle in Mexico to the Day of the Dead holiday, which takes place Nov. 1. But with each passing year more and more Mexican kids are also dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating the previous night.