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Koh Samui, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok again — I’d been all over Thailand in just a few weeks. It was time to go home.

Koh Tao Pier

Koh Tao Pier
This pier always makes my heart swell. Photos by .

Returning back to Koh Tao post-Yi Peng wasn’t in my original plan. But once I fell back in love with life there, I simply couldn’t imagine spending two of my favorite days of the year — Halloween and my birthday — anywhere else. I’m sorry, did a grown ass woman just cite her birthday as one of her favorite days of the year? Yes, she did. I mean, come on. What’s your favorite day of the year? Groundhog Day?

Anyway, tangent complete. Another reason I was so excited to return to Koh Tao was to show my partner-in-crime Heather around. Despite years spent living next door on Koh Pha Ngan, she’s never spent more than a day on little Tao! I was so pumped to give her a proper introduction. And it didn’t hurt that our first night back was a day we both treat with almost religious reverence: Halloween.

Halloween on Koh Tao

Halloween on Koh Tao

So basically, yes, this post is more or less a photo essay of me and my girls’ badass Dia De Los Muertos getups. And if you knew what lengths we went to to construct these ensembles, you wouldn’t blame me for wanting to show them off. Facepaint is shockingly difficult to track down in Thailand — what I would have given for a few hours to teleport to any one of NYC’s all-year-round over the top costume shops.

Now, considering how time and labor intensive these costumes were, you can imagine my shock when almost every other face I drove by on Koh Tao that night was Day of the Dead inspired. What the what? Inspired by a that I had on repeat for much of 2014, I thought I was being painfully original. I was going up to everyone all night like, um, are you a Lilly Wood fan too?! Share your source of creative inspiration immediately!

This is why I need chaperones for social gatherings.

Dia de Los Muertos Makeup

Dia de Los Muertos Makeup

Dia de Los Muertos Makeup

And I mean like, I guess other people had cool costumes too.

Halloween on Koh Tao

Halloween on Koh Tao

Halloween on Koh Tao

Halloween on Koh Tao

Halloween on Koh Tao

Not bad for a teeny tiny little island in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand, eh? Oh and let’s not even talk about how clear this post makes it that I’ve fallen devastatingly behind real time in my blogging. Deal? Deal.

Dia de Los Muertos Makeup

Halloween on Koh Tao

As usual, our night started at Banyan Bar — those orange background photos that look so fly up there were actually taken in the bathroom steps away from the urinal. The magic of photography.

Also as usual, we soon progressed down the beach to Maya Bar, where fellow Halloween enthusiast and bar manager Wendi had worked some serious magic turning the place into a creepy wonderland.

Halloween on Koh Tao

Halloween on Koh Tao

Halloween on Koh Tao

I couldn’t have been more thrilled with my decision to return to Koh Tao in time for one of this costume-obsessed island’s best nights of the year. And I’m looking forward to spending Halloween 2015 in the exact same way! Only difference? This time I’m bringing my costume from home.

Halloween on Koh Tao

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36 Comments...
  • Catalina
    February 13 2015

    Hi!! You’re stories are absolutely mind-blowing. I really hope I can continue travelling like you do as I grow up. I’m almost 19 (from Argentina)and clearly obsessed with travelling and all that it means. By reading your blog I now know that travelling around the world isn’t that hard so thank you for doing this!!

    • Meihoukai
      February 13 2015

      What a lovely comment Catalina! I believe when there is a will, there is a way, and it sounds like you have the will šŸ™‚ I’m sure you have a lifetime of travels ahead of you!

  • Jenia from HTL
    February 13 2015

    Ha! This is great. I just realized that this is what these costumes were — my friends dressed up as Day of the Dead from Lilly Wood video, but I didn’t know it back then šŸ™‚ Great costumes!
    Jenia from HTL recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 13 2015

      From my interrogations, seems that most people had no idea what the music video I was talking about was šŸ™‚ I think it’s just a really popular costume now and I was clueless!

  • Rekha Devarapalli
    February 13 2015

    Love the face painting and photos with orange background šŸ˜‰ And yes, remember seeing these pics back then in real time šŸ˜€
    Rekha Devarapalli recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 13 2015

      Ha, shows how behind I am in real time blogging!

  • Sonja @ Breadcrumbs Guide
    February 13 2015

    Aaahh I love that those awesome orange background photos were taken in a bathroom! So great. Funny what you can do with some selective cropping and well chosen camera angles.
    Sonja @ Breadcrumbs Guide recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 13 2015

      Ha, and if you saw that particular bathroom, you’d be extra impressed šŸ™‚

  • Erika
    February 13 2015

    Awesome facepaint!! I think the Day of the Dead look has been super popular the past few years in general — I’ve been seeing it more and more. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the next Halloween!
    Erika recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 13 2015

      Yeah, I guess I’m out of the loop! It was so funny to see so many others on such a small island!

  • Emily
    February 13 2015

    I’ve noticed that and the sugar skull trend really taking off on recent Halloweens. Who can blame anyone – it’s pretty cool!
    Emily recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 13 2015

      It really is! It was kind of fun seeing all the other faces — though I did think we were the best šŸ˜‰

  • Marni
    February 13 2015

    You ladies look amazing! I had a friend here who dressed up the same, but I had only a vague idea of what it was from. I am incredibly impressed with the result of the time-consuming process.

    • Meihoukai
      February 13 2015

      It was indeed SO time consuming. I’m sure it would have been easier with better quality materials but hey, we worked with what we had šŸ™‚

  • Camels & Chocolate
    February 14 2015

    Can we recreate this look for Bonnaroo, pretty please? Granted, the makeup might melt off our faces but…#worthit.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      Girl I am all about some intensely coordinated costumes. Yes yes and yes.

  • Joy
    February 14 2015

    Hahaha funny comment about your birthday being a favorite day of yours and sarcastically asking about Groundhogs Day. Groundhogs Day IS my birthday haha!

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      I kind of laughed when I wrote that, because Groundhog’s Day was my late grandmother’s birthday too šŸ™‚ I loved it — made it very easy to remember!

  • Julia Nix
    February 14 2015

    I don’t care how backdated this is…ahaha because Koh Tao is always interesting, I think. Make up is wonderful.

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      Glad to hear it šŸ™‚ Slowly but surely catching up!

  • Kendra Granniss
    February 14 2015

    Looks like so much fun! I hope to visit Koh Tao in the next couple of weeks. Love the pictures!

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      Aw, I’ll be super jealous when you do! Enjoy šŸ™‚

  • Nicole
    February 14 2015

    *Adding Halloween costume to my packing list*
    Can’t wait to experience Koh Tao on Halloween! So happy I’ll be there for it this year šŸ˜€
    Nicole recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      Koh Tao takes costuming very seriously šŸ™‚ You’ll love it!

  • becky hutner
    February 14 2015

    Impressive turnout indeed for a tiny Thai isle!! We were in Vietnam the Halloween before last & saw not a costumed soul.

    You already know how I feel about your makeup job but for the benefit of anyone else who sees this comment, I think it’s the most stunning face paint & wreath combo EVER. Esp given the resource scarcity!
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      Interesting… I think it depends on where you go. I was in Cusco, Peru last year and Sihanoukville, Cambodia a few before that and both wowed me — so many revelers! I guess both are pretty touristy towns.

  • Chris
    February 15 2015

    Incredible effort with the make-up!

    Looks like fun indeed! šŸ™‚
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      Never a dull night on Koh Tao šŸ™‚

  • Rae Morgan
    February 15 2015

    Wow those pictures are amazing!! I love Halloween too. This year I spent it in Tokyo, but I was working so there wasn’t a lot of festivities. Such a bummer. You are returning “home” for a while? (I’m not sure where your home even was- America? Canada? Somewhere west I’m assuming though).
    Rae Morgan recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      Well, I’m in Central America right now for the next few months, will spend the summer in North America (one of my homes!) and then the fall again back in Southeast Asia (my other home!) šŸ™‚

  • Rick
    February 15 2015

    The makeup was NUTS and you guys look GREAT

    sorry for the caps but WOW

    • Meihoukai
      February 15 2015

      No apologies necessary! Thanks Rick šŸ™‚

  • Katie
    February 15 2015

    Love your costumes! Well done on the facepaint, I went to a Halloween party as a zombie a couple of years ago and had such a hard time applying the face paint and makeup!
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 16 2015

      It’s not easy — especially in a hot sweaty environment like that!

  • Leah
    February 17 2015

    Haha I have to admit I was surprised to find a Halloween post in my inbox in February, but I’m the same way. Love how the faces turned out, original or not!
    Leah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 17 2015

      Just wait till you get a Christmas one in March…