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Woman Helps Children ‘Beat the Heck’ out of Coronavirus

When the coronavirus pandemic began last year, Carolina Tolladay Vidal’s party business suffered immediately. People cancelled parties and no one was buying piñatas from her business in the American state of Alaska.

A piñata is a container usually filled with small treats -- like candies, fruits, or gifts. It is hung up at parties or celebrations. A person, likely a child, with eyes covered would hit a piñata with a stick. And the objects inside would fall to the ground for everyone.

Tolladay Vidal told Alaska Public Media recently that many of her projects were moved to other dates. “Many,” she added, “were canceled.”

She had to find new ideas to bring back her business. So, Tolladay Vidal decided to make large, red piñatas shaped like the coronavirus.

In this photo provided by Alaska Public Media, Carolina Tolladay Vidal displays custom COVID-19 piñatas in her home in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 14, 2021.

After she shared an image of her handmade coronavirus piñata on social media, she said the orders started pouring in.

She explained why so many people want to beat up a coronavirus-shaped piñata. “I think you really smash them and break them and hit them with meaning,” she said, “because it has been tough for everybody.”

Rose Consenstein, age 8, agrees. She said, with her eyes covered, she could not see it. But that did not stop her from “beating the heck” out of a coronavirus piñata at her birthday party.

Tolladay Vidal started her piñata business about four years ago. One of her daughters wanted a piñata shaped like “Cloud Guy,” a character from the movie Trolls.

She said she could not find one in stores or online. So, she said, ‘Well, you know, it shouldn’t be so hard to make up a piñata.”

Tolladay Vidal grew up in Mexico and spent years creating piñatas with her family. She said, “I have a memory of my grandma setting up all the grandchildren and helping her make a couple star piñatas with the seven points.”

Kate Consenstein is Rose’s mother. She said the coronavirus piñatas were perfect for her daughter’s outdoor, socially distanced birthday party.

“Coronavirus,” she said, “is the perfect villain for children.” Children can “understand that this is the thing we want to defeat. There was so much cheering,” she said, “when it exploded.”

I’m Anna Matteo.

Words in This Story

candy –n. a sweet food made with sugar or chocolate

stick –n. a long thin piece of wood

smash –v. to hit (something) violently and very hard

tough –adj. very difficult to do or deal with

heck informal noun : used as a more polite form of “hell

character –n. a person in a story, play, or movie

grandma informal noun : the mother of one's father or mother

couple –n. two persons married, engaged, or otherwise romantically paired

outdoor –adj. done, used, or located outside a building

villain –n. a character in a story, movie, etc., who does bad things

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