George Lopez has had a successful career as a stand-up, a sitcom star and in movies, but his career as a bestselling children’s book author hits particularly close to home.
He’s just released his second book in a series, ChupaCarter and the Haunted Piñata, and believe it or not, he tells ABC Audio it’s based on a pretty paranormal experience he had — not to mention his childhood, which seems like it would have fit right in with the kids from Stranger Things.
George explains his grandfather was strict, so he couldn’t play outside all day. That forced him to make the most of his time and his imagination — like his main character, Jorge, who happens to befriend a chupacabra named Carter.
“The idea that you could almost replenish your past with color and with great stories and with great kids and, and all of that is derived from [my childhood],” Lopez says.
“We did everything but going to the cemetery, really. Everything was in play except the cemetery,” he adds with a smile.
As for that haunted piñata? It goes back to a skull-shaped balloon at a Day of the Dead party thrown some years ago by his sitcom mom, Belita Moreno. “Before we left, we said, ‘Hey, let’s everybody get a picture.’ So there’s like a balloon behind [us] … looking [the opposite] way,” George recalls.
“So we all put our arms around each other. And when we look at the picture, the face was between our shoulders looking at the camera. And I was like, ‘There’s no way that that balloon would have turned that fast.'”
He adds, still a little haunted, “I’ve seen a lot of things that people think I’m crazy for, but that, that moment, it never left me.”
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