Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is the perfect time to remember departed loved ones and to celebrate the life we have left with food, music, crafts and more.
Paint your faces with some seriously sweet sugar skull decorations (here’s how!) and then meet up with family and friends at these Day of the Dead celebrations. Don’t forget to check out Kidsguide’s Day of the Dead Pinterest board, too.
1. Día de los Muertos at Olvera Street
October 25-November 2: Watch a nightly procession of “Living Muertos” honoring ancient traditions and modern day celebrations, with champurrado and sweet bread and a viewing of community altars in the plaza afterward! Nightly, 7 p.m. Enjoy entertainment and face painting on festival days, October 29-30 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and November 1-2 from 4-8 p.m. Free.
125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles
October 27-30: The Museum of Latin American Art hosts a string of community events and exhibits celebrating Día de los Muertos. On display through December 2, MOLAA’s Da de los Muertos Exhibition is a juried display of art and altars featuring Southern California artists. Also watch for these activities:
Sugar Skull workshop
Using colorful frosting and sequins, kids (13 and under) will decorate their own original sugar skull!
Thursday, October 27, 3:30- 5 p.m. Free.
Día de los Muertos Marigolds
Kids (13 and under) can learn how to make colorful tissue paper marigold flowers to celebrate Day of the Dead. Marigolds, known as cempaschil or “flower of the dead,” are believed to guide the spirits to their altars using their vibrant colors and scent.
Friday, October 28, 3:30- 5 p.m. Free.
Día de los Muertos Festival
Learn more about this important holiday as you enjoy free art workshops, live performances, gallery tours, face painting and craft vendors! Da de Los Muertos attire is strongly encouraged – come dressed as a calavera! Food and drinks available for purchase.
Sunday, October 30, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free.
October 29: The 17th annual Día de Los Muertos will be held at Hollywood Forever, Los Angeles’ oldest memorial park, to honor and celebrate the memories of beloved souls. Día de Los Muertos attire strongly encouraged. Come dressed in your finest Calaca apparel. Enjoy music and dance performances, fine Mexican cuisine, arts and crafts, skeleton costume contests and a children’s art project area. This year’s theme is The Tree of Life. Saturday, noon – midnight. $20 per person, exact change; kids (8 and under) and seniors are free until 4 p.m.
6. Halloween and Día de los Muertos Fishy Fest at Santa Monica Pier
October 29-30: Get ready to celebrate Halloween and Día de los Muertos with special arts and crafts projects for families and the plastic bag maze (make your way through and come out a winner, ready to say no to single use plastic bags), plus a marine artifacts graveyard. Saturday and Sunday, 12:30-5 p.m. Visit their website for schedule. Adults, $5; kids (12 and under), free. Beach level, beneath the Carousel at the Santa Monica Pier.
October 29: Witches, ghouls and goblins can participate in a unique celebration that combines the fun of Halloween with the traditions of Día de los Muertos. Bootacular features a costume parade at 3:30 p.m., trick-or-treat tote bag decorating, face painting, a DJ, skull mask painting with The Bowers Museum and a Día de los Muertos photo booth, plus crafts, games and prizes (while supplies last). Saturday, 2-5 p.m. Free.
October 29: Join the La Habra library for one of their favorite annual events. Events and activities for all ages. Saturday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Crafts & Face Painting from 11 a.m. – noon; Corona Dance Studio Ballet Folklorico, 1-2 p.m.; and Aztec Dance Group Huehueteotl, 2-3 p.m. Free. Library Program room.
October 29-31: For the fourth year in a row, Grand Park partners with Self-Help Graphics & Art. The park presents 35 altars and art installations created by local artists and community groups in honor of Da de los Muertos. The altars, which will remain in the park all week long, will focus on themes that impact local communities. Altar subjects range from personal stories that celebrate families and lost loved ones, to more contemporary expressions of current affairs and community challenges, such as gang violence, immigration reform and education. Saturday, 7-9 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Free.
October 30: Join the workshop to make Giant Sugar Skulls, Small Sugar Skulls, Chocolate Skulls, Candy Skulls, plus paint and decorate paper mache skulls and drawings. Sunday, noon -4 p.m. $58 per person, sign up on their website. Register early, this one fills up quickly!
October 30: Celebrate the Day of the Dead with restaurant food samples, an altar exhibition, kids’ zone, Aztec and folklorico dancers, and live music. Sunday, 3-9 p.m. Free admission.
October 30: The City of Santa Monica presents its fifth annual Day of the Dead. The family-friendly event focuses on the traditions that are part of this celebration of life and death and offers a variety of ways for participants to discover the meaning, philosophy and history of the day. The event begins with an opening procession and ceremonial blessing led by Ketzaliztli dancers, featuring traditional Mexican music and Day of the Dead inspired folk tales, myths, legends, and personal stories. Craft workshops include offerings for loved ones who have passed, calavera masks and adding stories of loved ones to the communal memory wall. There will also be a special guest appearance by La Catrina, the satirical and elegant female skeleton. Fresh tamales, tacos, pan de muerto and aquas frescas will be available for purchase. Sunday, noon – 4 p.m. Free admission and bike valet. Woodlawn Cemetery.
October 30: Celebrate departed loved ones with mariachi bands, a classic car show, ballet folklorico performances, Aztec entertainers, arts and crafts, traditional food and vendor booths. Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Find schedule on their website. Free admission. Parking, $5; shuttles at El Camino High School. Mission San Luis Rey.
October 30: The Downey Theatre hosts the annual Día de los Muertos Art Festival, indoor/outdoor vendors, decorate Calaveras, Papel Picado demos, alter contest, art exhibition, live music, ballet folklorico,Aztec dancers, food trucks and more. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Free.
November 1: Celebrate Día De Los Muertos at Pretend City! The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed away. Visit Pretend City to participate in fun, vibrant activities that will teach your children about this traditionally Mexican holiday. Tuesday, check their website for schedule of activities. Included with admission.
November 2: Celebrate the joyous tradition of Mexico’s most famous holiday at 24th Street Theatre’s free annual block party, with music, dance, homemade tamales, face painting, crafts booths and a graveyard where families can make their own altars for their departed loved ones. Bring a flashlight for the 5 p.m. procession! Wednesday, 5-10 p.m. Free. 24th Street Theatre.
November 6: Visitors will enjoy the festivities while making decorated sugar skulls and whimsical Calaveras masks, as well as traditional face painting. *A total of 500 people are admitted on Target Free Sundays. Sunday, Session times are 1-2:45pm and 3:15-5pm.
November 6: The Muckenthaler presents Latino arts and crafts, altars, art workshops, food vendors and live music! Plus performers, regional dance groups, and festive activities. Stroll the Muckenthaler Cultural Center grounds and celebrate this special event! Sunday, noon -4 p.m. Free admission.
November 6: Join a celebration of life and honor dearly departed loved ones. Leave a note of love on the beautiful ofrenda (memorial offering) for that person or pet that continues to be loved and missed. Then celebrate life with music, dance and art with the popular Mariachi Kids, Las Estrellas Folklorico of the Orange County School of the Arts, Xipe Totec Danza Azteca, Classical guitarist Joel Aceves and Estudiatina del Sol. Decorate sugar skulls and calavera masks and create many other day of the dead art projects while enjoying hot Mexican chocolate and pan de muerto. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Free admission