Want to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, aka Day of the Dead? There’s been a lot of events this month but Nov. 2nd is the most important day, when it is believed that the souls of the “faithfully departed” return to visit their living family members.

Though events-wise, it has been melded with All Saints Day on Nov. 1st and even Halloween on Oct. 31st, now is the time to make an altar with offerings (ofrendas) for your departed loved one. If you already did, Tues., Nov. 2nd, became the focus, to honor deceased loved ones with gifts, food, remembrance and reverence.

Altars at Grand Parks Downtown Dia de los Muertos annual commemoration photo by Michelle Moro for Grand Park

(Courtesy Grand Park)

As we have written before, the commercialization and appropriation of the holiday has become a point of contention for some Latinos in recent years. Just as these issues for other marginalized communities have been reconsidered, questions have arisen about what’s OK in terms of products (everyone from Target to the 99 Cents Store carries floral-adorned skeleton merch alongside spooky Halloween stuff) and costume (if Indian garb is off limits now for those not belonging to the culture, should calavera face paint be as well?).  Day of the Dead today can and should inspire conversation, which, no matter where you stand on these questions, can at least, lead to cultural understanding.

A 22calavera catrina22 themed altar by LOUD and LA Family AIDS Network at Grand Parks Downtown Día de los Muertos 2021 photo by Michelle Moro for Grand Park

(Courtesy Grand Park)

The thematic similarities and timing so close to Halloween coupled with the celebration landing on a Tuesday this year, meant that most Muertos events occurred this past weekend. But for those of us who go all out during Halloween, it was hard to attend everything we’d have liked, including Hollywood Forever and Grand Park’s beautiful events (pictured here).

Below, we spotlight a few things you can still check out!
Guillermo Morales Vitola

Return of Quetzalcoatl at Hollywood Forever (Criteria Entertainment/Guillermo Morales Vitola)

This weekend (Updated):

  • Antonio Pelayo Productions events are always the biggest and best, and El Velorio goes even bigger for its 11th anniversary. The 21+ Day of the Dead Festival, hosted Alysha Del Valle and Danny Trejo, offers two stages with performances by El Dasa, Palenke Soultribe, La Junta, Twixxy, Amoraa, Tarah New and more. Aztec Dancers, mariachis, Ballet Folklorico, DJs and a fashion show by Loretta Vampz round out the amusements. Plus, there’s an art exhibit (curated by Isaac Pelayo), a lowrider show, altar & bike display by Biker Chicks Inc. y mucho mas. Sat., Nov 6. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. at Pico Rivera Sports Arena. Tickets and info here.


  • Dia de Muertos with La Sonora Dinamita (live from Columbia) welcomes face masks and costumes for their event, with two rooms of dancing to DJs and live music at Sage Restaurant and Lounge. Fri. Nov 5 & Sat. Nov. 6. 6511 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier. Tickets and info at sagewhittier.com.
  • Wicked Skatewear and Blood + Thunder host a Dia De Los Muertos Skate Party with vendors, a communal altar, roller skating, drinks and DJs. Sat., Nov 6 from 8 p.m.-Midnight. Wicked HB, 7098 Edinger Ave. Huntington Beach. wickedskatewear.com




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