Pan de muerto and other items arranged as an ofrenda during Day of the Dead festivities.
It’d be easy to think that a holiday called Day of the Dead would be a bit of a downer. But Día de los Muertos, as it’s called in Spanish, is a festive holiday celebrated in Mexico and several other Latin American countries on Nov. 1 and 2. It does focus on deceased ancestors, but in the spirit of family, remembrance and connection. Whether this holiday is part of your family tradition or not, we all have departed relatives and ancestral roots worth honoring.
Join a family Día de los Muertos celebration in the coming days. We’ve rounded up some great ideas here:
- Saturday, Oct. 22, 2–3 p.m.: Join KCLS online for instruction on how to draw a traditional Catrina head and learn about its origins. Free, ages 9 and older.
- Sunday, Oct. 23, 3–5 p.m.: Want to learn about some of the moving traditions of the Day of the Dead before attending one of the celebrations around town? Join a free online intro event that explains some common practices, including how to set up an altar. Free (donations welcome), ages 12 and older.
- Oct. 26–Nov. 2: For families from 1–9 p.m. (adults only after 9 p.m.), the Catrinas Festival promises to be the largest Day of the Dead event in the Puget Sound area. Held at Club Sur in downtown Seattle, festivities include live music, children’s workshops, face painting, food, and displays of traditional altars and art. Admission is $20 per person.
- Oct. 26– Nov. 9: Visit the Tacoma Art Museum any time during open hours to view the community-built ofrendas (altars) and tapete (sand painting). A celebration event takes place on Sunday, Nov. 6, noon–5 p.m. All events are included with regular admission ($14; ages 18 and younger free).
- Oct. 28–Nov. 6: Check out the Seattle Art Museum’s annual tapete (sand painting) exhibit and get creative with hands-on art projects. Free (does not include entry to galleries). To visit SAM’s galleries, admission is $13–$20; 14 and younger free.
- Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.: KiDiMu, the nickname of Bainbridge Island’s Kids Discovery Museum, hosts Día de los Muertos activities in its atrium all day. Kids can create butterfly wings for a mariposa procession and participate in sugar skull painting workshops. Workshops are included with admission but require advance registration. Museum admission is $9; ages 12 months and younger free.
- Saturday, Oct. 29, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m.: Celebrate the indigenous Mexican roots of Día de los Muertos at Calavera Collective’s celebration in Tacoma. Festivities kick off at Swan Creek Park at 11:30 a.m. with a blessing and procession, then moves to the Eastside Community Center at 1 p.m., where attendees can experience a community altar, food, tribal blessing and more. Free entry; food for purchase.
- Saturday, Oct. 29, 2:30–4:30 p.m.: Gather to remember departed loved ones at Kirkland’s Día de los Muertos event held at Peter Kirk Community Center. Enjoy traditional activities, food, music and more. Free.
- Saturday–Sunday, Oct. 29–30, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.: Seattle Center’s Festál series welcomes all to its annual Día de los Muertos Festival. Check out the community altars, performances, sugar skull workshops and more. Free.
- Oct. 29–Nov. 6: Stop by Bainbridge Island Museum of Art to view the beautiful ofrenda honoring those who have passed. Add your own memento to honor a departed loved one. On Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. you can enjoy additional activities at the community celebration. Free.
- Wednesday, Nov. 2, 5:30–8 p.m.: Gather photos and mementos of your loved ones to add to the community altar at the Spartan Recreation Center in Shoreline. Enjoy live music and crafts for children. A $5 donation is suggested for admission though all are welcome.
- Friday, Nov. 4, 5:30–8:30 p.m. Play games, listen to music, do crafts and feast on Mexican cuisine at Issaquah’s Día de los Muertos celebration at the Issaquah Community Center. Free; food for purchase.
- Friday, Nov. 4, 6–9 p.m.: The city of Burien hosts a community Día de los Muertos celebration where you can take part in the tradition of remembering ancestors with altars and offerings, traditional music, dance, food and more. Free.
- Saturday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Join Phinney Neighborhood Center’s Día de los Muertos fest with arts and crafts, food and drinks, live performances and a community altar. Bring along small photos or mementos of departed loved ones to add to the community altar. Free entry.
- Saturday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.: All are welcome to join El Centro de la Raza’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration. Experience the traditions of catrinas fashion, ofrendas, delicious food, music and more. Free.
- Nov. 5–6, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.: The Outlet Collection in Auburn hosts a celebration of Día de los Muertos. Come by to view the ofrenda display, make a themed craft, get your face painted and more. Free.