Día de los Muertos Events and Activities

Looking for a fun ways to celebrate the Day of the Dead this year? Our Día de los Muertos guide is here to help.

Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrated the first two days in November that commemorates lost loved ones with colorful ofrendas (altars), calacas (skeletons), calaveras (skulls), spoken word performances, food and more.

Families in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor celebrate this holiday at a ton of community events and in a wide variety of different ways. Here, we’ve rounded up some cool Day of the Dead events for 2021.

Plus, for families that don’t want to venture out, fun crafts and traditional recipes for you to try with your kids.

Local Events and Activities

During Día de los Muertos, families traditionally fill the day with dancing and meetings at their loved ones’ grave sites, but there are plenty of local groups that host events to commemorate the day, too.

Here is a selection of some of 2021 options:

Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos

Sept. 25-Nov. 7, 2021

  • Address: Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Cost: Free with museum admission; Free/residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County, $6-$14/others, $7/parking

The DIA and the Mexican Consulate of Detroit partner up to put on this display, which features ofrendas altars created by members of the community.

Día De Los Muertos

Oct. 29, 2021

This local Mexican restaurant is celebrating the day with face painting, giveaways and food and drink specials.

Kids in the Kitchen — Day of the Dead

Oct. 30, 2021

Kids ages 8-12 learn to make traditional Day of the Dead food including churros, dulce de leech and skull sugar cookies.

Day of the Dead Costume Party

Nov. 1, 2021

Celebrate the Day of the Dead at this local costume party. Drink and food specials, too.

Run of the Dead

Oct. 31, 2021

  • Address: Virtual
  • Cost: $20

This annual running event celebrates the Day of the Dead with 1-mile, 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full-marathon runs. Races can be completed anytime in October or November.

The décor

Traditional Day of the Dead celebrations include blue, pink, red, yellow, orange and other brightly colored sugar skulls, skeletons, flowers (particularly marigolds), an array of garlands and more.

You can purchase Day of the Dead decorations in most big box stores or on Etsy, but you can also make your own traditional décor. Pinterest is full of great ideas. Some of our favorites include:

You can also build your own Día de Mueros Ofrenda with this step-by-step guide from Tejas Made.

The food

Like many Mexican families, your family probably has recipes for traditional pan de muerto, tamales and other signature Day of the Dead dishes, but if you’re looking to mix things up this year, Food and Wine, Growing Up Bilingual, Delish and other blogs offer some delish Day of the Dead ideas. Some standouts include Candied Pumpkin and Oaxacan Hot Chocolate, Guatamalan Molletes, Day of the Dead Cookies and Margarita Punch.

This post was originally published in 2020 and is updated regularly.

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