Dia de los muertos VS Halloween

Dia de los muertos VS Halloween

Yes, some cities in Northern Mexico do celebrate Halloween.  Kids get dressed up for school, there are Halloween parties and trick or treating. But the tradition throughout all of Mexico is to celebrate Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. 

So what’s the difference?


Halloween originally came from the Celtics, who marked the last day of October to signal the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the winter.  They also believed that on this day, the lines blurred between the living and the dead and that ghosts roamed free.

When Halloween reached the USA, it was colonial times and they celebrated by telling ghost stories and making mischief.  In the 1800s, there was a push to evolve Halloween into a community holiday which led to less scary ghost stories, more family parties and pumpkin carving.

Because of the proximity to Mexico, Northern cities do celebrate with kids wearing costumes to school, trick or treating at malls and Halloween parties in the evening.

Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday that honors the dead, recognizing that this is a part of the circle of life.  The living celebrate by throwing festivals and celebrations with food, drink, and games that their deceased loved ones enjoyed in order to awaken them from their eternal sleep and celebrate with them once again.

There are many different ways to celebrate the dead.  Many cities will throw parties, setup ofrendas (offerings) and have family activities or parades.  

The more traditional places will setup ofrendas in their own homes for their specific loved ones, make food or a drink to feed people who come to pay their respects by offering the family a candle or a marigold.  Other families will go directly to the graveyard to set up their ofrenda and spend the night with their loved ones.

Pan de Muerto

One of the best parts of Día de los Muertos is the Pan de Muerto (Death Bread AKA Day of the Dead Bread).  It’s delicious! All the Mexican bakeries, including the grocery stores have the bread available to buy.  It’s best coupled with some Atole (a hot, thick, creamy drink made from corn) or Champuraddo (Atole with chocolate).

Celebrating in Person

You want to check it out yourself?  Well, Tijuana isn’t the most traditional location for celebrating Día de los Muertos, but usually Turista Libre has a cemetery tour.  (Cemetery Trek Nov 1, 2019)

We celebrated in San Miguel de Allende and had a great time.  There were activities all over the city, music, parades, face painting and lots of people watching!  

But, there’s so many locations you can go to enjoy the festivities, check out this list of top locations to pick your favorite!  Make sure you check out all the activities ahead of time so you don’t miss anything and forewarning, you can’t be afraid of ghosts or cemeteries, otherwise it won’t be any fun!

Tell me about your Día de los Muertos experiences!