Does Mexico Celebrate Halloween

Does Mexico Celebrate Halloween? Here’s How!

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Halloween began with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, far away from Mexico. And yet, many people still ask: Does Mexico celebrate Halloween?

As a travel blogger that lives in Mexico, I’ve seen firsthand how Halloween is celebrated in Mexico and how it differs from what you might be used to in the United States and other parts of the world.

In this post, you’ll learn more about how Mexico celebrates Halloween and everything to expect during the spooky festivities all around the country.

Plus, I’ll share more information about the more culturally significant Mexican holiday known as “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) and how it differs from traditional Halloween celebrations.

Ready to find out about Halloween in Mexico? Let’s get started!

Does Mexico celebrate Halloween?

Yes, Halloween is celebrated in most parts of Mexico. Due to general globalization and American media, Halloween celebrations have become more popular and widespread in Mexico in recent years.

Young children do dress up in costumes and say “Dulce o Truco” (Trick or Treat) or “Queremos Halloween” (We Want Halloween) while trick-or-treating.

However, it isn’t as popular as the more culturally significant Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which takes place on November 1-2nd.

Day of the Dead Catrina in Mexico

When does Mexico celebrate Halloween?

Halloween is celebrated on October 31st in Mexico. Halloween traditions in Mexico are similar to the United States.

Families celebrate Halloween by dressing up and trick-or-treating in the evening on October 31st, much like celebrations in the United States.

However, the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is celebrated shortly after, from November 1st to November 2nd.

Dia de los Muertos is much more popular and is seen as a much larger celebration throughout Mexico.

Between the rising popularity of Halloween and the immense importance of the Day of the Dead, the end of October is an exciting time of year.

Ofrenda for Day of the Dead in Mexico

Why does Mexico celebrate Halloween?

Dia de los Muertos has reigned king as Mexican culture’s most lively and memorable festivities.

However, the idea of Halloween has quickly spread and gained favor among Mexican children and the local people.

The rise of Halloween can be primarily attributed to pop culture and the popularity of American media.

You might notice that Halloween is more well-known and widely celebrated in American-influenced communities.

Halloween in Mexico

How does Mexico celebrate Halloween?

Halloween traditions in Mexico may look slightly different, depending on where you are in the country.

For example, states in Northern Mexico may be more influenced by American culture and media due to the proximity.

Additionally, coastal cities like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta often cater to international visitors. Therefore, they tend to embrace Halloween as a festive occasion with parties and costumes.

Where I live, in Playa del Carmen, kids will dress up and go trick-or-treating down the lively 5th Avenue.

And it’s common for many of the bars in Playa del Carmen to host Halloween parties with drink specials and costume contests.

On the other hand, communities with more indigenous people are much less likely to have elaborate festivals and Halloween celebrations.

Halloween Trick-or-Treating in Mexico

What is the Mexican version of Halloween?

Many people believe the Day of the Dead is the Mexican Halloween, but they have very different origins, meanings, and histories.

Day of the Dead holds deep cultural significance and is a time to remember and show respect to lost family members. People believe that family members return from the spirit world during this celebration.

Day of the Dead festivities often include visiting graves to clean and decorate, creating altars for the departed souls, and participating in processions.

Dia de los Muertos Symbols

What’s the difference between Halloween and Dia de Muertos in Mexico?

Halloween is more of a commercialized holiday that focuses purely on entertainment.

On the other hand, the Day of the Dead holds significant cultural and historical roots and is known as a time of reunion, remembrance, and honoring the cycle of life and death.

Halloween celebrations involve laughter, fun, and costumes emphasizing scary or spooky activities.

Day of the Dead is not meant to be spooky, like Halloween. Instead, it focuses on the celebration of life and death during a time when the deceased can return from their final resting place for the festivities.

During the Day of the Dead, loved ones are remembered and cherished, while the connection with ancestors is nurtured and safeguarded.

Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda

How does Mexico celebrate Dia de los Muertos?

Different parts of Mexico may have varying Dia de Muertos traditions. But most Day of the Dead celebrations involve tiered home altars, parades, different kinds of food, symbolic decorations, and family time.

Symbols of Dia de Muertos

Certain symbols are practically universal around Mexico during Day of the Dead celebrations. Here are a few icons you can expect to see:

  • Tiered Altars (Ofrendas): Tiered Day of the Dead altars are constructed in homes, cemeteries, and public spaces. They usually consist of several layers, with a photo of family members often placed on the top tier. The lower layers are usually filled with offerings of traditional foods, drinks, and personal belongings for the family members to enjoy when they return to this realm.
Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda
  • Marigolds (Cempasúchil): Marigolds are thought to help guide the spirits of loved ones back to their families during the celebrations, with their vibrant oranges, yellows, and powerful aroma.
Marigolds Dia de los Muertos Symbol
  • Shredded Paper (Papel Picado): These are squares or rectangles of colorful, thin paper with intricate designs cut out. They are used for decorations and adornments throughout Day of the Dead festivities. They are said to represent the delicacy and fragility of our existence.
Papel Picado Shredded Paper for Day of the Dead
  • Sugar Skulls (Calaveras de Azúcar): The iconic sugar skulls represent the spirits of the departed. Sugar skulls are often personalized and placed on tiered altars.
Sugar Skills for Day of the Dead
  • Bread of the Dead (Pan de Muerto): Bread of the Dead is a traditional sweet bread, typically round or oval-shaped with bone-like shapes lining the top. It is offered on alters as a symbol of hospitality, feeding the souls that journey to return to the world of the living. Additionally, people eat the Pan de Muerto to maintain a connection with the deceased and nourish the spirit.
Pan de Muerto
  • La Catrina: The image of La Catrina has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the Day of the Dead. It is an image of an elegantly dressed female skeleton wearing a fancy hat adorned with flowers.
Day of the Dead Catrina
  • Calacas: Calacas are skeletal figures or figurines that represent the departed souls. These whimsical skeletons are often depicted engaging in joyous activities, like dancing, while wearing colorful clothing.
Day of the Dead Altar with Skeleton


The cemetery is integral to the Dead of the Dead, but not because of the spooky environment. Instead, families visit the cemetery where loved ones are buried with “ofrendas” or offerings.

The departed souls are believed to return to us during the Day of the Dead celebrations, so families meet them at the cemetery to share food and other personal belongings.

Dia de Muertos Cemetery

Parades and Cultural Celebrations

Parades and cultural celebrations are integral to the vibrant spirit of the Day of the Dead.

Most major cities, and even small towns, host large parades and gatherings that showcase the traditions and customs of this time of year.

The La Catrina Parade is a popular event where people paint their faces and partake in lively dances and songs.

Day of the Dead Parade

Another notable Mexican festival is the Festival of Life and Death Traditions, which takes place at Xcaret Park in the Riviera Maya region.

This event is one of the best ways to celebrate Day of the Dead in Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Tulum, and is an immersive experience into every aspect of the captivating traditions of Día de Muertos.

Festival of Life and Death Traditions at Xcaret Park
The Festival of Life and Death Traditions at Xcaret Park

When is Day of the Dead in Mexico?

The Day of the Dead is celebrated between November 1st and November 2nd, encompassing All Saints Day and All Souls Day. However, celebrations generally begin about a week before the Day of the Dead.

  • All Saints Day (November 1st) honors deceased or dead children.
  • All Souls Day (November 2nd) honors deceased adults.

All Souls Day, on November 2nd, is the official Day of the Dead.

Best Places to Celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico

There are many different lively cities to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Here are some of the best places to immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities and rich traditions:

Oaxaca City

Oaxaca City is one of Mexico’s best places to celebrate the Day of the Dead. This central Mexican city is renowned for its elaborate and fun celebrations for the Day of the Dead.

In the evenings leading up to November 2nd, families and communities gather at cemeteries to hold night vigils known as velas.

People light candles, sing songs, and tell stories of their loved ones while cleaning and decorating the graves.

Oaxaca City also hosts buzzing parades stretching from one end of the city to another, through all public squares, filled with wonderful local music and contagious energy.

Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca Mexico

Mexico City

As the largest city in Mexico and as the capital city, it should be no surprise that Halloween in Mexico City is a real party. For this reason, it is one of the best places to celebrate the Day of the Dead!

Mexico City hosts a mega ofrenda in the Zócalo (main square), a colossal altar that showcases the symbolic offerings.

The ofrenda consists of four large altars arranged in one of the cardinal points (North, South, East, and West).

Mexico City also hosts a sizable grand parade called the Parade of Las Catrinas. The parade winds through Mexico City’s streets, displaying traditional music, dancing, and joyful celebrations.

The first Day of the Dead parade was not until 2016, but it has become quite an event.

Dia de los Muertos Parade in Mexico City


If you want to venture toward the Yucatan peninsula, consider visiting Merida for the Day of the Dead celebrations.

Merida is a large, colorful, and vibrant city to begin with. During this time of year, Merida becomes an even more mesmerizing city with their unique twist on the Day of the Dead.

Merida celebrates with large altars scattered in all the public squares within the city. They also have extravagant decorations, unique Yucatan cuisine, and warm weather, even in October!

Dia de los Muertos Catrina in Merida Mexico

Halloween in Mexico: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Halloween in Mexico:

Is Halloween a big deal in Mexico?

Halloween in Mexico is not a huge deal but it is becoming more popular. You’ll likely find families and children trick-or-treating up and down popular avenues, dressed in spooky Halloween costumes.

Is Halloween different in Mexico?

People celebrating Halloween in Mexico celebrate similarly to the United States or other countries. However, Mexico does celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd.

The Day of the Dead differs entirely from Halloween and comes with rituals and Mexican traditions tightly intertwined with the local culture and local people.

What do Mexicans do on October 31st?

Halloween festivities on October 31st in Mexico often include costume parties, trick-or-treating in shopping malls or busy neighborhoods, and sometimes themed bar events.

Halloween is not a traditional Mexican holiday, so celebrations might vary across different parts of Mexico.

Do kids in Mexico trick-or-treat?

Yes, trick-or-treating has become increasingly popular among young children in Mexico, especially in urban areas and communities influenced by American culture.

Some families even allow their children to trick-or-treat for three days, starting on October 31st.

What do they say in Mexico instead of “trick or treat”?

Many children chant “Queremos Halloween” which translates to “We Want Halloween”! You might also hear “Dulce o truco” (trick or treat) or “Me da mi calaverita” (Give me my little skull).

What is the name of Halloween in Mexico?

Halloween in Mexico is usually just called “Halloween” but it may also be referred to as “Día de las Brujas” (Day of the Witches).

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an entirely different holiday and tradition celebrated after Halloween on November 1st and 2nd.

Catrina Face Painting for Day of the Dead

Conclusion: Halloween in Mexico Guide

So, do they celebrate Halloween in Mexico? Yes, Mexico celebrates Halloween.

Thanks to globalization and American media influence, candy-filled Mexican Halloween traditions have become more popular throughout Mexico in past years.

However, it’s still not as popular as the deep-rooted Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

While Halloween has found its place in Mexican culture, it’s essential to recognize and appreciate the cultural depth and significance of the Day of the Dead, which remains an integral part of Mexico’s identity and heritage.

Hopefully, now that you’re armed with all the knowledge and insights around Halloween in Mexico, you can confidently take part or simply appreciate the festive holiday in Mexico!