Día de los Muertos Events in Chicagoland

Día de los Muertos has been the greatest crossover holiday we’ve seen in years. Rising to popularity briefly in 2014 with the movie, “The Book of Life,” it was then sky-rocketed into our hearts by the endearing Pixar film, “Coco.” Both movies are fun introductions to the holiday for all ages. 

The history of the celebrations is much richer, of course. Dating back to the Aztecs of Mexico, Día de Muertos (often back translated as Día de los Muertos) is a day for families to gather and remember their loved ones who have died. These celebrations include altars with photos and offerings, and often festivities at cemeteries. Locally, you’re likely to see bright-colored skull candy, painted skull faces and pan de muerto (a traditional Day of the Dead bread).

If you’re looking to get around the city and suburbs this year to learn about and enjoy Día de los Muertos, there is plenty to do.

Sugar Skull City – Downtown Aurora

When: Through Nov. 15

Where: Downtown Aurora, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Chicago

Aurora Downtown is honoring Day of the Dead, the beloved Mexican cultural tradition, with Dia de los Muertos art, activities, specials, videos, shopping, and more. Visit the event website for virtual activities, including coloring pages, DIY videos and an ofrenda competition. 

Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Arts & Crafts

When: Oct. 22

Hosted by: Back of the Yards Library 

Join Ms. Corina from Back of the Yards Library for a virtual Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead arts & crafts program where you learn how to make some of the traditional crafts for this special holiday. Kits for the program will be available to be picked up from the Back of the Yards Library starting Oc. 12, but they are not mandatory for the program. 

Calavera and Sugar Kits Online Workshop

When: Oct. 24

Hosted by: La tía de Arte & 312 Aligned

Join an online workshop hosted by Chicago-based La tía de Arte and 312 Aligned to make Dia de los Muertos crafts. Register early to pick up your craft kit or have it delivered before the event. 

Drive-by Ofrendas

When: Nov. 1

Where: Glenside Public Library, 25 E. Fullerton Ave, Glendale Heights

Participants are invited to drive by Camera Park, behind Glenside Library, and pay their respects as they view a collection of ofrendas – altars consisting of offerings made to welcome those who have passed – dedicated to Frida Kahlo and the victims of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Upon arrival at the park, guests will be greeted with traditional mariachi music by Chicago’s own Mariachi Monumental De México and directed to the ofrendas, as well as locations where they can drop off donation items for a food drive. Everyone donating a non-perishable food item will receive tasty candy treats.

Day of the Dead Xicágo (Virtual)

When: Nov. 1

Hosted by: National Museum of Mexican Art

Remember and celebrate loved ones from the comfort of home this year. Participants are encouraged to create ofrendas inside their home, and then invited to submit a photograph of a departedl oved one to be incorporated into a virtual photo memorial. The festivities will feature live musical performances, face painting demos and fun art activities to help decorate your ofrendas at home.


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This story originally published Oct. 10, 2018 and has been updated with the most recent information.

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