Macaroni Kid - Día de los Muertos in Ventura County

In Commemoration of Deceased Friends and Family Members Celebrate Locally

By Informational Post October 27, 2022

"A day to welcome and honor the departed who are said to come back to walk among the living on this day." This event will be celebrate next week  in commemoration of deceased friends and family members. It is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by those of Mexican heritage throughout the world.

While this holiday is typically held around the same time as Halloween, it is its own separate holiday with its own traditions and intentions. While Halloween is a spooky type of holiday, Día de los Muertos is a celebration of life.

Día de los Muertos originates back to pre-Hispanic times with the indigenous peoples the Aztec, Maya, Toltec, and other Nahua people. These pre-Hispanic cultures considered mourning the dead to be disrespectful. They saw the dead as still being members of the family, who came alive through memory and spirit.  

People make an ofrenda, or altar, at cemeteries and their private homes as an homage to the dead. The ofrenda is different from altars meant for praying. Instead, the ofrenda is meant to welcome the dead back to the land of the living. These altars may include the deceased loved one's photos, as well as their favorite incense, candles, foods, and other items from when they were alive. These items together are meant to help attract the souls to visit the living in celebration. Ofrendas are often decorated with marigolds or the flor de muerto, which translates to "flower of the dead." Marigolds are often scattered from the ofrenda to the gravesite as a way to guide the dead back to their place of rest.

Día de los Muertos Local Celebrations:

- OCTOBER 30 @ 1pm to 4pm : Dia de Los Muertos at the Museum of Ventura County

- OCTOBER 31 @ 12pm to 3pm  : Día de los Muertos Community Celebration

- NOVEMBER 5 @ 4pm to 10pm -  OPACC Dia de Los Muertos 

- NOVEMBER 1-3 : Dia de los Muertos

Those returning from the land of the dead are believed to work up quite an appetite along their journey, so families often leave out the dead’s favorite foods as well as some other more common traditional dishes.

Pan de muerto — bread of the dead — is a sweet bread with a little bit of anise. There are many different variations across Mexico, including one in Oaxaca City where they add a face, or caritas, in the center.

Sugar candy is molded into the shape of skulls in celebration of Día de los Muertos. These started in the 17th century with Italian missionaries. This sugar art is often colorful and can vary in size as well as complexity.

Day of the Dead is a celebration of happiness as you remember loved ones that have passed on. It is also a recognition of the cycle of life. While this holiday dates back almost 3,000 years, many American audiences first got their taste of Muertos by watching Disney’s highly successful animated film, Coco.  

Día de los Muertos is often misunderstood because it happens around the same time as Halloween and uses symbols such as skulls. But Día de los Muertos is a celebration of life — of the memories and bonds that tie us together that most certainly survive one’s death into the beyond. It is believed that for a brief 24 hours during Dia de los Muertos, loved ones who have died can be reunited with the living for a big celebration of life. 

This celebration is an energetic, colorful event designed to demonstrate love and respect for family members who have died. It's believed those who have died get to join in on the Día de los Muertos celebrations. Costumes, parades, and dancing are often a large part of the celebration.

In the 19th century, artist José Guadalupe Posada re-imagined what he believed Mictecacíhuatl, the Aztec goddess of the underworld, looked like as a female skeleton. His rendering is now known as the Calavera Catrina. 

“Todos somos calaveras,” meaning “we are all skeletons” is a quote often attributed to Posada. It means "we are all the same on the inside."

Today, people wear masks and face makeup in a colorful fashion to mimic the Calavera Catrina.  

Here is a fun craft you can do with the kids to celebrate! PASTA SKELETONS!!

You Will Need:

  • Black Card Stock
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • White Chalk
  • Dried Pasta: Macaroni, Penne, Bow Ties and whatever else looks fun!
  • Halloween stickers (optional)


STEP 1: Use the white chalk to draw a skeleton onto the black card stock. 

STEP 2: Apply glue to the skeleton outline, adding additional glue as needed.

STEP 3: Glue the pasta onto the card stock, following the shape of the skeleton. 

STEP 4: Decorate with stickers and allow to dry. 

Learn more about Día de los Muertos at

To learn more with your family, please check out these resources: