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Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Events

Day of the Dead or el Día de los Muertos in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls or spirits of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion. Day of the Dead celebrates life and includes food and drinks.

For more local seasonal events check out our Halloween and Fairs & Festivals event pages.

Dia De Los Muertos (Day Of The Dead) Events

When is Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2, though other days, such as October 31 or November 6, may be included depending on the local traditions. Day of the Dead celebrations in Orange County often include other days leading up to Halloween and after.

Below are the many places that celebrate el Día de los Muertos in Orange County.


Disneyland/California Adventure

1313 Disneyland Drive. Anaheim, CA 92802

Date/Time: September 1 to November 2, 2023

El Zócalo Park in Frontierland will feature iconic skeleton figurines called calacas—depicting a trio of mariachi musicians—as well as brightly colored flowers and other decorative items seen in traditional ofrendas (offering) on the Day of the Dead. You can also dine at nearby Rancho del Zócalo Restaurante. Valid parking ticket required.

Plaza de la Familia at California Adventure celebrates the Spirit of Día de Los Muertos with the Mexican Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) where you can post personal messages to your loved ones on the Memory Wall. Mexican food will be served and mariachi concerts will perform on the bandstand at the Paradise Garden Grill. A Musical Celebration of Coco will also include folklórico dancers in authentic costumes and ofrendas while they perform.

Downtown Anaheim Community Center Day Of The Dead

Pearson Park: 400 N. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim

Date/Time: Friday, November 3, 2023 | 5PM – 9:30PM

Anaheim presents a night of community and culture featuring live mariachi, crafts, altars, food, and vendors. Bring your own chair or blanket and enjoy the celebration.

Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center

241 S. Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805

Date/Time: Thursday, November 2, 2023 | 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The Muzeo invites visitors to get into the spirit of the season with this free, family-friendly outdoor movie. Bring a chair and blankets to bundle up with and enjoy watching a movie under the stars. Seasonal drinks and food will be available for purchase, bring a picnic from home, or get dinner from one of the many local restaurants. Additional activities like crafts and contests will begin at 5:00 PM and the movie begins at sunset.

Muzeo Outdoor Movie Night

Thursday, November 2, 2023 – Screening of Coco in Carnegie Plaza & Courtyard

Buena Park

Buena Park Elks Lodge

7212 Melrose Street Buena Park, CA 90621

Date/Time: Sunday, October 29, 2023

Join this event that will feature a lively marketplace of local vendors offering unique crafts, one-of-a-kind treasures, and delicious eats. The highlight of the event is the Día de Muertos exhibit, where you can pay homage to loved ones who have passed away. Admire and learn about the beautifully decorated altar adorned with marigolds, candles, and photographs, symbolizing the connection between the living and the deceased.

Costa Mesa

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Date/Time: Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Mexican-American singer Lila Downs will perform a Dia De Los Muertos concert that will reflect the cultures of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the U.S.

El Dia De Los Muertos at Lions Park

570 W 18th St., 570 West 18th Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Date/Time: Saturday, October 28, 2023

Martin Espino will present a cultural, historical and musical performance about El Dia De Los Muertos.

Dia De Los Muertos at Hana Field

427 Anton Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Thursday & Friday, November 2 & 3 | 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Saturday, November 4 | 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Celebrate Dia De Los Muertos at Hana Field in Costa Mesa. This 3-day event includes an Ofrenda Altar, craft vendors, live entertainment, flower picking, Mexican food, and face painting.


Forest Lawn Memorial Park

4471 Lincoln Avenue, Cypress, CA 90630

Date/Time: Sunday, October 29, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Forest Lawn Cypress will host a celebration with an altar, cultural expressions, a Folkloric dance group and mariachi music.


The Muckenthaler Center Día de los Muertos Festival

1201 W Malvern Ave, Fullerton, CA 92833

Date/Time: Sunday, October 29, 2023 | 12:00-4:00 p.m.

The Día de los Muertos Festival at the Muckenthaler will feature festive activities for the whole family, live music, local artisans, and arts and crafts for kids.

Huntington Beach

Bella Terra

7777 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach

Date/Time: Friday, November 3, 2023 from 5PM – 10PM

The Dia De Los Muertos Maker Market features over 40 artisans and vendors, live entertainment, art installations, face painting, and kids’ activities and games. Puesto will be there with complimentary guac, chips, and salsa. This fun cultural event will be on the green in front of the movie theater.


Irvine Barclay Theater

Date/Time: November 2, 2023 from 4:00PM – 8:30PM
Open to the public

Irvine Barclay Theater hosts a free celebratory event with traditional rituals by Toyaacan Danza Azteca and Ballet Folklorico de UCI in the plaza. Join the virtual community altar, enjoy a Mariachi concert by the Mariachi Divas, and visit the face-painting and sugar skull crafts booths. 

More Events

Los Alamitos

St. Isidore Historical Plaza

10961 Reagan St, Los Alamitos, CA 90720

Date/Time: Saturday, Oct 28, 2023 | 2:00 PM – 9:00 PM

St Isidore Historical Plaza‘s Día de los Muertos celebration features an altar display contest, costume contest, face painting, Folkloric dancing, live music, and delicious food and drinks. Visitors are invited to get creative and participate in the creation of Altars to honor loved ones who have passed on and come together as a community to embrace this celebration of life. Participants are invited to reserve an altar display space.

Mission Viejo

Dia de Los Muertos Fiesta

Norman P. Murray Community Center | 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Date/Time: Saturday, Oct 28, 2023 | 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Join the celebration of Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and delve into its history and cultural significance, embracing the rich traditions and festivities. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere with Mariachi entertainment, captivating Folkloric Dance, artistic face painting, and engaging craft activities and workshops. Wander through the multi-cultural artisan market, indulging in the authenticity of various food, beverages, beer, wine, and Sangria for a true cultural experience.

Newport Beach

Mosaic Day of the Dead Tile

Sherman Library | 2647 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, CA 92625

Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct 24, 2023 | 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

David Jarvinen hosts a Sugar Skull mosaic workshop guiding participants through the process of creating captivating mosaic tiles that are 6″ x 6″ square with an embossed skull design. 


Orange County FamilySearch Center

675 S. Yorba, Orange, CA

Date/Time: Saturday, November 4, 2023 | 2PM to 6PM

Tour the Orange County FamilySearch Center to learn how to find your ancestors while enjoying Mexican cultural activities honoring the dead with music, singing, dancing, and calaveras (face painting). Authentic Mexican food will be available to purchase. Fun for the whole family! If you would like to share your artistic talents to create chalk paintings, exhibit your family photos and keepsakes in altares (altar
displays), or learn more about the event, contact [email protected].

Musco Center for the Arts Ofrenda Ballet Folklorico

One University Dr, Orange, CA 92866

Date/Time: Sunday, October 22, 2023 | 3PM

Celebrate Día de Los Muertos with the nation’s premier Mexican folk dance company, Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles, and the musicians of Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar, led by three-time Grammy award-winner Jimmy Cuéllar.

Moreno’s Restaurant

4328 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869

Date/Time: Typically 3 nights Oct 29/30 and Nov 1st.

Moreno’s Restaurant holds an annual el Día de los Muertos celebration with Folklorico, Mariachi, Veracruz Music featuring Danzantes del Sol. Over dinner and drinks there is a celebration with face painting, treats and giveaway prizes.

San Clemente

San Clemente Day of the Dead Celebration

Max Berg Plaza Park | 1100 Calle Puente, San Clemente, CA

Date/Time: Thursday, November 2, 2023 | 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

This free, public event celebrates Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos with a special event to remember friends and family with an altar and ofrenda, traditional sugar skull crafts, face painting, Ballet Folklorico, Danza Azteca performance, local non-profit organization booths, traditional food and drinks, and a DJ throughout the event.

San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

26801 Old Mission Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Date/Time: October 1 – November 2, 2023

The Mission will have a Dia De Los Muertos Altar will be on display daily through November 2nd. Remember your loved ones by placing their name on the altar or ofrenda.

Inn At The Mission San Juan Capistrano

26907 Old Mission Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Date/Time: November 1, 2023 | 5-8PM

The Inn At The Mission celebrates Dia De Los Muertos with a three course meal, face painting, hand crafted cocktails, and other celebratory activities. Book ahead to reserve your spot.

Santa Ana

El Centro Cultural de Mexico Noche de Altares

837 N Ross St, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Date/Time: Sunday, November 4, 2023 | 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Since 2002, El Centro Cultural de México has celebrated Noche de Altares, or a Night of Altars. This community based Día de los Muertos celebration honors the ancient traditions of the festival, bringing community members together through art, culture, and compassion.

Bower’s Museum Mexican Day of the Dead Festival

2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706

Date/Time: Sunday, November 5 | 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Date/Time: Mexican Sugar Skulls Decorating | Thursday, October 26, 2023

Celebrate with the Bowers Museum during their free family festival held in the Key Courtyard. Enjoy live performances, ofrenda, art making, face painting and more.

Heritage Museum

3101 W Harvard St, Santa Ana, 92704

Date/Time: Friday, October 27, 2023 | 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

The HMOC community ofrenda is a free Día de los Muertos celebration featuring sugar skull and altar building workshops, music, performances, food trucks, face painting and much more all under the stars on the Heritage Museum’s gazebo lawn. 

Viva La Vida Día de los Muertos Celebration

4th Street & Birch Street, Santa Ana, CA

Date/Time: Saturday, November 4, 2023, 2:00 PM 10:00 PM

The Día de los Muertos event features live music, entertainment, and altars for people to honor their loved oneswith photos, flowers, foods and candles. At sunset, La Catrina, the skeletal symbol for Dia de los Muertos, will visit the altars to light the first candle.

Viva La Vida Santa Ana is a nonprofit based in Santa Ana whose mission is to expose the beauty and liveliness of Latino culture by producing a free, family-friendly event every year for Día de los Muertos

Dia De Los Muertos at Main Place Mall

Main Place Mall: 2800 N Main Street, Santa Ana

Date/Time: Saturday, October 28, 2023 | 2PM – 5PM

MainPlace Mall’s Dia De Los Muertos event features cultural performances in Macy’s Court, including:

Enjoy live performances, beautiful face painting, a sugar skull decorating workshop, an illustration station, live painting, kid crafts and the first 300 children to visit the welcome table in Macy’s Court will receive a swag bag filled with goodies and treats. An exclusive art station in the MyPerks Lounge will teach attendees to weave a DIY basket using paper plates, yarn/twine, and other materials that will be provided to participants (while supplies last).

Tianguis Dia De Los Muertos

Tianguis Market | 325 E 4th Street, Santa Ana

Date/Time: Sunday, October 29, 2023 | 5PM to 10PM

This event at the Tainguis market includes an Aztec Danza Ceremony, Catrina Model Runway, Remembrance Altar, face painting, mariachi music, free kid’s Halloween costumes and more.

Fairhaven Memorial Park Dia de los Muertos

1702 Fairhaven Avenue Santa Ana, CA 92705

Date/Time: Thursday, November 2,2023 | 11AM to 3PM

Silverado Canyon

OC Wine & Spirit Fest Día de los Muertos

Giracci Vineyards & Farms | 16162 Jackson Ranch Rd. N, Silverado, CA 92676

Date/Time: Sunday, November 5, 2023

Celebrate Día de los Muertos at The OC Wine & Spirit Fest which will feature wine, craft beer, spirits, hard seltzers, and more with an emphasis on his

Mexican restaurants

Too many to list but check your favorite local Mexican restaurants for celebrations and activities leading up to and during Día de los Muertos.

Churches & Cemeteries

Many churches and cemeteries throughout Orange County hold Día de los Muertos celebrations. Inquire with your local church or cemetery for details.

Most cemeteries allow ofrendas at the gravesites of loved ones and some have celebrations as well. Past celebrations have happened at Fairhaven Memorial Park, Anaheim Cemetery, Holy Sepulcher, Westminster Memorial Park, Forest Lawn, plus many others.

OC District Cemeteries

OC District Cemeteries including Anaheim Cemetery, Santa Ana Cemetery and El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest welcome visitors to build personal ofrendas on the gravesites of loved ones. Ofrendas may be placed on gravesites during extended holiday hours beginning Thursday, October 19th through Tuesday, November 14th. Only light flower clean-ups will occur during this extended holiday period.

Beginning Thursday, November 2, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. until supplies run out, Santa Ana Cemetery office will be handing out Dia de los Muertos Craft kits for children, small bouquets of marigolds, and Pan de Muertos.  

OC Libraries & OC Parks

Many Orange County libraries have hosted activities including sugar skull decorating and learning about the history of Día de los Muertos. Past libraries that have held events include Costa Mesa Donald Dungan library, Garden Grove Main Library, Garden Grove Chapman Library, El Modena Library, Tustin Library. View the OC Public Library calendar for upcoming events.

OC Parks such as Irvine Regional Park have also had programs and events in the past. View the OC Parks calendar for upcoming events.

We will update new events as they are announced. Known past events have taken place at Pretend City, Segerstrom, La Habra Children’s Museum, Anaheim Marketplace, Saddleback College Art Department, Fullerton College and many more.

About Día de los Muertos

Officially in México, November 1 is dedicated to All the Saints (Todos los Santos), and November 2 to the Faithful Dead (los Fieles Difuntos). Most traditions believe that November 1st is dedicated to deceased children briefly returning home, and November 2nd to deceased adults briefly returning home.

Day of the Dead is not a sad or morbid occasion, rather it is a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on. 

Traditions include parades, festivals, and gathering at cemeteries to enjoy traditional foods like pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and calaveras (sugar skulls). People dress up in eye-catching costumes, and colorful floral decorations. Symbolic cempasuchil (marigolds), which bloom at this time of year, lend a special fragrance to the altar. Cemeteries are common because it is believed the dead return there first.

Ofrenda Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead Offerings)

An ofrenda is the offering placed in an altar during a Día de los Muertos celebration. A common format for an ofrenda contains three levels or tiers:

  • Top Tier: Identifies the dead person who is being invited to the altar, frequently with photos of the deceased, along with images of various saints, statuettes of the Virgin Mary, crucifixes, etc.
  • Second Tier: Items are placed to encourage the dead to feel at home and welcome: the deceased person’s favorite food items might go there, including mole, candy, pan dulce, and sweet bread called pan de muerto.
  • Bottom Tier: Lit candles, and might include a washbasin, mirror, soap, and a towel so that the spirit of the deceased can see and refresh themselves upon arrival at the altar. 
  • Calaveras and bright orange and cempazuchitl are placed throughout the altar.

Day of the Dead vs Halloween

Day of the Dead and Halloween have common features but are two distinct holidays and it’s definitely not “Mexican Halloween”. Halloween, also called “All Hallow’s Eve”, does not come from the USA, as most people assume, but from Ireland. Day of the Dead is an ever-evolving holiday that traces its earliest roots to the Aztec people in what is now central Mexico. 

Though both holidays reminisce the departed, Day of the Dead is focused on remembering departed relatives and friends, especially their ancestors.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31, whereas el Día de los Muertos is celebrated for a full three days, from October 31 to November 2.

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Monique McArthur
Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.