Things To Do

13 Ways to Celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Dallas

Scenes from the Dia de los Muertos celebration in downtown in 2019.
Scenes from the Dia de los Muertos celebration in downtown in 2019. Melissa Hennings
While it happens around the same time as Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is actually two days of celebrations (Nov. 1 and 2) that are a completely different concept from Halloween. While death is a central part of the holiday, it’s not sad or scary. It’s meant to honor and celebrate departed loved ones whose spirits can be invited to return for a visit.

In recent years, the parade and festival at City Hall has become something of a Dallas tradition.

Altars, or ofrendas, made for the holiday are often collections of a loved one’s favorite things, including their favorite foods and even bottles of liquor. When communities or families gather, they share traditional foods like pan de muertos and celebrate the lives of loved ones who’ve gone before.

Here in Dallas (and in neighboring cities) you can celebrate all or just a few parts of these traditions. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but a taste of what’s available so you can learn more about this fun fall holiday.
click to enlarge TUPPS' Day of the Day Juicy Pale Ale is an annual beer. - TUPPS BREWERY
TUPPS' Day of the Day Juicy Pale Ale is an annual beer.
TUPPS Brewery
Day of the Dead Juicy Pale Ale from TUPPS Brewery
721 Anderson St. (McKinney)

Four years ago, TUPPS Brewery created Day of the Dead Juicy Pale Ale to be offered at Denton’s Day of the Dead celebration. Each year, it’s brewed in remembrance of those who have passed. While this year’s event in Denton has been canceled, the production of this special beer has not. The artwork on these cans is a beautiful tribute to the spirit of Dia de los Muertos, and if they’re not collector's items, they should be. Get the cans in six-packs for a limited time at Whole Foods, Pogos Beverages, Total Wine and More plus many other locations found on the TUPPS beer finder. You can also try the light-bodied, dry-hopped and citrusy brew by the can on-premise in the taproom or order six-packs to go from the brewery.

Dia de los Muertos Paint and Sip at Miriam Cocina Latina
2015 Woodall Rodgers Freeway Dallas Arts District
6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28

Create an original sugar skull design on a T-shirt and sip a flight of El Jimador tequilas for a fun social evening. Cost is $35, and the T-shirt and all supplies are provided as well as light bites and appetizers. Visit Miriam Cocina Latina’s website for more information or call 214-855-5275 for reservations.

Toro Toro Fort Worth
200 Main St. (Sundance Square, Fort Worth)
Through Nov. 2

There are just a few days left of chef Richard Sandoval’s marigold-inspired dishes and beverages as part of the multi-experiential Dia de los Muertos celebration at Toro Toro. Dishes on the menu include a chile ancho confit with pork belly and mole rosa, braised short rib with an orange blossom purée and Espadín mezcal sauce and pumpkin cake crafted with caramel pumpkin, piloncillo sauce, spiced pepitas and cinnamon ice cream. Beverages include the Flor De Muertos Margarita made with Patrón Silver, agave, passion fruit, lime, and fresh marigolds, and the Marigold Margarita featuring Patrón Reposado, tonic, fresh marigold simple syrup and lime.

“We’ve chosen the marigold as the way we’re telling the story of Día de los Muertos this year, as it’s symbolically used during the holiday and believed that the color and smell help guide one’s ancestors,” chef Richard Sandoval said in a press release. “I invite everyone to taste our marigold-inspired specials, listen to our signature Día de los Muertos Spotify channel, and immerse yourself in one of my favorite holidays.” Reservations are available on OpenTable.

Dia De Los Muertos Oak Cliff at CocoAndre Chocolatier & Horchateria
508 W 7th St. (Bishop Arts)
5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30

The Oak Cliff Cultural Center has been teaming up with CocoAndre for an annual Dia de los Muertos event for several years, and it’s become a neighborhood favorite. This year’s free family-friendly event includes live music and dance performances by native Dallas groups as well as food, arts and crafts, artisan goods from local vendors, and more. There will also be a community altar where guests can place photos of their loved ones. While you’re there, you’ll want to check out their beautiful chocolates, especially the calavera and La Catrina designs. Visit the Facebook event page for all the details.

Cumbia de Muertos with Papi Chulo at Ruins
2653 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30

Maybe we should call this event the Dance of the Dead, but either way it will be a spectacular, high-energy evening. Tickets are $10 on Eventbrite.

Afterlife Party at Jaxon Beer Garden
311 S. Akard St. (Downtown Dallas)
6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 30

The Afterlife Party in the Discovery District is the official after-party for the Dallas Dia de los Muertos parade and festival. Step into candlelight on the second floor and enjoy mezcal tastings, spiked Chicha Morada, Spiked agua frescas and frozen mezcalritas garnished with sugar skulls. Find out more on the Facebook event page.

White Hot Dia de los Muertos Day Party at Te Deseo
2700 Olive St. (Harwood District)
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31

Now that cooler weather is here, Te Deseo is bringing the heat with day parties on the last Sunday of every month. You can anticipate Champagne bottles, tequila shots, a DJ, dancing and a special brunch-inspired menu. This Sunday’s party will have a Dia de los Muertos theme, and all-white attire is encouraged. Sign up on the Te Deseo website to secure a spot on the guest list.

21st Anniversary and Dia de los Muertos Party at Maroches Bakery
1227 W Davis St. (Oak Cliff)
11:50 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 31

Expect a little bit of everything at this big celebration with food and merchandise vendors galore. There will be music from El Grupo Cache Dallas, Soul Cliff and Son Jarocho (En pie de lucha).Check out all the details on the Facebook event page.

Halloween + Dia de los Muertos Brunch at El Patio in Lewisville
4400 Texas 121, Ste. 140 (Lewisville)
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31

This Day of the Dead + Halloween-style brunch will include a Mex-Tex all-you-can-eat buffet, flamenco dancers, Manik Tequila drink specials, La Catrina face-painting and more. For reservations, email [email protected] or make a reservation on Yelp.

Dia de los Muertos Festival sponsored by Pepsi at Legacy Food Hall
7800 Windrose Ave. (Plano)
1 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31

At Legacy Hall you can enjoy a full afternoon of family fun with sugar skull face painting from 1 to 4 p.m. and a screening of the movie Coco at 1 p.m. The Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico will perform at 3 p.m. and Mariachis Rosas Divinas will follow at 3:30 p.m.

Eclectic ska, reggae and cumbia band Los Skamal wraps up the evening with a performance starting at 6 p.m. All events are free and seating is first come-first served. Get all the details on the Legacy Hall website.

Free Pan de Muerto at El Pollo Locations
9425 Forest Lane (Northeast Dallas) and 11 other locations
Monday, Nov. 1

Purchase a Familia Dinner on Monday, Nov. 1, and you’ll receive two free personal-sized loaves of traditional pan de muerto. This Mexican sweet bread is flavored with orange blossom and anise, making it the perfect accompaniment to El Pollo Loco signature fire-grilled chicken.

Taqueria la Ventana
1611 McKinney Ave. (Downtown Dallas) plus locations in Addison, on Cedar Springs and at the Dallas Farmers Market
5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2

The main event for this celebration is a big party at the downtown location, but there will be lots of buildup to get you ready. First, there’s a social media contest going that could win you and three amigos a complimentary patio experience. Share your best Day of the Dead look on social media by Nov. 2 to win. Pick up some temporary Catrina/Catrin tattoos at your nearest Taqueria la Ventana to put together your look.

Each Taquería La Ventana location will create its own altar, or ofrenda, to welcome returning spirits and honor deceased family and friends. Follow Taqueria la Ventana on Instagram to vote for your favorites and help your favorite restaurant location win a prize.

Last, but certainly not least, is a big free party on the (actual) day of the dead. At the downtown location, enjoy a DJ playing Dia de los Muertos favorites, free pan de muerto for the first 150 guests, traditional hot chocolate and churros, fun giveaways and special activations from El Jimador tequila.

The Addison and Cedar Springs locations will also have a DJ on Nov. 2. Get all the details on the Facebook event page.

Homegrown Hounds Dog Deli & Bakery
5260 N O'Connor Blvd. #170 (Irving)
3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7

In Dia de los Muertos tradition, dogs act as guides for souls in the afterlife. But at this event, real dogs will be honored in a celebration of life. Bring pictures of your departed pets for the altar and celebrate the ones that have crossed the rainbow bridge. Drinks and snacks will be served for the humans, and furbabies that attend will get to have playtime at this locally owned bakery specializing in food and snacks for dogs. Find out more on the Facebook event page.
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By day, Kristina Rowe writes documentation that helps users navigate software, and as a contributor to the Dallas Observer she helps people find their way to food and fun. A long-time list-maker, small-business fan and happiness aficionado, she's also been an Observer reader for almost 40 years.
Contact: Kristina Rowe