Celebrate the departed at 2021 Día de los Muertos events around Houston

A Día de los Muertos ofrenda at MECA Houston | Courtesy of MECA Houston

Honor those no longer with us at ofrendas, celebrations, performances and festivals for 2021 Día de Muertos events around Houston.

Day of the Dead, a Latin American tradition that originated in Mexico, is a time that families take to remember their loved ones that have passed, creating ofrendas, or altars, in their honor that are decorated by the person’s favorite foods, drinks, photos and memorabilia to encourage the spirits to visit.

We’ve gathered just some of the 2021 Día de los Muertos events taking place around the city, honoring the tradition and paying respect to the dearly departed.

Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl performs at MECA Houston’s Día de los Muertos | Courtesy of MECA Houston

2021 Día de los Muertos Events in Houston

Weekend of Friday, October 15, 2021

  • Noche de Ofrendas Celebration at MECA Houston | Friday, October 15 | FREE – Just north of Buffalo Bayou near Downtown, the community-based non-profit organization known as MECA Houston returns with their display of ofrendas from members of the community. Tour through the halls of the former Dow School, taking in the personal altars that mark the lives of ancestors and departed loved ones. This year’s edition will also feature a community altar as well as one dedicated to the lives lost due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 7pm to 9pm.

Weekend of Friday, October 22, 2021

  • Día de los Muertos 12th Annual Group Show & Night Market at Hardy & Nance Studios | Friday, October 22 | FREE – East End Studio Gallery takes over the space at Hardy & Nance Studios for an exhibition that remembers and honors loved ones who have passed. On this special reception night, a night market will also be assembled, featuring an outdoor bar, food truck and local vendors. The exhibition closes Saturday, October 23. 6pm to 10pm.

Halloween Weekend | Weekend of Thursday, October 28, 2021

  • Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls Craft at Rosenberg Library in Galveston | Thursday, October 28 | FREE – Galveston’s Rosenberg Library hosts a special evening craft, decorating personalized Day of the Dead plaster skulls and discussing the tradition. Due to the intricate nature of the skulls, this activity is recommended for ages 18 and up. 5pm to 7pm.
  • Día de los Muertos Black Dinner at CityPlace in Spring | Thursday, October 28 – Internationally acclaimed chef Eduardo Palazuelos partners with Houston’s own David Cordua for an alfresco evening of fine dining through a four-course Black Dinner with cocktail pairings. Catrina face painting, flower crowns and traditional ofrendas will also be part of the experience. Tickets are $150. 6pm to 10pm.
  • Día de los Muertos Festival at MECA Houston | Saturday, October 30 & Halloween Day, Sunday, October 31 | FREE – MECA’s annual two-day Día de los Muertos festival in Sixth Ward returns, packed with delicious foods, live music and dance performances, arts and crafts activities, a local vendor market, artists, ofrendas and more. 11am to 7pm both days.
  • Magnolia Park Día de los Muertos 8th Anniversary Celebration at Hidalgo Park | Saturday, October 30 | FREE – The community of Magnolia Park, one of the oldest Latino neighborhoods in the city of Houston, hosts its 8th anniversary celebration for Día de los Muertos, featuring art from Laura Cano-Lopez, a community altar, live music and dance performances, local vendors, and a slate of special honorees for 2021. Noon to 6pm.
  • Día de los Muertos at Kemah Boardwalk | Saturday, October 30 | FREE – The Boardwalk has an all-day celebration planned for Day of the Dead, featuring sugar skull activities, live music and folklorica performances, mariachi, a costume contest and more. 2pm to 10pm.
  • Calavera con Calavera at Miller Outdoor Theatre | Saturday, October 30 | FREE | Virtual Option – Fundacion Latino Americana de Accion Social (FLAS) and Grupo de Teatro Indigo combine for this special production about Day of the Dead and the Burgos family, preparing to celebrate the tradition, exploring all the different elements, and what it means to embrace death as a reminder that life is beautiful. Livestream available. 7:30pm.
  • Make & Take: Sugar Skulls Decoration at Central Market | Halloween Day, Sunday, October 31 – In this Halloween morning cooking class for ages 13 and up, chefs-in-the-making will dive into the tradition by making sugar skulls with royal icing to take home at the end of class, plus they’ll enjoy Mexican hot chocolate and churros during the class. Tickets are $50. 11am.
  • Family Movie Night: CoCo at CityPlace in Spring | Halloween Day, Sunday, October 31 | FREE – The Pixar classic, CoCo, gets a screening on the Plaza at CityPlace in Spring, taking viewers through the world of the spirits that borders the real world, and what it means to remember loved ones we’ve lost. Face painters and other kids activities will also be on-hand. 6pm.

Dia de los Muertos / Day of the Dead Week | Week of Monday, November 1, 2021

  • Día de los Muertos Community Altar at Discovery Green | Monday, November 1 | FREE – In celebration of Day of the Dead, the Downtown park will host a community altar by Houston artist Angel Quesada, where visitors are invited to participate by bringing copies of photos or mementos of loved ones to leave at the altar (note that these items will not be returned). This will also take place alongside Celebración de Vida, an installation of 10 large-scale painted skulls that can be found throughout the park. The skulls will be on display through Sunday, November 7. The community altar takes place from 4pm to 9pm.
  • Candlelight Open Air Día de los Muertos at Hughes Manor | Monday, November 1 – On Washington Avenue, the Listeso String Quartet sets up among a field of candlelight to perform a variety of songs, from themes to popular films and television shows to works from Mexican composers and popular regional songs. Tickets are $50. 6pm.
  • Día de los Muertos at Children’s Museum Houston | Saturday, November 6 – The Museum District spot transforms into a colorful Land of the Dead, with mariachi, sugar skulls and marigold garlands, a performance from Intempo Dance Ensemble, an artist workshop, and a CoCo-inspired Day of the Dead celebration. Included with general admission; $12 for ages 1 and up; free for ages under 1. 10am to 4pm.
  • Día de los Muertos Festival at Sam Houston Park | Saturday, November 6 | FREE – The city of Houston hosts its first ever Día de los Muertos celebration, bringing a parade and festival through the area into Sam Houston Park where visitors can enjoy live music, delicious concessions, fun arts and crafts, and more. Sign up ahead of time to participate in the parade or swing through to enjoy the festivities. 2pm to 10pm.
The community ofrenda at Magnolia Park’s Día de los Muertos Celebration | Courtesy of Magnolia Park Día de los Muertos

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A longtime Houstonian, Justin Jerkins keeps an eye out for all sorts of happenings in H-Town, including breweries, sports, concerts, must-see destinations and much more while serving as Editor-in-Chief of 365 Things to Do in Houston.