Day of the Dead vs Halloween

As days go by, the season of joy, celebrations and reunion gets closer. However, there’s still one holiday before it begins… the all hallows eve. In Mexico, as in many countries, the last months of the year are full of holidays and celebration. Even though the vast majority is aimed at acknowledging all good actions, family and happiness. There’s a special one which allow us to remember the ones who has passed away.

How do Mexicans celebrate Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead is a three-day celebration on November. Normally, Mexican homes get decorated with flowers, colors and candles. As part of celebration an altar is made which, depending on the region, can be decorated with fresh fruit, typical food, flowers, candles, candies and even alcohol. Also, on November 1st, some pictures of the deceased loved ones are placed on it.

This tradition was originated in the pre-Hispanic era when people performed rituals to ask ancient gods to protect and help their loved ones souls on their arduous journey to life after death. They thus believed that paying tributes to death was the best way to reach the eternal rest.  Generation after generation, this belief has remain, so much that nowadays, it has internationally renowned as a major celebration in Mexico.

Despite the great heritage this tradition has, it is normally confused with other holidays like Halloween due to their similarities.

So, What’s the difference between Halloween and Day of the Dead?

On one hand, Day of the Dead is a pre-Hispanic tradition based on the rituals performed to pay honors to death. On the other hand, Halloween is a holiday which comes from the Celtic Culture. It was based on Samhain, an early-european festival which was made to thank the harvest and wait for their- loved-ones spirits come back from afterlife for a night.

As Halloween began in Europe, it arrived to America with the Mayflower. There, the United States adopted it and made it popular all over the world. Nowadays it has gone beyond political, cultural and religious borders.

Even though, Halloween and Day of the Dead are both meant to honour death, the way in which they do it, it’s completely different.

Day of the Dead

  1. Day of the Dead it’s a Mexican tradition that represent the love and gratitude the family has to their deceased.
  1. It is about altars, flowers, food, and remembering the beloved ones. .
  2. Rituals are usually perform over the graves in a cemetery, so they can be closer to the spirits.


  1. It’s a tradition based on the harvest and the idea of spirits coming back for a night.
  1. People wear scaring costumes to protect themselves against evil spirits.
  1. Despite trick or treat is an enjoyable activity for children, it was first regarded as an offering to souls in pain.

Beyond their differences, both traditions are amazing.

There’s no doubt that the best place to celebrate Halloween and Day of the Dead is Mexico City. As its streets become full of flowers, colors and candles, some clubs and restaurants are getting everything ready to the ultimate costume party.

If you are thinking about a Halloween-weekend getaway we recommend you to book one of our best and recently-remodeled suites in either Kali Escandon or Kali Ciudadela.