Pin It
Monday, October 31st, 2011

Our Dia de los Muertos and Halloween Fun


This weekend we had a taste of all sorts of fall festivities and also celebrated Day of the Dead for the first time at a joint pumpkin carving/Day of the Dead celebration play date. (I must admit, these blended cultural celebrations are truly some of my favorites as they are the perfect reflection of how all the mixed families out there (and not solely multicultural families but also people who love incorporating diverse cultural elements into a celebration) create traditions.

But let me back up a second. El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday honoring loved ones who have passed away. A friend from Mexico, Adriana, sent me some awesome pictures of her Dia de los Muertos celebration to put the holiday into better context. The first picture above are fields of the cempasuchil flower, which is the popular decoration for altars and houses during the celebration.

Here’s the entrance to my friend’s house–the cempasuchil flower petals are thrown in such a way that it leads the way to the front door. They are supposed to invite your spirits, the ones honored in the ofrenda (altar–pictured to the right), into your house. She notes that usually she places the petals on the evening of November 1st., right around midnight (on the 2nd), so that the spirits know everything is ready and waiting for them.
Finally, pan de muerto is a popular food eaten for the holiday. Here are some of the panes de muerto Adriana made. You can find a recipe for pan de muerto here:

At my friend Rosanna’s house, we had a fun pumpkin carving/ Day of the Dead celebration. Rosanna had made her own ofrenda, in honor of her grandfather (and I loved that there was a shot of tequila on it as her grandfather loved tequila–can you find it in the photo?)
and we shared some pan de muerto. Each of the kids received mini, edible calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls).

As the only gringa there, everyone expected I knew something about pumpkin carving but like everything, times have changed since I used to carve pumpkins as a kid, with triangle eyes and jagged teeth cause that’s all you could manage with a kitchen knife. I didn’t realize they made pumpkin carving kits now, complete with traced images to carve out for the face. That explains the mystery of why every pumpkin on my street looks like an artist did it. Here’s my Moroccan husband carving pumpkins, which is amusing as the man has never carved a pumpkin in his life and remains a bit confused by Halloween (for example, why the scary element is one of his main questions).

Here are all the kiddos with our pumpkins that make us all look like artists. Shh, don’t tell they were thanks to Target pumpkin carving kits!

Sunday we hit the obligatory pumpkin patch–one of my favorite parts of celebrating fall with kids. Here are mine going for the largest pumpkin they could find:

Our fall fun culminated in their school Halloween celebration, followed by trick or treating. For their Halloween costumes, the girls were very intent and excited about being matching “stinky piggies.” It was pretty easy to convince them that dancing pigs were much cooler, once there was a tutu involved.

Happy Halloween!

© 2011 – 2013, Stephanie Meade. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:

10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room

Because every little global citizen needs a map

Birth, Loss and In Between

Life after devastation

Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don't Think I Speak Mandarin

The awesome stuff I overhear like what these two Chinese women think of foreigners.

Arranged Marriage 101

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask


Stephanie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent. She has two Moroccan-American daughters (ages 5 and 6), whom she is raising, together with her husband, bilingual in Arabic and English at home, while also introducing Spanish. After many moves worldwide, she currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Leave us a comment!

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.
[…] the breastfeeding culture in Mongolia compared to America. Did you have any idea that something as simple as breastfeeding attitudes can […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
My mother born in the 1930's is originally from the northern part of Germany. I am in my mid fifties and have a terrible relationship with my mother. She is domineering and hurts those where it hurt...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] JC Niala, InCultureParent […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Although humanity is one Man (in a generic sense, including woman)has identified himself endless groups, religious, nationalistic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, etc. Once you separate ME from YOU on...
From What’s an Asian? Race and Identity for a New Generation
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Some great tips here but not many working mothers could feed baby every hour especially if you work in a major multi-nationa...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
So true!!! Thanks for being so honest and self reflective. It's a proof of true characte...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
As a first-time mom I've spent the last two months of my four-month-old's life stressed out about her sleep and I recognize how crazy this is. It's clearly not working for me! I'm wondering how non-...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

More from Our Bloggers