8 must-haves for your Dia de los Muertos altar

Here is a quick guide to set up your own Dia de los Muertos altar


Nadia Mishkin

The staff of the Learning Resource Center have a Dia de los Muertos altar set up near the LRC entrance on the second floor of the R building. Photo by Nadia Mishkin, City Times.

Ian Tapang, Staff Writer

LRC altar
Photos of lost loved ones are a special part of an altar. Photo by Nadia Mishkin, City Times.

Contrary to the spooky vibes that Halloween brings, Dia de los Muertos is a celebratory event that should not be confused for the Mexican version of Halloween.

According to tripsavvy.com, here is a quick guide to set up your own altar in time for the holiday, which is traditionally celebrated on Nov. 2.

What you need:

• A flat surface on which to build your altar such as a table or shelf

• Two long sugar cane-like stalks to make an arch

• A tablecloth and papel picado (decorative cut paper)

• A photo of the person to whom the altar is dedicated

• Flowers, preferably marigolds

• Fruit, bread and other foods

• Candles and incense

• Things that the person you’re honoring enjoyed in life

LRC altar
The Learning Resource Center altar includes the favorite food and drink of loved ones who have passed. Photo by Nadia Mishkin, City Times.

Where to celebrate Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos Celebration at City College
Saville Theatre, 14th and C Streets
Thursday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
See the altar, get your face painted, play loteria for prizes, listen to poetry, watch a dance performance set to Thriller, and more.

Old Town San Diego’s Dia de los Muertos
Old Town, all weekend
A traditional candlelight procession will be held on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. beginning at the entrance of the Old Town State Historic Park, located at San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street. The procession will travel down San Diego Avenue to El Campo Santo Cemetery.

Friday through Sunday, over 50 traditional and contemporary altars will be set up throughout Old Town and a public altar can be found in El Campo Santo Cemetery. Many restaurants will be providing special menus and featuring live music, along with activities for the entire family, including traditional face painting, mask making and music.