Halloween is around the corner, and while Mexico is big on celebrating Day of the Dead instead, locals rarely pass up an opportunity to celebrate something. So, you will be spoiled for choices on what to do during this holiday. Don’t be fooled, however. While locals will celebrate Halloween, most activities are a mix of three different holidays in the span of a four-day period. These are Halloween, Day of the Dead and Hanal Pixan. The latter is a Mayan tradition that, similar to Day of the Dead, celebrates death and afterlife. So, get your costumes and face paint ready.
Perhaps the most popular thing to do during Halloween in Playa del Carmen is walk down the world-famous Fifth Avenue. You will see many people – mainly children – come out at around 8pm with a bag ready to collect candy. You can either participate by taking your family trick or treating on Fifth Avenue or stand there and hand out candy to the children that pass by. When the parade of candy-collecting children finishes before midnight, the adults start their own party. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your pets. Dressing them up for photo ops is a must.
Every bar and club in the area – as well as the street itself – get busy with dressed-up adults. Most bars or clubs have some sort of costume contest or dance-offs. The streets also get filled with adults carrying the party out from the clubs. While it gets quite crowded, it’s always just in good fun and you get to see how creative locals, tourists and expats can be when it comes to dressing up!
If you’re lucky, you can also catch some sort of Catrina-inspired parade. Top Mexico Real Estate started the tradition of the Catrina Fest a few years ago and the legacy has carried on with other companies and locals paying tribute to this Mexican zinc etching from 1913.
Celebrating Day of the Dead
You might also want to take a look at the different options offered that steer away from the traditional Halloween celebration. Xcaret Group offers different festivals in its parks. If you enjoy live music, an open bar and some Mexican specialties, you can go to the Catrina Party at Xoximilco. This Day of the Dead event takes place from October 2nd to November 4th at this traditionally Mexican park. You can celebrate here on the typical trajineras (boats) with tons of Mexican food and tequila drinks.
Xcaret also hosts the Festival de Vida y Muerte, which takes places from October 30th to November 2nd. The event features different dances, concerts, shows, theater, puppets, festooned altars and plenty of delicious traditional food. This festival has been happening for 12 years. It is perhaps one of the most popular events in the Riviera Maya to celebrate both Halloween and Day of the Dead.
Many hotels and restaurants host dinner parties for these holidays, offering more traditionally-driven dishes. However, if you’re looking for real class you might want to check out The Thompson Hotel’s 5-course dinner. The meal includes wine pairing and is a concoction by acclaimed chefs Daniel Nates, Pedro Abascal and Dani Manzano.
Another alternative is taking a tour to a Mayan village to celebrate Hanal Pixan. This tour provides a closer and more authentic look at the culture of death and afterlife. You can participate in such tours on the date of the celebration (November 2nd). You will engage in traditional Mayan culture which also helps preserve the environment and the local economy of the visited village.
Whichever way you decide to celebrate is up to you. But we can assure you that the mix of American, Mexican and traditional Mayan cultures will fascinate you.