Halloween and Day of the Dead

Halloween and Day of the Dead are two celebrations that have different meanings and origins but are celebrated on dates very close to each other, which is why a large number of people confuse and misinterpret them.

Nowadays, thanks to social networks, various media and globalization, it is easy for people to be aware of these important and popular holidays in society.

However, the problem is in the misinformation and confusion that many make when associating these parties that are different.

Origins and purposes

The main difference between the two celebrations has to do with their origins.

It is known as Halloween , Witches Night or Night of Halloween Dead to a pagan celebration, the result of the Christian syncretism and pagan festival Celtic Samhain , which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter 31 October.

It was also believed that during that night the doors of the “other world” were opened and the souls of the dead arrived in the land of the living in the form of terror.

However, the word Halloween derives from the Scottish contraction All Hallowsʼ Eve , and which means “All Dead’s Eve”. It is usually celebrated in the United States, Ireland and in many other countries in general.

Now, Día de Muertos is a celebration of pre-Hispanic origin , especially celebrated in Mexico and Central America.

During the period of colonization, Christianity was imposed on the Aztec culture and, in order to syncretize the customs and festivities of the saints in general, it was decided that on November 1, All Saints’ Day is celebrated and on November 2. November would be to commemorate the Day of the Dead.

Every November 2 is a very special day because people remember, celebrate, and pray for their deceased family and loved ones.


During Halloween it is customary to carve the pumpkins to use as lamps , also known as Jack OʼLantern (according to an old Irish legend).

Another custom is to decorate the houses with dark, ghostly themes, allusive to death, this in order to scare away evil spirits and costumes or decorations are also used with the colors black, purple and orange.

Likewise, children tend to dress up and ask for sweets with the phrase, “Candy or trick?”

In contrast, on the Day of the Dead nothing is asked, on the contrary, offerings are made that are placed on altars decorated with colorful confetti, flowers, candles, food, among others, in order to welcome the souls from the dead to the world of the living.

It is also customary to go to cemeteries to clean and decorate the graves of loved ones.


Typical symbols that represent the celebration of Halloween are carved pumpkins, ghost figures, skeletons, drawings of corpses, witches, vampires, mummies, as well as costumes and masks of horrible figures or sinister characters.

This tradition arose with the idea of ​​scare away evil spirits from the world of the living.

Now, the symbols that are traditionally used on the Day of the Dead are the images or drawings of La Catrina, skeletons, skulls, chopped paper of different colors and the typical sugar skulls that are used to give to children.

It should be remembered that the Day of the Dead is a date of celebration and union.

It is also decorated with Cempasúchitl flowers, deep yellow in color and giving off a particular aroma.

Typical meals

On Halloween they are used to making recipes based on pumpkin and all those foods that are harvested in the fall season. Pumpkin pie, cookies with Halloween figures, caramelized apples, among others, are common.

On the other hand, on the Day of the Dead it is customary to make the typical Pan de Muerto (shaped like bones), tamales, the favorite foods of the deceased, hot chocolate, among others.

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