California Halloween Festivals and Events

Oceanside Day of the Dead

October 24, 2021, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Downtown Oceanside
Pier View Way at North Coast Highway
Oceanside, CA
Free admission, for car registration

Catrina Court Contest 2 p.m. - There's some tough competition that you won't believe in this event which seeks to honor the dead through people dressed and their faces painted as living skeletons. Catrina or La Calavera Catrina was conceived by an artist in 1910. Jose Guadalupe Posada's satirical lithograph referred to a catrin, a well-dressed, high society person depicted as a skeleton wearing a stylish hat. Contestants have their faces painted in white and black mostly to appear as skeletons, while their clothing can be quite fanciful. There are 5 contest categories: King, Queen, Prince, Princess and Couple

Chalk Cemetery - grab some chalk or bring your own and create a memorial to loved one(s) in designated locations. It's not only a great way to show your love and honor the departed, but it also is a sharing experience as you browse the many chalk memorials.

Car Altars - The trunks or back of cars (usually) offer altars to the dead and dearly departed. They're artistic, unique, fascinating, clever, creative and sometimes somber, depending.

musical entertainment, food vendors, art, altars and more.

Talk about confusion! We love this event but had a hard time finding it for 2021. Why? It no longer was hosted at Mission San Luis Rey, where we looked for information. So here's the scoop from the 2021 website and event planners offering a brief history:

  • 2006-2008 The festival was held Downtown
  • 2009-2019 this event was moved from Downtown Oceanside to Mission San Luis Rey    
  • 2018 Friends of Oceanside Dia de Los Muertos was developed to operate the event that was both culturally significant to the community and beloved by attendees
  • 2021 to celebrate the 20th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival  hosted by Friends of Oceanside Dia de los Muertos the festival returns to Downtown Oceanside

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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