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13 Día De Los Muertos Events In Chicago, From Skull Painting To Masquerade

By Ariel Cheung | October 27, 2017 6:38am
 A Dia De Los Muertos altar honors the dead in Pilsen.
A Dia De Los Muertos altar honors the dead in Pilsen.
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DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay

CHICAGO — A full week of festivities begins Saturday with Día de los Muertos activities in Pilsen and throughout the city. 

While the Day of the Dead holiday itself is celebrated Wednesday, community organizations and cultural groups have a lineup of dances, fashion shows, children's festivals and a masquerade ball to give the Mexican and Hispanic communities a wide range of options to celebrate.

Here are 13 Día de los Muertos events happening in your neighborhood:

Dia de las Mujeres: For the second year, The Port Ministries will host a fashion and art show with a fashion designer from Mujeres Mutantes. Multi-disciplinary artist Adriana Pena will show her line of clothing meant to embody traditional Mexican design and seamlessly fit with any woman's style. Back of the Yards, The Port Ministries, 5017 S. Hermitage Ave.; 6-9 p.m. Saturday; Free.

A family celebrates Dia De Los Muertos at Dvorak Park in Pilsen. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

Día de los Muertos Xicágo: The National Museum of Mexican Art will transform itself for its free celebration with live music, art and ofrenda demonstrations. Along with enjoying face painting, art activities and Pan de Muerto, families can create their own ofrendas, or altars, in the soccer field of Harrison Park. Pilsen, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.; 3-8 p.m. Sunday; Free.

Family/youth alebrije skull painting: Families can enjoy Oaxacan artist Carlos Orozco's instruction in a special Día de Muertos painting class open to children, with parents encouraged to join in the fun. Orozco will teach participants the traditions and processes involved in making alebrije, colorful carved wooden animals and skulls common in Mexican folk art. The $30 tickets include the pre-carved skull and painting materials. Pilsen, La Catrina Cafe, 1011 W. 18th St.; 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday; Tickets $30.

Maxwell Street Market: While the market is around every Sunday, the Day of the Dead celebration this weekend will add balloon artists, Aztec dancers and arts and crafts. Keep an eye out for Rico Michael Jackson performing "Thriller." University Village, 800 S. Desplaines St.; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; Free.

Festival para Niños: Chicago Latina Moms will celebrate with its third annual children's festival at Benito Juarez Community Academy. Children will learn the meaning of Día de los Muertos altars, pan de muerto and sugar skulls during crafts, storytelling, face painting and live entertainment. Presale tickets are sold out, but there will be a limited number available at the door. Pilsen; Benito Juarez Community Academy, 2150 S. Laflin St.; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; $7.

Last year's Día de los Muertos parade in Pilsen [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

Telling Our Stories series: The University of Illinois at Chicago will host a week of events organized by students and the UIC Latino Cultural Center. Starting Monday, participants can place photos of departed loved ones on communal altars, make Día de los  Muertos-related art and join in an Ochpaniztli cycle ceremony. UIC's Latino Cultural Center, 803 S. Morgan St.; Monday-Thursday; Check Facebook for full list of events.

Día de los Muertos: After Dark: The UIC Latino Cultural Center will demonstrate how to create traditional and interactive ofrenda while honoring the life of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres. Cáceres fought for indigenous peoples' rights and environmental issues until she was assassinated in 2016. The event is part of the National Mexican Museum of Art's monthly After Dark series. Pilsen, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.; 5-8 p.m. Wednesday; Free.

Musicians perform at a Dia De Los Muertos celebration at Dvorak Park in Pilsen. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

38th annual Muertos de la Risa at Dvorak Park: The neighborhood's longest-running Día de Muertos celebration will start at Dvorak Park with face painting, activities and performances followed by a 6 p.m. community procession featuring large puppets, decorated hand-pushed carts and ofrendas. Organized by ElevArte, the night will end with hot chocolate and Pan de Muerto. Pilsen, Dvorak Park, 1119 W. Cullerton St.; 3:30-8 p.m. Thursday; Free.

Hoy Día de los Muertos concert: Enjoy free tequila cocktails, $4 shots and music from the Braided Janes and Mexico's La Sucursal de la Cumbia at Chop Shop. There will also be face painting and Modelo Negra beer. Must be 21 and older to attend. Wicker Park, Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave.; 7-10 p.m. Thursday; $30.

Love Never Dies Masquerade Ball: Honor the spirits of los muertos at the National Museum of Mexican Art's ball. There will be culinary treats and cocktails, plus live music from A Flor de Piel and DJ Jesse de la Peña. Tickets are $125 in advance or $150 at the door, and proceeds go toward museum programming. Pilsen, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.; 6-10 p.m. Nov. 4; $125-$150.

Day of the Dead Art Class: Mexican artist Carlos Orozco will also visit Beverly for a alebrijes skull painting session. Participants will learn the traditions behind behind the colorful wooden creatures, and Orozco will talk about how he celebrates Día de los Muertos in Oaxacan. Beverly, Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St.; 1 p.m. Nov. 4; $30.

Alebrije painting: While the special Dia de Muertos class is sold out, Orozco will teach one last BYOB class at La Catrina Nov. 11, and some skulls are still available. Artists will receive a pre-carved, unpainted alebrije made at Orozco's artists' collective, Puech Ikots, in Mexico. Pilsen, La Catrina Cafe, 1011 W. 18th St.; 7-10 p.m. Nov. 11; Tickets $25-$45.

Una Noche de Muertos: Wrap up your celebrations with a fundraiser for a Little Village children's literacy program. The National Museum of Mexican Art will offer a private viewing of the "Tilica y Flaca es la Calaca: Day of the Dead" exhibition along with live music, food and drink to raise money for the Erie House READS program, which helped 96 percent of its students advance a grade level in reading last year. Open to ages 21 and older. Pilsen, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.; 6-9 p.m. Nov. 16; $55.

Erie House will raise money for its READS literacy program, geared toward young students in Little Village. [Provided/Erie Associate Board]