4 ways to celebrate Día de los Muertos

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Decorated colorful skulls are part of the Mexican celebration of departed family members.

Día de los Muertos is a celebration of Latin American art and culture related to the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.

On Día de los Muertos, the dead supposedly awaken for brief visits with family members. Most believe the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on Oct. 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) reunite with their families for the day. On Nov. 2, adult spirits return.

Traditions include gravesite decorations and private or public altars honoring the deceased with marigolds, sugar skulls, notes, photos and favorite foods of the departed.

Here are four ways your family can participate in this annual cultural event.

Decorate traditional masks

Kids can make Día de los Muertos masks with an Art To Go box from Mesa Art Center. It’s just one of several kid-friendly art projects available in boxes that include materials, written instructions and access to a tutorial video for two complete projects. Art To Go boxes are designed for ages 8 and up and are available for contactless pickup. Cost for the Dia le los Muertos box (which includes two masks) is $30.

Attend a virtual celebration

Families can honor loved ones who have passed at Mesa Arts Center’s virtual Día de los Muertos Festival (Oct. 24). The free event, from noon to 3 p.m., includes artist and cooking demonstrations, performances by La Luz de Luna and Mariachi Pasion; fun family at-home activities: paper flower making, papel picado and altar making; and an online mercado (market) featuring arts, crafts, jewelry and more.

The Día de los Muertos PHX Festival (Oct. 25) also is going virtual this year. Find the entertainment schedule at diadelosmuertosphx.com and log on at 2 p.m.

Attend an in-person art installation

Scottsdale’s Día de Los Muertos celebration (Oct. 29-Nov. 2) — a collaboration of artists, community, and local businesses — will take place as a social-distance-appropriate walk-through event in Old Town Scottsdale.

RELATED: Make a Halloween or Día de los Muertos decoration