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Get Your Costumes & Altars Ready: A guide to Eastside Halloween & Dia de los Muertos happenings

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By DENNIS LARA-MEJIA

When the leaves on the trees at Debs Park begin to match the color of our collective pumpkin-foam latte mustaches, that heralds the arrival of tricks, treats and pan de muertos reserves across the Eastside. You wouldn’t want to be caught dead indoors for the next couple of weeks. There are thrilling things for you, your friends, your kids—even your dog—to do. Besides, movies have taught us that the killer is almost always “inside the house.”

🎃 Costumes, Candy and Fun for the Entire Family

HaLlOwEeN SpOOktACUlaR
🕒 Select times and dates until Oct. 31 | Echo Park
The Bob Barker Marionette Theater will dazzle kids and grownups alike with this “delightful, family-friendly, hour long musical revue, set to haunting and jazzy holiday-themed tunes celebrating nearly every decade.” After which you are invited to mingle with the puppeteering cast. $15/$20 general admission depending on date. Tots under 2 years old are free.

Hellhounds Pack Walk
🕒 Friday, Oct. 20, 7 pm – 9pm | Echo Park

A doggy Halloween contest and a walk with the pack around Echo Park Lake.

Halloween Film Pestival
🕒 Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 am – 6:30 pm | Los Feliz

A day of bug-themed films — including The Fly and Big Ass Spider — cricket eating contest and bug exhibit sponsored by a pest control company (no trick!) Free but tickets must be reserved in advance

Halloween & Mourning Movie Night
🕒 Saturday, Oct. 21, gates open @ 6:30 p.m. | Montecito Heights

Extend a blanket out on the lawn of Heritage Square to watch the first ever 3-D film released by Universal Studio: “It Came From Outer Space.” 3-D glasses will be provided for this Ray Bradbury sci-fi classic released way back in 1952, and warm popcorn/refreshments will be available to supplement your picnic nosh. $10 general admission.

Trick or Treat on the Boolevard
🕒 Friday, Oct. 27 @ 4:30 to 6 p.m. | Atwater Village

“Ghoulish family fun” awaits this year along the Halloween-rebranded Glendale Boolevard. The Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce expects hundreds—“maybe thousands”—of kids to romp in and out of participating local storefronts. Crossing guards will be present to protect the precious poltergeists. FREE.

Halloween Carnival
🕒 Friday, Oct. 27, @ 5 to 9 p.m. | Glassell Park

Every goblin, ghost and bruja is guaranteed admission to this Rio De Los Angeles State Park carnival. Expect games, contests, food, music, bounce houses and a trick-or-treat village to boot. FREE.

HOWL-O-WEEN: The 9th Annual Doggie Costume Pageant
🕒 Saturday, Oct. 28, pageant @ 4 p.m. | Silver Lake

“Stranger Things will be happening” when Jane Cantillon serves as Mistress of Ceremonies at this year’s big and small doggie costume pageant, Howl-O-Ween. Registration for the event begins at 3 p.m. inside the small dog area of Silver Lake Dog Park. FREE.

Tiny Tot Trick-or-Treat
🕒 Tuesday, Oct. 31, @ 10:30 to 11 a.m. | East Los Angeles

An event for the smallest of goblins, children 2 to 4 years old are invited to the East Los Angeles Library for a “spook-tacular storytime, creepy-cute art activities and a costume parade.” Trick-or-treat stations present throughout the library for toddlers to collect ghoulish goodies. FREE.

Cypress Park Recreation Center’s Halloween Costume Contests
🕒 Tuesday, Oct. 31, @ 5 to 9 p.m. | Cypress Park

This one’s for the books. The City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks is holding not one, or two, but three costume contests at Cypress Park Recreation Center. These contests are open to all ages, with the first starting at 6:30 p.m. sharp. An additional cat and dog costume contest is scheduled at 7 p.m. to showcase the local four-legged creatures. FREE.

LA-32 Neighborhood Council’s 2nd Annual Halloween Event
🕒 Tuesday, Oct. 31, @ 4 to 8 p.m. | El Sereno

Sweets-lovers rejoice. “Chocolate candy bars” will be given out to trick-or-treaters on the lot of La Cocina on Huntington Drive on a first come first serve basis, so get there early. Co-sponsors of the event include L.A. Derby Dolls, Councilman Jose Huizar, RED67, Frank’s Auto Body & Paint, Roxy Taxes, Maribel Munoz, Urban 360 and of course La Cocina El Sereno. FREE.

💀🥀 Dia de los Muertos: Workshops, Altars and Processions

Las Fotos Project presents Día De Los Muertos Art Workshop
🕒 Sunday, Oct. 22, @ 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. | Lincoln Park

Urge a teenage girl in your life to leave the zombie hordes of social media for a day to join a diverse group of muchachas at this Dia de los Muertos workshop aimed at promoting self-expression through Day of the Dead-themed photography and jewelry making. This event is exclusive to 11 to 18 year old girls, and an RSVP is required to attend. FREE.

Dia De Los Muertos: Hosted by Casa Cultural Saybrook
🕒 Saturday, Oct. 21, @ 3 to 9 p.m. | East Los Angeles

Get a head start on Dia de los Muertos festivities by heading over to the East Los Angeles Civic Center. Serenading mariachis, mesmerizing Aztec dancers, graceful Mexican Folklorico dancers and two surprise bands will be present for your entertainment. FREE.

14th Annual Dia De Los Muertos Student Altar Exhibition
🕒 Saturday, Oct. 28 (opening reception), @ 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. | East Los Angeles

Visit the Vincent Price Art Museum to gaze upon the altars and ofrendas created by East Los Angeles College students taking professor Angelita Rovero’s Mexican Americans in the Arts in American Culture course. Tejana-music superstar Selena Quintanilla-Perez and actor Ritchie Valens are but two of the legendary Chicana/os whose lives are celebrated at this exhibit. FREE.

Dia De los Muertos: Death to Colonization
🕒 Thursday, Nov. 2, @ 5 to 10 p.m. | El Sereno

Following a month dotted with Dia de los Muertos activities—check out their sugar skull making and altar building/ etiquette workshops—Eastside Cafe will host an evening celebrating loved ones who have passed as well as decolonization victories. You are invited to share your own methods of decolonizing: the act of “abolishing white supremacy, bigotry and the roots of racism.” FREE.

Celebracion del Dia de los Muertos at Calvary Cemetery
🕒 Saturday, Nov. 4 @ 12 to 5 p.m. | East Los Angeles

East LA’s historic Calvary Cemetery will hold a traditional Day of the Dead celebration beginning with mass at noon, after which a procession will lead event-goers to various altars. Take a moment to meditate and reflect on loved ones who have passed. FREE.

Dia De Cultura – A Day of the Dead Celebration
🕒 Saturday, Nov. 4 @ 5 to 11 p.m. | Highland Park

Aside from the usual food trucks, art vendors and live music, Dia De Cultura will showcase five short films from “Cine Now! The Latino Lens Shorts Program.” This Dia de los Muertos event is also making an advanced request for photos of your dearly departed to be featured on an altar shared by the local community. FREE.

Self Help Graphics & Art’s 44th Annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration
🕒 Saturday, Nov. 4, @ 5 to 11 p.m. | Boyle Heights

The theme for this year’s Self Help Graphics and Arts Dia de Los Muertos celebration is “cultural legacy, past, present and future.” It all begins at Mariachi Plaza—the starting point for the night’s procession. If you miss the march (which you definitely shouldn’t) and find yourself lost, you can find everyone dancing to Mariachi Manchesterer or Almalafa Mexican Ska at Felícitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School. Riding the Metro Gold Line to get to this event is strongly suggested. FREE.

👻🔮 Warning: Not for Samhainophobics

Stranger Things: The Musical Tribute
🕒 Tuesdays until Oct. 31, doors @7 p.m. | Silver Lake

Based on the first season of the Netflix series Stranger Things, this musical comedy features “12 original songs inspired by the sound of 1983.” Think Michael Jackson, The Police and David Bowie. $60 for a pair of tickets.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
🕒 Select times and dates until Oct. 31 | Griffith Park

Confront and overcome your deep-seated fear of clowns (no thanks) at Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. This year, Ten Thirty One Productions brings four clown-themed scare zones: Haunted Hayride, House Of Shadows, Trick Or Treat and Purgatory. $44 general admission.

Heat-Wave Halloween Party
🕒 Saturday, Oct. 28, @ 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. | Elysian Valley

Dance until closing with other costumed Angelenos at Elysian Valley’s Zebulon. FREE.

14th Annual Halloween & Mourning Tours
🕒 Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29, @ 12 to 4 p.m. | Montecito Heights

There were different social norms for burying and mourning loved ones during the Victorian era. Learn all about them— as well as the Spiritualism movement—at Heritage Square Museum. $8 to $20 depending on age. Free for kids under 6 years old.

The 8th Annual Day of the Dead Event, EL VELORIO
🕒 Saturday, Nov. 4, @ 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. | Lincoln Heights

A 21 and over event, El Velorio brings Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich & Fussible as headliners to this benefit concert/ art exhibit hybrid at Plaza de la Raza. $32.64 early-bird tickets.

Dennis Lara-Mejia is a journalist based in Southeast Los Angeles who is interested in research, stamp collecting, postcard exchanging and comic books . 

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