The spirits of the dead are alive and well in San Antonio, the site of some of the nation’s most thrilling Halloween observances and culturally infused Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations.
During the month of October, San Antonio’s fun-filled attractions, including family favorites SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas offer ghoulish fun and death-defying rides for all ages. Following the haunting, San Antonio revels in the traditions of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic cultures through November 2, with traditional and contemporary Día de Los Muertos festivities. Día de Los Muertos is a special observance when the souls of the deceased are said to join the living in a festival to eat, drink and rejoice as they did when they were living.
This holiday is great for lovers of culture and history as well as the family’s looking for an authentic and themed Halloween celebration. Age-old customs are evident in colorful displays and altares (altars) set up throughout the city. Family and friends of the deceased create these altares, dedicating them to the spirits of their loved ones. Candles, brilliant flowers, and photos of loved ones are arranged among incense and ofrendas (offerings) like toys, drinks, and favorite foods. Special delicacies such as traditional Mexican mole sauce, tamales, the ritual pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and lustrous sugar skulls are prepared for the offering. Processions to cemeteries are organized, all-night vigils are held and satirical poems, called calaveras (skulls), are read.
Just a Few San Antonio Halloween Events
SeaWorld San Antonio – Howl-o-Scream
See SeaWorld San Antonio’s Fall Schedule.
The fun begins in October when San Antonio’s fun-filled attractions, including family favorites like SeaWorld San Antonio, morph into haunting lands of costumed characters with haunted houses and trick-or-treating.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas – Fright Fest
See Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Fall Schedule.
It’s thrilled by day and chills by night at Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Fright Fest. The park will transform into a Halloween playground with hair-raising shows, electrifying entertainment, children’s trick-or-tricking, and special activities just for kids.
Market Square – Los Altares Del Mercado
October 18 – Nov. 2
Colorful altares decorated with flowers, photographs of loved ones, and traditional pan de muerto can be found at Market Square, the nation’s largest Mexican market.
San Antonio Botanical Garden – BOOtanica
Held in the city’s enchanting Botanical Garden, BOOtanica delights visitors with arts and crafts, pumpkin carving and a costume contest.
San Antonio Zoo – ZooBoo
October 30 – 31
An exciting, safe and non-scary event with trick-or-treating, face painting and a costume contest.
Southwest School of Art & Craft – Día de los Muertos: La Ofrenda
October 30 – November 1
Southwest School of Art & Craft artists, staff, students and friends are invited to bring personal offerings to honor the memory of an ancestor.
SAY Sí – Muertito Fest
SAY Sí celebrates with its 2nd annual Día de los Muertos Festival featuring altar workshops, music stages, film screenings, community altars, crafts, and food booths.
URBAN 15 – Carnival de los Muertos
URBAN-15 celebrates the joyful memories of departed friends and family in a parade of dancing and drumming by performers in muerto (dead) costumes. Festivities begin in Southtown at 7:00 p.m. and travel to Centro Cultural Aztlan to perform at their Altar Ofrenda at 8:00 p.m.
Mission San José – Día de los Muertos Exhibit and Altar
November 2 – 4
This three-day, park-sponsored event provides activities and programs to explain the history, symbolism, and relevance behind Día de los Muertos. Ofrendas will be on display in the visitor center and church.