There is a lot of confusion about the difference between the day of the dead and Halloween in most countries of the world. A lot of people confuse the two holidays because of its massive resemblance in decorations. The truth is, there are two different holidays with different significant importance. The day of the dead has deeper societal values when compared to Halloween. It means more than playing tricks on neighbors, handing out candies to kids and sitting around dressed like a monster. In this informative piece, we are going to take you through the difference between the day of the dead and Halloween.


The day of the dead (Día de Los Muertos) is a popular holiday celebrated mainly in North America. The holiday is observed in honor of deceased relatives and friends. The day of the dead is usually celebrated in two days, November 1 and 2.  It is believed that the dead comes back to the earth to visit earth during these two days.  During the preparation for the holiday, cemeteries and graves are usually cleaned up and prepared for the celebrations. Graves are decorated with flowers, scented candles, decorative objects and mementos of the dead.

The two-day holiday serves as a memorial and thanksgiving period for remembering the dead. Families gather at the cemetery to talk about the lives of their relatives and dead ones who have died. This holiday, unlike Halloween, is a time to reflect on the essence of life. Families come together to talk about their ancestors, their family line and how those who they loved but are now dead live their life.

The reason why they clean up the cemetery is to prepare them to receive the spirits of the dead. Home decorations are not left out too. Everywhere is cleaned up and covered with pictures of the dead. Families prepare the favorite foods of their departed loved one and place them around in the bid to entice them towards coming back home.

Varieties in Rural Communities

The day of the dead is more intense in the rural communities because the core values of the celebration are appreciated more by locals who understand the benefits of the ceremony. They are the ones that usually take it to heart and give their all when preparing for the holiday. They also engage in celebrating their dead loved once by replicating what the person does for a living or loves doing while he was alive.

The celebration is more of partying and decorations in cities and urban areas. People gather around drinking and celebrating the lives of their dead friends, family members or colleagues. The decorations in the urban areas are not as natural as the rural areas but are flashy and bear some resemblance to what you would see during Halloween. The substantial overlap between the decorations used for the two holidays is the primary reason why the two holidays are mostly confused with each other. Mind you; they are two different holidays.