Courtesy Creative Alliance
Courtesy Creative Alliance

The Creative Alliance is bringing artists, students, residents and community partners together en masse this weekend to colorfully pay their respects for Día de los Muertos.

While we traditionally celebrate Halloween each year with goofy or horrifying costumes and candy, in Mexican culture, people gather to remember their lost loved ones. Here in Baltimore, the Creative Alliance has been organizing a parade for 17 years now, largely from its headquarters just east of Patterson Park. Residents and artists from around Baltimore annually link up for the event to make their brightly lit lanterns and floats to display in celebration.

This year, the 17th Great Halloween Lantern Parade & Festival kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 3:30 p.m. The festival in Highlandtown will feature workshops where participants will learn to make their own lanterns, as well as food trucks, hayrides, a beer garden, live music, dancing, a costume contest and costume yoga. The parade comes later and goes through Patterson Park.

As for the art on display, attendees will find a full traditional Mexican artist market where makers will be selling their pottery, jewelry, embroidery and other works.

This year is special in that the Creative Alliance has worked with a group of Mexican artists to elaborate on the Day of the Dead theme, according to volunteer coordinator Samantha Mitchell. With their help, they have already built two large altars and are inviting the community to help create a third, Mitchell said. One of the two finished altars is about eight feet tall and four feet wide and is being housed at the Creative Alliance building on Eastern Avenue. The Southeast Anchor Library down the road is storing the other one.

Mitchell said she has worked with the Creative Alliance for four years now and has watched the event grow each year. “The parade itself is really and getting to witness that – seeing the whole community, all ages coming together in celebration,” she said.

The organization expects a large turnout for the free festival and parade on Saturday. They still need volunteers to help out for the day. If you’re interested and available, click here to sign up.

The parade of lights, floats and altars starts at 7 p.m. Here’s the Creative Alliance’s promo video for the event:

Ethan McLeod is an associate editor for Baltimore Fishbowl.

Avatar photo

Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...