Celebrating Día de los Muertos During a Pandemic

Each year, the City of Burien, in partnership with local community groups, hosts a popular Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration at the Burien Community Center. This year, the one-night event is being replaced with a series of virtual art workshops, performances, and altar building, and more! Want to know more about Día de los Muertos in Burien? Read this story, originally published in the Winter 2017 issue.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a helpful guide on how to celebrate this important holiday safely. As you plan your family gatherings, please consider these important safety tips.

Tips for Celebrating Día de los Muertos Safely

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Many traditional activities can put you at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19. There are several safer, alternative ways to celebrate Día de los Muertos. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Día de los Muertos festivities.

Lower risk activities

These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:

  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased
  • Setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased
  • Joining a virtual get-together celebration

Moderate risk activities

  • Having a small group outdoor, open-air parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
  • Visiting and decorating graves of loved ones with household members only and keeping more than 6 feet away from others who may be in the area
  • Hosting or attending a small dinner with local family and friends outdoors where people are distanced more than 6 feet part

Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting
  • Participating in crowded indoor gatherings or events
  • Having a large dinner party with people from different households coming from different geographic locations
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
Emily Inlow-Hood
Communications & Public Engagement Manager at 
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