Comida Latina, Recipes

Friends Who Fete: How To Throw A Dia de los Muertos Fiesta

October 6, 2016
How To Throw A Dia De los Muertos Fiesta

Celebrate your loved ones with a colorful Dia de los Muertos fiesta! With 6 recipes, tons of decorating ideas, DIY florals, and a shoppable list!

One of the greatest joys of moving back to California has been reconnecting with old friends. There were so many solitary days over the past seven years in North Dakota that I longed to collaborate with fellow professional foodies; to learn and ask questions, to swap ideas and basically figure shit out. I made it my mission once we moved back to get in touch with friends old and new.

How To Throw A Dia de los Muertos Fiesta

A Dia de los Muertos celebration seemed like the perfect way to reconnect. This traditional Mexican holiday is a time to remember and honor our loved ones who have passed away and to gather together with all your friends and family here on Earth to rejoice in the beauty and brightness that is life. I immediately thought of Meg from Beard and Bonnet, a person I have worked with virtually (and admired greatly) but have never met in real life and my dear friend Aida from Salt and Wind who I’ve known for a decade now and has been an inspiration to me personally and professionally.

How to Throw A Day of the Dead Fiesta

Dia de los Muertos is first and foremost a fiesta of the senses 

How To Throw A Dia de los Muertos Fiesta

DIY Floral and Fruit Portraits

The idea of a Day of the Dead party is to fill the space with as many colors and flavors, delicious scents and music to awaken those who have passed on to the other side. Meg and Todd (who took all the gorgeous photos in this post) from Beard and Bonnet and Meredith Ambruso (mer_ambruso on Instagram) came together with the most brilliant flower arrangements. You can find the tutorial on how to make these incredible floral portraits on Beard and Bonnet.

How To Throw A Dia de los Muertos Fiesta

The Altar

The backdrop for our fete was Meg and Todd’s gorgeous courtyard. They assembled the most stunning altar in which we hung pictures of our loved ones who have passed, lit candles, flowers, and sugar skulls and decorated it from head to toe with the generous gift of fruits and fall produce from Melissa’s Produce. An altar filled with sweet smelling flowers, ripe fruit, light, and photos beckons those who are gone to come back into this world for one more night.

How to Throw a Dia de los muertos fiesta

The Cocktail

To toast friendships, old and new, we created mezcal margaritas made with dried marigold syrup. Marigold flowers are symbolic of Dia de los Muertos. In Oaxaca, Mexico the streets are lined with oversized marigolds throughout the month of October leading up to Day of the Dead, which takes place on November 1st and 2nd.

How To Throw A Dia de los Muertos Fiesta

Dia de los Muertos Menu

Marigold Mezcal Margaritas

Vegan Green Pozole

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole

Mexican Red Rice with Roasted Salsa Roja

Rainbow Jicama Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Spiced Mexican Chocolate Coconut Pie

Pumpkin Spice Pan de Muerto

How To Throw A Dia de los Muertos Fiesta

The meal started with a spicy vegan green pozole that Meg made with fresh soaked hominy and poblano peppers. Then there was creamy chicken enchiladas bathed in a jamaica mole sauce, Mexican Red Rice, Rainbow Jicama Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, and to finish the meal Aida made a decadent Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie piled a mile high with whipped cream and toasted coconut. I also made loaves of Pumpkin Spice Pan de Muerto, a traditional sweet yeasted bread symbolic of Day of the Dead. I will post links to all the recipes here over the next couple weeks.

How To Throw A Dia de los Muertos Fiesta

Particulars for Party Planners


Fall fruits and produce: Melissa’s Produce

DIY Floral and Fruit Day of the Dead Altars


Luchador bottle openers

Mini Mason Jars

Enamelware table setting

Dansk Kobenstyle Saucepan (for rice)

Dansk Kobenstyle Buffet Platter (for salad)

Le Creuset Serving Platter (for Enchiladas)

Mosser Glass Cake Stand


Marigold Mezcal Margarita Recipe

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole

Rainbow Jicama Salad Recipe

Mexican Red Rice with Roasted Salsa Roja

Spiced Mexican Chocolate Coconut Pie

Pumpkin Spice Pan de Muerto

All Photography Courtesy of Beard and Bonnet

A big thank you to Melissa’s Produce for all the beautiful fruit and vegetables for our fiesta

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  • Aida Mollenkamp October 6, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    I think we need to plan regular parties because this was so much fun!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos October 7, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Agreed! I’m so happy we are close enough again to do this!

  • Lola (Lola's Cocina) October 8, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Kate, I love everything about this post — the pictures, the recipes, the decor! It’s absolutely beautiful.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos October 8, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks so much Lola!! I’m so happy you liked it!!

  • October 10, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I’m in awwwww! I love to see collaborations between bloggers. BRAVO! Everything looks stunning. Those flower arrangements are jaw dropping. Everything is gorgeouos. I hosted a sugar skull decorating fiesta and look forward to sharing it on my blog.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos October 15, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      Really?!! I can’t wait to see it! I love this time of year!