The Canyon Country Community Center held its 2nd Annual Halloween event with a “Dia de los Muertos” theme in which community members had the opportunity to learn about a significant day in Hispanic culture and honor and celebrate its importance.
At the celebration, altars with ofrendas (offerings) to honor deceased family members were on display for attendees to view. Staff members and volunteers wore culturally inspired dresses and skeleton face painting with jewels showcasing the artistic, vibrant-colored costumes Hispanics wear on “Dia de los Muertos.”
There was also a live mariachi band performing covers of popular Spanish-language music that families could enjoy during the entirety of the celebration.
“Bringing this to the community means that it’s part of the richness of the culture. It’s a wonderful way to not just have fun but educate folks about the traditions,” said Community Services Supervisor Julie Calderon. “This is a very revered holiday in Hispanic culture, so it really does … present the opportunity for people to learn more about it in a fun way.”
Kickstarting the holiday season at the community center, “Dia de los Muertos” was the first installation of festivities for the fall.
“I like to take them to all the cultural events out here,” said attendee Sara Martin Del Campo. She was present with her two children Mateo and Valentina. She said her favorite part of the event was the music.
“I love seeing the colorful decorations. Dia de los Muertos is always something so beautiful to witness and they (the center staff) did an amazing job,” said attendee David Juarez. “It really allows people to learn about this special cultural day and what it means to us Latinos.”
The city of Santa Clarita’s Canyon Country Community Center offers a variety of classes and enrichment programs for people of all ages.
Jay Somaratne, a volunteer, said he supports the work and services the center provides for the youth. “They’re helping young people to understand their artistic values and other values and teaching them how to control their mind and energy,” Somaratne said.
Children participated in activities such as trick-or-treating, tote decorating, and face painting. A “Zombie Run” created in the gymnasium by the youth sports group, challenged attendees to walk through a maze where “zombies” chased them.