1 Celebrate Halloween and Día de los Muertos

Halloweekend, Los Alamos

If you’re that person—or family—who’s really into Halloween, Los Alamos is the place to be this weekend, as the city’s annual Halloweekend event offers tons of holiday fun. On Friday, trick-or-treat on Main Street from 4 to 6 p.m., dress up your pup and hit the pet costume parade at 4:30 p.m. at the lawn near Boese Brothers, and get the little ones’ hands into some spooky science at the Bradbury Museum, or creepy-crawlies at the Nature Center, from 4 to 6 p.m. Brave souls can enter a haunted house at the Knights of Columbus/Colombian Club Hall from 6 to 9 p.m., and join in an 8 p.m. screening/performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Los Alamos Little Theater.

On Saturday, the creepy celebrations continue with the Barranca Mesa Elementary Trick-or-Trot. Participants run a 5K or 1-mile fun run starting at 9 a.m. A fall party with pumpkin carving, a costume runway, cookie decorating, outdoor games, and trick-or-treating happens at Family Strengths Network from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The planetarium at the Los Alamos Nature Center shows Hotel Transylvania at 2 p.m., and both the haunted house and Rocky Horror happen again on Saturday night. That’s not even scratching the surface of all the haunts in store, so check the event’s website for a full lineup of seasonal fun.

Pumpkin Glow, Los Alamos

Head to White Rock’s Overlook Park on Saturday evening and catch the Pumpkin Glow from 6 to 9 p.m. It’s gonna be lit with jack-o-lanterns, bouncy houses, fireworks, food, and spooky tunes. But first, attend the pumpkin carving party in the Smith’s Marketplace parking lot on Saturday morning, 10 a.m. to noon, where carving tools and stencils are provided to turn your pumpkin into a scary delight. The Los Alamos Arts Council transports pumpkins from the carving party to Overlook Park to be part of the Pumpkin Glow, but you can also drop jack-o-lanterns at the park from 1 to 4 p.m. to have them featured at the event. Take your pumpkin home after the glow or it will be composted.

Haunted Walk at Wingfield Park, Ruidoso

Prepare for a night of frights, Ruidoso–style, at the Haunted Walk, held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in Wingfield Park.

Santa Fe celebrates Día de los Muertos with two days of festivities. Photograph courtesy of Visit Santa Fe.

Día de los Muertos, Santa Fe Plaza

The City Different starts a new tradition this year with its Friday and Saturday celebrations of Día de los Muertos on the Plaza. Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, catch live music from Las Flores del Valle, Mariachi Tenampa, and Carlos Medina Conjunto. The groups will perform a variety of regional Mexican tunes, including corridos, cumbias, rancheras, and more.

Saturday, the party starts at noon with the community decorating of ofrendas, altars created to honor loved ones who have passed on. Free face paintings, a screening of the movie Coco; a glow-in-the-dark parade, and a dance party round out the evening. Expect the Plaza to be laden with marigolds and papel picado (cut paper) banners, filled with colorful masks, costumes, and vendors selling traditional items to decorate ofrendas.

Día de los Muertos, Mesilla

Altars that speak to a vibrant afterlife surround the Plaza in Mesilla during the town’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration, held Friday to Sunday. Families honor their late loved ones with altars featuring photos, candles, sugar skulls, flowers, and the favorite foods and treats of those who have passed. Hosted by the Calavera Coalition, the weekend is a beloved tradition that draws an international bunch of visitors. Expect food vendors, music, dancing, and touching displays of affection for our antepasados.

Haunted activities at Las Cruces Museum System

Get free admission to Las Cruces museums on Saturday as they host a slew of Halloween-themed activities. Craft monster slime and get a look at the creepy crawly arthropods at the Museum of Nature & Science from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Make mini pumpkins out of clay and get a classic pumpkin pie recipe at the Museum of Art. Attend at Grimm’s Fairy Tale Workshop at the Branigan Cultural Center from 10 a.m. to noon, where you can make your own fairy-tale book and wooden gingerbread houses just like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel.

Kennedi Carter's "Grooming, 2020" is among the works featured in the Harwood Museum's new exhibit, "Outriders: Legacy of the Black Cowboy." Photograph courtesy of the Harwood Museum.

2 Dive into Black cowboy culture.

The Harwood Museum, in Taos, celebrates its new exhibit, Outriders: Legacy of the Black Cowboy, with a Friday party from 5 to 8 p.m., plus an artists’ panel on Saturday at 2 p.m. The exhibit highlights “drivers, fiddlers, cowpunchers, cattle rustlers, cooks, singers, bulldoggers, and broncobusters with African heritage,” with a series of historic images and contemporary works.  

Nicole Dial-Kay, curator of collections and exhibitions at the Harwood Museum, says the exhibit is a two-parter. “The historical narrative consists of about 30 archival photos that we sourced around the country over the last few years,” she says. “There has never been this large of a historical collection of photos of Black cowboys.”

With photos ranging from before the Civil War through the 20th century, the collection reveals an underrepresented faction of the American West, pairing historical photos with responses from contemporary artists, including Alexander Harrison and Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, to help amplify the stories of Black cowboys.

“There are works by artists coming from different perspectives, including cowboys and cowgirls from the rodeo industry, and then others who are thinking more conceptually about this ideal of the American cowboy and where that exists in the Black narrative,” Dial-Kay says. 

Enjoy live music at the Friday night opening and meet some of the artists at Saturday’s panel.

The Cloudcroft Harvest Festival includes a costume parade, games, pumpkin decorating, and trick-or-treating. Photograph by David Edkins/Unsplash.

3 Reap the harvest.

The fall fun starts in Cloudcroft at 2 p.m. on Saturday, when the Cloudcroft Harvest Festival kicks off on Swallow Place in front of the public library. It includes a costume parade, nachos, games, pumpkin decorating, and trick-or-treating on Burro Avenue.

Cindi Bradshaw, manager at the Cloudcroft Chamber of commerce, says the event is a ton of family fun. “It’s something free for the kids and adults, and it really brings our community together.” Kiddos can participate in a pumpkin roll and push pumpkins down a hill to see whose gourd goes fastest. At 3 p.m., a parade goes from the library to the First Baptist Church, where there will be food, games, and both a costume and pumpkin decorating contest. Businesses on Burro Avenue host trick-or-treaters until 5 p.m.

The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum unveils its new Dairy Spot: Discovery Center on Saturday with free ice cream to the first 500 visitors. Photograph courtesy of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

4 Scream for ice cream.

The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum in Las Cruces hosts a creamy party on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the new-and-improved Dairy Spot: Discovery Center. Milking demonstrations and the chance to make your own ice cream are just part of the fun, which also includes butter churning, an “I Spy” activity, a cheese fridge, and oodles of facts about cows, milk, and cheese. The first 500 visitors get a free 5-ounce serving of Caliche’s Frozen Custard, in Alamogordo.

5 See a new opera.

Voting and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer famously addressed the 1964 Democratic National Convention, asking the party to replace its all-white delegation from Mississippi with an integrated group. A new one-act opera, This Little Light of Mine, tells her story. With the help of her adopted daughter Dorothy Jean Hamer and freedom fighter June Johnson, the performance provides perspective and insight into the activist’s life. Presented by the Santa Fe Opera, This Little Light of Mine sees its world premiere at the Lensic Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, with additional showings on Saturday and Sunday.

Read more: For more things to do, check out our online calendar of events.