SALINAS VALLEY — Nearly a dozen spine-chilling activities to celebrate Halloween and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) return this weekend in the Salinas Valley.

The frightful festivities, many of which were either canceled or modified last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are taking place again in each of the four South Monterey County cities, some with age restrictions and health guidelines.


La Cocina in King City will present the annual Illuminated Procession, a lighted parade celebrating the Mexican heritage tradition of Day of the Dead, on Friday, Oct. 29. The parade begins at 6 p.m. at Broadway and Third streets.

The procession will continue up Broadway to La Cocina — the local open-air market at 815 Broadway St. — for an after party, including food, music, dance and performances. Additional sponsors include Sol Treasures, JV Automobiles, Jenny’s Cake Decoration and Community Foundation for Monterey County.

In addition, La Cocina is presenting a Catrina Contest on Friday, with the parade and judging at 6:30 p.m. There will be cash prizes for two categories, 12 and under and adult. For more information, call Tina Lopez at 831-596-1898.

Though not necessarily a “spooky” event, Sol Treasures will be hosting its Hometown Market on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A dozen vendors will be present to sell homemade goods outside the gallery at 519 Broadway St. in King City.

On Sunday, Oct. 31, King City Recreation Department will host its fourth annual Trunk or Treat from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds Expo Lawn. 

The family-friendly event is free for children ages 2 to 12 and features businesses, organizations and community members decorating the trunks of their cars for Halloween and passing out candy. There will also be a costume contest with fun prizes.

To decorate a trunk, help sponsor a trunk or for more information, go to or call the Rec Department at 831-385-6748.


City of Greenfield is hosting two holiday decorating contests, entries of which are due by Friday.

The Halloween House Decorating Contest will choose five haunting homes to receive a $100 cash prize. To enter, residents must share photos of their decorated house and tag the city using the hashtag #greenfieldspookyhomes2021, or send photos to 831-236-5993.

The Sugar Skull Decorating Contest for Día de los Muertos will select five of the best skulls to receive a $30 cash prize. Residents can use their own sugar skull to decorate or pick up a free one from the Greenfield Community Science Workshop at 45 El Camino Real. To enter, share a photo and use the hashtag #calaveritasgreenfield2021, or send the photo to 831-236-5993.

Greenfield Cultural Arts Center is hosting its annual Día de los Muertos Festival on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 3 to 7 p.m., to celebrate the Mexican heritage honoring loved ones who have died. 

The free event will take place at the Arts Center, 215 El Camino Real, where altars and artwork will be on display inside with music, dance and art activities outside.

“This is our third Día de los Muertos at the Arts Center, and we hope that our community will come out and celebrate this wonderful tradition,” said Ellen Martin, executive director of First Night Monterey, which oversees the Greenfield Cultural Arts Center.

Martin said the public is welcome to come dressed in the spirit of Day of the Dead and a costume contest will be held with prizes.

On Sunday, Oct. 31, Scheid Vineyards will present Food and Music On the Patio from 1 to 4 p.m. at the winery, 1972 Hobson Ave., in Greenfield.

The Halloween event, open to those 21 years and older, will feature a costume contest, music with James Sweetwater and food by B & B Foods. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded for best costume.


Front Street, in collaboration with the City of Soledad and Soledad Police Department, will host the second annual Front Street’s Spook Fest on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 1 to 6 p.m.

The family-friendly event takes place on Front Street, between Encinal and Soledad streets, and features a parade, music, carnival games, pumpkin decorating, costume contests, car decorating contest and trunk-or-treat following the parade at 5 p.m. The community is invited to park and hand out treats.


City of Gonzales will present Halloween Movie Night, a free family-friendly event, on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Centennial Park. The first movie is “Hotel Transylvania,” from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and the second movie is “When a Stranger Calls,” from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Limited lawn seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, or residents can watch from the comfort of their vehicle. For more information, visit or call 675-5000.

The Gonzales community is also invited to the city’s first Día de los Muertos Celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m., at Centennial Park.

The event, sponsored by Measure K, will feature Mexican food and culture, activities for youth and more. Community members may bring a framed photo of their loved ones who have died to add to the altar, as well. 

Masks are encouraged for those planning to attend. Call 831-756-9085 for more information.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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