Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead if you like) is sometimes seen as the Mexican version of Halloween. Actually it's rather more complex than that. It stems from ancient indigenous Mexican belief that at midnight on 31 October, the gates of heaven open and the spirits of deceased family members come to enjoy the celebrations for the first two days of November.
Whether you buy into that or not, it's a great excuse to wear face paint and drink tequila. Here are the best events in London honouring the tradition...
Dia de los Muertos fiesta takeover at El Pastór
Sliding in just after Day of the Dead but thoroughly on-theme, taco-mongers El Pastór are hosting a Dia de los Muertos fiesta takeover. On 3 November at 10 pm they'll be pushing tables back and bringing in a line-up of DJs, mezcal and tequila cocktails, and an ofrenda — a traditional decorative altar.
El Pastór, 6-7A Stoney Street, SE1 9AA. Tickets are £20, and include a drink. 3 November.
Traditional Day of the Dead foods at Mestizo
One of our favourite Mexican restaurants in London, Mestizo has a special menu for Day of the Dead - including traditional pan de muertos bread - with a traditional altar on display in the restaurant.
Mestizo, 103 Hampstead Road, NW1 3EL. 2 November.
Mezcal guac at Cantina Laredo
This Covent Garden Mexican restaurant's hosting a mezcal-fuelled four-course fiesta to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. The dinner features one-off dishes like smokey flower mezcal guacamole - for those who like their guac to pack an alcoholic punch - and duck tacos with Nutella mole, and when the four courses are done there'll be a DJ set to take you through to the small hours.
Cantina Laredo, 10 Upper St Martin's Lane, WC2H 9FB. Tickets are £55, and include four courses and a drink. 2 November.
Day of the Dead fiesta at Junkyard Golf
Dark underground rooms, neon lighting, evil clown heads decorating the courses - Junkyard Golf was already pretty spooky. But they're taking it to a new level for their Day of the Dead celebrations - actually running on Halloween, just to keep you on your toes - with scare artists, magicians and circus performers. And cocktails, because you'll need a stiff drink to tackle that lot. Book ahead.
Junkyard Golf, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. 31 October.
LOSTACOS pop-up at Doodle Bar
A themed taco pop-up is arriving in Bermondsey to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with a night of music, film, mezcal cocktails... and glow-in-the-dark tacos. They might not be traditional, but they'll certainly add an edge of surreal spookiness to your dinner.
Doodle Bar, 60 Druid Street, SE1 2EZ. 22 October and 29 October.
Death Day at Queen of Hoxton
This Shoreditch pub hosts a Día De Los Muertos Death Day Party, complete with Mexican carnival vibe and grime, hip-hop, house, disco and afrobeat tunes.
Queen of Hoxton, 1 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX. Tickets are £5, book ahead. 28 October.
Wahaca's Day of the Dead festival at The Vaults
This is the place for late night DOTD celebrating, with every evening of this three day festival packed with Mexican music, food and art till 2 am. Use the time to explore the labyrinth tunnels — among them, one decked out like a Mayan jungle.
People after more family-friendly hours for los niños can visit their Family Day from 1pm-4pm on 4 November.
The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN. Tickets are £25, or from £10 for the Family Day event. All profits are going to victims of the Mexican earthquakes. 2-4 November.