Home Upcoming Events Creative Retreat for Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) with Helen Byers G2201019

Creative Retreat for Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) with Helen Byers G2201019

This workshop is full. Please select another workshop or add your name to the waitlist. Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) is the Latin American holiday coinciding with Halloween, All Souls’ Day, and All Saints’ Day. It is both a shared acknowledgment of death’s reality and a celebration of the lives of departed loved ones. Come explore the creative whimsy and dark humor, cultural history and creative arts of this ancient festivity. We will make traditional Mexican crafts, including papel picado (cut paper banners), playfully decorated sugar skulls, pan de muertos (a sweet bread), and ofrendas (memorial “altars”).

The retreat is housed at Casa del Sol, an historic adobe house two miles beyond the main campus of Ghost Ranch, overlooking the high-desert cliffs, mesas, and mountain that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe. Mornings will begin with discussion of a poem or short text, followed by crafts. Afternoons will provide time to relax, hike, take a ranch tour or horseback ride, or visit nearby sites such as Ojo Caliente Hot Springs. Evenings will offer documentary videos, firelight, stars, and camaraderie. Throughout our time, we will decorate and share our ofrendas created for Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos). Join us for thoughtful discussion and creative fun!

About the Instructor: Helen Byers is an award-winning artist, author, and educator of visual art and literature who lives near Abiquiu. She has also lived and traveled extensively in Mexico. She has been a Ghost Ranch instructor since 2005. For more information about Helen and her work—including a slideshow from previous Días de los Muertos courses—visit her website, helenbyers.com.


“It was the best experience I’ve had at a seminar anywhere.”

“Excellent workshop!! Inspiring to all who participated…. Helen did a fantastic job of accumulating the materials and instructing us in the construction of the traditional crafts associated with Días de los Muertos, as well as informing us of the historical and spiritual background of the tradition.”

“Wonderful use of resources, media, hands-on. Helen is very organized but informal and open, welcoming, spiritually grounded, participatory. … I would highly recommend to others interested in the topic, indigenous cultures of the Americas, or Ghost Ranch.”


click to download


Please use the options below to find helpful information regarding Ghost Ranch Workshops and Retreats

If you need shuttle service, please reach out to Kevin at White Buffalo Shuttle 831.359.8077/ |  nivek@cruzio.com

No notes for this event

Virtual Events: Payments made for Virtual Events are non-refundable. If you are unable to attend the event, recordings will be made available to you after the event. For events with multiple sessions, every attempt will be made to make the session(s) available to you before the next scheduled session.

In-Person Events: During this Covid-19 pandemic period, written notification must be received no later than 45 days prior to the start date of your workshop in order to receive a refund, minus a $100 processing charge. No refunds will be processed after that time. We reserve the right to announce a change in leadership or cancel any program 45 days prior to the first day of the workshop. In that event, you may transfer to another workshop without charge or we will refund the full workshop payment. Many participants have found it helpful to purchase travel insurance. This cancellation policy does not apply to January term. If the cancellation is Covid-related and is received less than 45 days prior to your start date, your funds will be left on deposit for another ghost ranch workshop or future stay or you can make it a full donation to support us through this unique business period.

Ghost Ranch Scholarship Request

Thank you for your interest in applying for a Ghost Ranch scholarship. The typical scholarship amount is $100-350. We are able to grant more scholarships in the winter, spring and late fall seasons than we are in the summer months. 

You will receive a copy of your scholarship form after you submit it and should hear back from Ghost Ranch about your application within a 10 working days. If you have additional questions, please reach out to Robin Keck, robingk@ghostranch.org.



Click here to see a full list of FAQs

What day/time does the workshop start and end?

In-person workshops begin with check-in at 3:00 p.m. and a ranch orientation in the evening on the first date listed for the course and end at 10:00 a.m. with checkout on the last date listed.

Virtual workshops will have a varied schedule that is identified within each workshop description.

During Covid safety period - single occupancy lodging is the standard
  • During Covid-19 periods, all lodging types will be single occupancy at no additional charge. Of course, you can share a room with a spouse, partner, family or another person that shares your full-time residence. The extra folks that share a room will pay for workshop registration fees and meals.
What is the difference between a room with private bath, a room with semi-private or shared bath, and a room with communal/dorm bath?

Private bath refers to the type of bathroom, not single occupancy

Private Bath Room: There is a bathroom in that one room that is not shared between or with any other rooms. The highest rate tier of Ghost Ranch lodging.

Semi-private/shared: There is a bathroom between two rooms that is shared by the occupants of the two adjoining sleeping rooms. These rooms will only be used as family or group suites, not to be shared by unknown neighbors as in the past.

Communal/dorm: There is a communal bathroom/shower in the lodging building and participants will need to exit their room to reach these facilities.

Click here to learn more about lodging at Ghost Ranch



  • Helen Byers
    Helen Byers

    Helen Byers is an award-winning artist, book illustrator, author, editor, and educator who has taught annually at Ghost Ranch since 2005. She has also taught at the University of California (Santa Barbara), Tower Hill Botanic Garden (MA), Santa Fe Botanical Garden, The O’Keeffe Welcome Center (Abiquiu), Concord Center for the Visual Arts (MA), Fruitlands Museums (MA), Tin Mountain Conservation Center (NH), and privately. Her botanical art has shown in juried international exhibitions of the American Society of Botanical Artists & the Horticultural Society of New York, Filoli Estates (CA), and with the New England Society of Botanical Artists at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and other venues. Visit www.helenbyers.com and www.facebook.com/helenbyersart to learn more about her work.


Oct 30 2022 - Nov 03 2022





Pin It on Pinterest