The plight of homeless kids -- one "point-in-time" count in Santa Clara County this year claims there are 1,200 young people on the street on any given night -- is the focus of "Lighting the Way Home," a rally and walk in downtown San Jose on Friday evening.

City and Santa Clara County officials, along with former homeless youth, will speak at the 5:30 p.m. event, which marks the start of National Homeless & Runaway Prevention Month. After all the talking comes the walking: a 1-mile trek from City Hall to the Bill Wilson Center's drop-in location at 694 S. Second St., a safe place where homeless kids can get help.

The event is free and open to the public.

A SPANISH MYSTERY: I doubt Sarah Winchester celebrated Dia de los Muertos back in her day, but it's never too late to start. The Winchester Mystery House has partnered with the Consul General of Mexico in San Jose to create a Dia de los Muertos altar in honor of the late Mrs. Winchester in the half-acre hay maze that's been set up across the street from her sprawling mansion. The traditional altar will be in one of two rooms in the maze, and the other will showcase the folk art of Mexican illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada, which also is being displayed throughout the mansion this weekend.


Advertisement

The celebrations mark the debut of self-guided audio tours in Spanish of the landmark tourist attraction. The event runs Friday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and includes face painting and free Pan de Muerto provided by another San Jose landmark, the Pink Elephant Bakery. Go to www.winchestermysteryhouse.com or call 408-247-2000 for ticket information.

DANCE BENEFIT: More than a dozen dance crews will be performing Friday at San Jose State's Morris Daily Auditorium to raise money for Smile Train, a charity that funds operations for children suffering from cleft lip or cleft palate. The Spartans Best Dance Crew event was created by Alejandro Sanchez and members of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity last year and has raised more than $4,000 so far, which translates to better lives for 11 kids.

Tickets to the 7 p.m. event -- $8 in advance and $10 at the door -- are available at the San Jose State Event Center box office.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.