Making and decorating a skull for the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a cherished tradition in Mexico to honor loved ones who have passed away. It’s both a celebration of life and death where families get together, on November 1 and 2. It should not be confused with Halloween.
Colorful sugar skulls or calaveritas are used in altars to honor the deceased. The ofrendas usually include the favorite foods, water, family photos, and candles for each dead relative. Marigolds are also used to decorate the altars and families bake Pan de Muertos, a sweet, delicious bread shaped like bones. The elegant version of the skulls is called a Catrina, and you will see them everywhere in Mexico in the week leading up to the Día de los Muertos.
To familiarize yourself even more with this beautiful tradition, I highly recommend you see Coco, which is one of my favorite Pixar movies. Do have tissues handy, because it will tug at your heartstrings.
If you decide to celebrate the Día de los Muertos, you can have the children make calaveras or skulls for the Day of the Dead. Here is an easy craft that will look beautiful on any altar.
Paper mache skull or calavera for the Day of the Dead
You will need:
- Paper mache skull
- White matte acrylic paint
- Foam paint brush
- Paint pens
- Paper flowers
- Self-adhesive gems
- Glue dots
- Paint the paper mache mask white and allow to dry completely.
- Decorate the skull using the paint pens. Don’t be scared of using different colors!
- Add paper flowers using the glue dots and self-adhesive gems to embellish your design.