Día de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, also commonly referred to as ‘Mexican Halloween’, is actually not like Halloween at all. Día de Los Muertos is a completely different holiday, full of its own vibrant history and traditions, and a few shared roots with Halloween…we’ll explain…
Día de Los Muertos is a celebration that starts on October 28th and ends on November 2nd, that all together is meant to pay tribute to and honor deceased loved ones and relatives. Día de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead practices, dress, foods, and symbols are meant to focus more on the celebration of a past loved one, celebrating their life, and is much less about mourning.
So with that in mind, let us help you put together some fun and authentic Day of the Dead celebration decor that is fun, lively, and true to the time-honored traditions they represent.
Quite possibly the most recognizable symbol of Dia de Los Muertos is the La Catarina. The tall female skeleton face makeup mixed with colorful headdresses, and fancy clothes. Sorry gents, this costume look is for the ladies. But with so many possibilities and artistic variations on this look, every lady at the celebration can dress as her own La Catrina.
Marigolds are a versatile and essential part of Día de Los Muertos events or decor. Often referred to as flor de muerto or flowers of the dead, the scent is believed to attract souls to the altar. Marigolds are used for decor, as centerpieces, mixed with incense for an ofendra or altar, or part of a La Catrina headpiece. For your celebration make sure to decorate the food spread with them for a nice pop of color on the table.
Papel Picado or perforated paper comes in many bright vibrant colors and is most recognizable when used as a banner for decoration. Oftentimes you will see a home or a city street lined with dozens of papel picado in all sorts of colors and patterns. Making these at home is easy with small intricate cuts that make almost snowflake-like patterns. Including these is essential in any decoration as they symbolize the fragility of life, thus the celebration.
Now to the tasty part of the Day of the Dead celebrations – the sugary foods. Starting with the most iconic, being sugar candy molded into the shape of a skull and painted with colorful faces. These can be a variety of colors and sizes and are lots of fun for guests to create their own.
Pan de Muerto
Pan de Muerto or bread of the dead is another sweet and iconic inclusion. Soft sweet bread with a hint of anise, is designed with a circle and limbs on each side to mimic the shape of a skull and crossbones. Used historically for offerings at an altar, they are now an essential part of any Día de los Muertos spread.
For more ideas and looks to utilize for your next Day of the Dead party, make sure to check out our Toast of the Town Pinterest page with multiple design boards specifically for fun Día De Los Muertos designs.