Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dia De los Muertos

 Day of the Dead “Paint a Skull” Party

Not ready to pack up those skeletons after Halloween? Why not keep the party going a bit longer by celebrating the colorful Mexican holiday Dias de los Muertos.
Until recently this wasn’t a holiday I knew very much about.
Lucky for me I grew up with a mother who is a hostess and crafter extroadinaire. She can turn any occasion into a fabulous fete or find any excuse to throw a party. Considering Mexico is one of her favorite travel destinations, I wasn’t surprised to find myself invited to Dias de los Muertos luncheon and skull painting party.

A holiday honoring the dead may sound like a somber affair, but this is anything but a staid or serene occasion.  In Mexico it is a time for festivities, feasts, sweet sugar skulls, colorful decorations and the famous costumed skeleton characters depicted dancing and singing.

For more information and wonderful photos try this fun site or one of the many others covering this unique holiday.

Buffet-turned "Altar"

The altar is the centerpiece of the celebration and might feature photos of the deceased with objects representing their interests (wings for a pilot, paintbrushes or spoons for the artist or gourmet) and of course colorful skulls flowers and candles. My Mom turned her dining room buffet into a showstopper but a small table or shelf will work fine too. The important part is being creative and making it a personal tribute.

Some Altar "fun facts" 

Skulls, photos and trinkets

                  Lunch is Served

We dined on “squash”ed skull soup and “to die for” tea sandwiches with “coffin” cake and my attempt at sugar skulls for dessert.

Death by chocolate: Brownie "coffin cake" with white chocolate skeletons from candy molds

Sugar Skulls: see Halloween Dessert bar post for Instructions!
And we hung a traditional "Papel Picado" banner

Papel Picado: Day of the Dead Paper Banners

Banners make everything more festive and the famous Papel Picado cut paper flags so popular for the Day of the Dead in Mexico are true works of art, many cut by hand. You can order them online but many are quite pricey.
I tried to wing it by picking up some fun scrapbook paper at Joann's Crafts (my second home)
I splurged on the laser cut floral ($1.99) but the others range from 29- 59 cents. 
I cut the large squares into 4 equal size "banners" and cut some simple skull patterns and glued them on several of the plain background. I punched holes in the solid paper and strung them on colorful ribbon.
The fun part is choosing the colors or patterns to match your color scheme.
Let the Crafting begin!
Basket of Skulls- Brown paper forms from Joanne's crafts painted assorted solid colors

 The craft table included paints, stickers, beads, "faux"flowers and plastic eyeballs! Anything goes!

The ladies had a ball painting and gluing! The fun part is seeing how each creation turned out to be so unique. 
The Spooky Spectacular results!
From Flowers to Felines.....
to Pirates and Pesticides

Inspired by these great cat designs I found online I decided to honor our beloved four footed furry friends who have moved to the great beyond by adding cat ears and tinsel whiskers to my skull

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