Create Your Day of the Dead Altar

Making your Day of the Dead altar is a perfect opportunity to strengthen Hispanic culture by making your own altar at home with your children.

This is not supposed to be a scary tradition of witches and ghosts. Instead, this holiday celebrates our love for family members and friends who departed.

A perfect way to so so is by creating our Day of the Dead altar which serves to show the deceased ones our love and respect once they find their way home on November 1st and 2nd when they come visit us.

Day of the Dead is today a fusion of the Aztec traditions and the Catholic evangelization that started when the Spaniards came to America.

day-of-the-dead-altarHispanic Americans, mainly from Mexican heritage celebrate this traditional holiday in the U.S. The main objective of the festivity is to enjoy the company of the defunct who come from the dead world to visit us. If you want to learn more about the history of this celebration read my Day of the Dead History article.

How to Make an Altar

Think about the person you love and remember and what he liked when he was on this earth. Candy and fruits accompany the famous Pan de Muerto or bread of the dead, also think about music and activities that you can represent through objects you can place in the altar.

Most altars have three levels or tiers. Each one serves a purpose. The top tier commonly has the picture of the person. The middle tier has the objects that represent what he loved like music, instruments, activities, etc., and the bottom tier carries food offerings like candy, bread, and fruit along with water.

Typical Items for Your Altar

  • Start by using cut tissue paper or papel picado to cover the base of the altar. You can also use a black cloth or a mantilla.
  • Place a picture of the loved one on the top or bottom of the altar.
  • On the second tier place some objects that represent the activities and things he enjoyed. Music Cds, small soccer ball, an instrument, etc.
  • On the lower tier place water or holy water to help him travel the road to eternity. Day of the Dead bread that represents his soul and fruit, candy and other foods to help him in the journey.
  • Use incense. Many Mexicans burn White copal incense (made from the resin of the pitch pine or Pinus pseudostrobus) or other fragrant one to guide the dead to the altar.
  • Place candles throughout the altar. Candles represent light or lumbre to light the path of the dead. Purple candles mean pain, pink celebration and white hope.
  • Place yellow marigolds or “the flower of the dead” throughout the altar. You can also use other fragrant flowers to communicate to the spirits the richness of the offering.
  • Place a small container with salt for the souls who visit. They can use the salt in case they can’t taste the flavor of foods.
  • Place some skeleton dolls at the bottom, Mexicans use them a lot as death is a festive occasion not a sad one.
  • Use skulls to hold candles if you wish or to decorate the bottom tier of the altar.

Celebrate With Day of the Dead Skull Coloring and Sugar Skull Making!

  • Many people ask me about this holiday, so I included a complete background of the holiday, and a separate section for the meaning of calacas and skulls in Day of the Dead and their purpose in the altars.
  • This is not only for teachers! I created this eBook because I knew many moms like me, love to create projects at home like we do. This is for parents and teachers (complete lesson plans for children K+).
  • This is my favorite part of the book: 26 UNIQUE Day of the Dead black and white friendly printable skull designs that you won’t find anywhere. They are standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper, but you can print them ANY size you want!
  • Step-by-step guide of how-to make sugar skulls WITH original pictures and tips to follow the process easily.Create this project with your family and specially with your children. They will love decorating the skulls and after that you can place the skulls in the altar.

Children have a blast gathering the offerings, cutting the paper, and arranging the altar. It is about passing Hispanic traditions while sharing family time.  If you are still craving more Día de Los Muertos information visit my Day of the Dead Mexico page where I explain the holiday in detail along beautiful pictures of the celebration.

Buy YOUR Day of the Dead Skull Coloring &
Sugar Skull Making eBook NOW

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online! Buy NOW for $17.99



And get immediate access to your 65-page How-to-Guide to Celebrate and Teach El Dia de los Muertos with:
*26 unique 8 1/2″ x 11″ printable Day of the Dead skulls
*Sugar skull making instructions
*Complete lesson plans
All DONE, Just Download and Print. That’s all!

Buy YOUR Day of the Dead Skull Coloring &
Sugar Skull Making eBook NOW

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online! Buy NOW for $17.99

Note: The file is in Adobe PDF, 13.9 MB in size and can be printed as fast draft for the text pages. Print the images in high quality resolution to obtain top results on your Day of the Dead skulls.

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