Growing up Mexican-American I grew up celebrating Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I remember visiting my family in Mexico and going to the cemetery where families would bring gifts, food, and build colorful, elaborate altars (ofrendas) for their loved ones. People would stay all night, often dressing up and painting their faces like skulls.
This tradition is especially popular in LA. For the past 15 years the Hollywood Forever cemetery has been holding yearly Día de los Muertos events with food, contests, and live entertainment. It’s the perfect opportunity to join in and learn more about Mexican culture.
I always try to bring elements of Dia de los Muertos into my October decorating, so for my first pumpkin of the season I decided on a Día de los Muertos theme.
If you celebrate Día de los Muertos and want to make this for your ofrenda, or maybe just want to show some love for Mexican culture at your home, here’s how to make your own skull pumpkin. You can use a real pumpkin or a faux pumpkin. I want to keep mine long term, so I chose faux.
I started by painting a calavera (skull) on to the pumpkin. If you’re bad at drawing, just search Google for “sugar skull templates” and use it to trace a skull on. Then paint it in with lots of color.
Finish your calaca (skeleton character) off by gluing a crown of flowers around the skull. Marigolds, roses, and other colorful flowers are most authentic.