Dia de los Muertos

Celebrate with bold, beautiful colors!

This is one of my many favorites. I have this passion for color and when I can use a variety all at once it makes me very happy! This bright and happy holiday despite it’s name is one we can all share with our families and remember our ancestors and loved ones that have passed on with honor and joy!

El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and is a tradition that has slowly made it’s way throughout the states. It is a time to remember family and friends who have died. Families build alters honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, favorite food and drinks and photos of the deceased. It is not a mournful time but a happy and colorful celebration.

Table Setting

The possibilities were endless when it came to choosing the right color. I just threw them all in and the results were truly authentic. I raided Heidi’s cabinet’s once again and used her mustard dinner plates which reminded me so much of Mexican pottery. Gold chargers tied in with my centerpiece. My favorite so far are these tiny skull napkin rings. Last year we used these skulls rings at our Halloween party as personalized glass tags. Here I just cut of the ring off and glued the skull to a string of white ribbon. I had lots of fun painting the little detail on each skull too.


One of the festivals most important symbol is the skull and better yet it’s full of sugar, a sugar skull. How sweet is that! During the October month skulls are readily available and of course due to going on with our 5th annual Halloween party our inventory of skulls were large! With a little glitter and flowers I think my diva flower skulls turned out awesome!

Look at all that color! Revosos(shawls) are not only to be worn. I chose to use one draped across the center of the table and my other brightly colored revosos were beautifully used to brighten up my ordinary folding chairs, another favorite!

This was the center candle pillar!

The three gold candle pillars gave some height to the table along with my 2 DIY flower vases. Once again I pulled out my drinking glasses and created a unique piece, simple yet complimentary to it’s surroundings.

I just wrapped an 8 1/2 x 11 white sheet of paper around the glass and used black ribbon to decorate. They fit perfectly with my Dollar Store black and white mini candle set!

Bright bold colored artificial flowers were places along the center of table. During this holiday streets everywhere in Mexico are decorated with flowers(mainly the marigold)! This flower that seems to represent this celebration along with many other symbolic items.


Let’s not forget about our glasses! Personalizing each one makes it a little easier for our guest to remember which one is theirs and running back for more of that tasty margarita!

Food Menu


Posole is a hearty Mexican soup that’s made with pork, hominy, garlic, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, and broth.


Prepare your table with fried corn tortillas, refried beans, choice of meat, lettuce, cheese and salsa and your guest can build their own tostadas!

Arroz de Leche

This Mexican rice pudding recipe is one of my favorites.

6 cups boiling water

1 tsp salt

3/4 cups rice

1 quart milk, scalded

2 pieces stick cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 egg yolks, well beaten

1/4 cup cold milk

To briskly boiling water add the teaspoon of salt and rice, and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and add rice to hot milk. Add cinnamon stick and cook until rice is tender, about 1/2 hour. Stir in sugar. Remove pudding from heat and take out cinnamon stick and add beaten egg yolks mixed with cold milk. Return to heat and cook until think, approximately 5 minutes longer. Pour pudding into serving dishes and sprinkle with powdered cinnamon. Serves 6

Pan de Muerto

In celebration of Mexico’s Day of the Dead, this sweet bread “bread of the dead” is often shaped into skulls or round loaves with strips of dough rolled out and attached to resemble bones.


  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons whole anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Glaze (see below)


Bring all ingredients to room temperature (except for the water which should be very warm) before beginning.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, anise, salt and 1/2 cup of the flour. In a seperate bowl combine the eggs and the water. Add the egg/water mixture to the first mixture and add in another 1/2 cup of the flour. Add in the yeast and another 1/2 cup of flour. Continue to add the flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms.

Knead on a floured surface for about 1 minute. Cover with a slightly damp dishcloth and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Bring out dough and punch it down. Remove about 1/4 of it and use it to make bone shapes to drape across the loaf (see below.) Or divide the dough into smaller pieces to create other bone shapes. Let the shaped dough rise for 1 more hour.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes for smaller loaves and up to 45 minutes for larger loaves.

GLAZES(After glaze is applied you may decorate with additional colored sugar.)

  • Bring to a boil- 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice. Brush on bread and then sift some additional sugar over the top.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate and 1/3 cup sugar with 2 egg whites. Brush on bread during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Bring to a boil- 1/4 cup piloncillo, 1/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cranberry juice and 2 tablespoons orange zest. Brush on bread after bread has cooled.

BONES: The most common bone decorations are very simple. Sometimes it’s just a matter of forming ball shapes and pressing them into the loaf in a line. You could also take a piece of dough, roll it into a long cylinder and place a ball at each end. You can get much more detailed if you like, but even a slightly “knobby” looking loaf will get the idea across.

Creating an Alter

In homes, family members honor their deceased with ofrendas or offerings which may consist of photographs, bread, other foods,flowers, toys and other symbolic offerings. Remember your loved ones that have passed on and share a few items to honor them this year!

I found this cool material and had to make an apron to host this party!


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