As you all know Halloween was upon us not long ago, and my husband and I celebrated this year by hosting a Day of the Dead party – the classic, colourful Mexican tradition of celebrating dead ancestors and living spirits. Held in our new little home, we invited our guests around as “we live, we die, we party” and suggested painting their faces like sugar skulls so that the spirits won’t recognise them as humans and won’t haunt them.
Our invitations made the rounds on Facebook, but my wonderful graphic designer husband Byron Carr created cute little cards for those without access to our walls. Byron spent ages turning photographs of himself, our Japanese Spitz Buddy, and I into outlined sugar skulls, complete with redeeming features and recognisable hair. He did a fantastic job, and the end effect was truly Day of the Dead inspired!
Fast forward to Saturday 1st November (officially Dia de los Muertos) where we spent the day decorating with beautiful bunches of colourful geraniums and roses. Sitting in vases that came in a variety of different shapes and sizes, the eclectic mix of colours of red, orange, yellow, green, pink and purple matched uniquely with the colour scheme Byron used in his creation of the invitations.
On other areas of the venue, we utilised the space by using fake woollen cobwebs to create a dark and envious effect and lit the area with heaps of little tea light candles, votive candles, and even large bleeding taper candles that I purchased for the occasion. The effect was spooky, yet had the comforting Day of the Dead feel that the Mexicans find in this unique celebrations.
Byron and I purchased paper mache skulls from an online Etsy store and began to paint our very own sugar skulls for the occasion. Taking inspiration from Moulin Rouge’s underlying themes of freedom, truth, beauty and love, we painted our sugar skulls in bright, matching colours to suit the theme – one for each skull (we had five skulls, but Buddy ate one!). We then glossed them and used them as decorations on the dessert table, along with a large white skull with yellow geraniums bursting from its eyes.
The dessert table mixed the brown wood of the table with a zesty lime green table runner we had left over from our wedding, and a colour so bright it blended right in to the colourful celebration. With flowers, skulls and tea light candles on either side, and Mexican prayer flags waving from every door frame, the zesty and bright feeling of living inside a sugar skull was extremely apparent.
To help out our hungry guests, we went with a Mexican theme for the food – serving a 3 layer Mexican dip with corn chips and Mexican street corn in cups. Both food items were spicy, but a real hit with guests. We also had a fully stocked bar ready to go, and many shots of Tequila at the ready! Ah, Tequila – it’s not your friend, and I can tell you that from experience at this very party!
Overall, it was a very successful party. Everything was bright and cheerful, including our guests! There were even several dogs at the party, dressed to the nines as a wizard, a dinosaur and our very own little Mexican. Adorable!
Let me know what you think of our Day of the Dead celebration. Leave your comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to see how you celebrate Halloween – so don’t forget to send me an email to be reposted!
Until we meet again, remember – the dead never really die if they live on within our hearts!