Let death be your guide for a Halloween event inspired by the Dia de los Muertos Mexican holiday. This colorful commemoration of honored spirits, aka the Day of the Dead, is a whimsical celebration for the new life of the dead, every year from October 31st through November 2nd.
In contrast to the evil spirits of Halloween, the Day of the Dead is a time to honor and welcome the visiting souls of loved ones, ancestors, folk heroes and even pets. We've compiled some ideas to combine the joyous nature and macabre imagery of this festive occasion for a party setting welcoming of all Halloween beliefs.
Our approach to channel the spirits for a Day of the Dead theme party is divided into 3 parts:
Embrace the attitude
Incorporate the culture
Highlight the attributes
EMBRACE THE ATTITUDE
To capture the essence of this unique holiday, it is important to appreciate the beliefs, understand the perspective, and embrace the attitude. Ironically, this refreshing view of death is thousands of years old.
Based upon the belief that death is a continuum of the cycle of life, dying is not an end, but a new beginning. The Day of the Dead is not only a remembrance, but also an eternal dialogue and connection between the world and afterlife.
Instead of reverence and denial, one lives alongside death as a part of life and faces their fear with acknowledgement and acceptance. In fact, it is believed that mourning and sadness is insulting to the dead.
Skeletons & skulls of the Day of the Dead represent the transition of life and death and remind us that we will all die, but are not scary or morbid. Actually, it is more common to depict skeletons in humorous situations and to mock death with names like "skinny", "bony", and "baldy".
From this perspective, the Day of the Dead is a colorful & jovial reunion of the whole family, living and dead, with graveyard celebrations and altars of commemoration full of life, happiness, food, and fun.
INCORPORATE THE CULTURE
Integrate the origins of the Day of the Dead by incorporating the rich and colorful culture of Mexico into your party decorations. Choose from a wide selection of Mexican Fiesta decor and features to create a distinctive background based on this holiday’s birthplace.
Look for these items and motifs in party decorations, invitations, food and drinks:
HIGHLIGHT THE ATTRIBUTES
Traditionally, the Day of the Dead is celebrated in cemeteries at the gravesites of loved ones and in the home with altars or ofrendas, which are offerings to honor the deceased.
Feature the symbolism and imagery associated with the Day of the Dead altars and graveyard festivities for your party theme decorations. Here are some suggestions:
Color signifies the vitality of life: Fill your party setting with bright & vibrant colors, including orange, pink, purple, turquoise, lime, yellow and red.
An arch marks the entrance to world of the dead, typically made with flowers
Monarch butterflies carry the spirits returning to visit
Include items to represent each of the 4 elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, & Water
EARTH: Flowers & Food
Orange & yellow marigolds aka Cempasuchil, are used prominently to help guide the spirits with their bright color & strong scent