El Dia De Los Muertos: How to Make Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls

Cancun, the jewel of the Mexican Caribbean, invites you to celebrate one of their most elaborate and special holidays “El Dia De Los Muertos” or Day of the Dead celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. This is a great time to visit Cancun, relax on the warm white beaches and experience the cultural tradition of the celebration of life.

The passion, preparations, history and originality make the Day of the Dead one of the most unique holidays in the world. Participants build altars and adorn them with favorite foods, drinks, candles, crosses and pictures of their loved ones. Food and decorations are elaborate, made with vibrant colors and include intricate creations like sugar skulls.


Sugar skulls are made with colorful icing and adorned with sparkly decorations and smiles. They are labor intensive and produced in small batches by skilled artisans. The skulls represent a departed soul and have the name of the soul written on the forehead.

If you’d like to try making some yourself, I found a great site that has Step-by-step Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Making Instructions with Photos, Ingredients & Tips! This would make a really fun educational activity to do with your kids in addition to your Halloween crafts. Expand their minds early to the traditions of other cultures!

Traditions include praying and singing, painting the houses to honor the dead and serving famous local dishes like Mucbipollo, a tamale or corn cake stuffed with chicken, sauce, broth and spices cooked in the ground and covered with banana leaves.

In 2011, the 6th annual tradition was celebrated at Xcaret, the area’s top eco-archaeological attraction featuring celebrations of life and death with the guest of honor the state of Tabasco.

Thank you to the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau for providing the above information. 

Jeana Shandraw

Jeana Shandraw

Rarely caught without a camera, Jeana is an adventurous traveler with a passion for people, cultures and food that has led her to 38 countries in 5 years. When she's not using her powers for social good, she enjoys photography, cooking and building LEGOs with her son. On occasion, you may also find her crocheting cute things to hide in her husband's underwear drawer.

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  1. Lily Kwan
    October 14, 2013 at 12:44 am — Reply

    I hadn’t heard of sugar skulls before. They look very tasty!

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