Growing up Puerto Rican, I didn't celebrate Día de los Muertos, but after learning about the importance of the holiday, I created this ofrenda with photos of my loved ones past — my great-great-abuela Eusebia and my abuelo Francisco — and their favorite food and drinks.
Here are my tips for creating a beautiful Day of the Dead altar with items you already have at home:
1. Flor de la Muerte
The marigold is the official flower of Día de los Muertos. To make oversized blooms, layer four to six sheets of tissue paper or crepe paper, fold into an accordian and cut the edges to a point, tie the middle with pipe cleaners, and pull the sheets apart.
2. Edible Bones
Bones are an important symbol of this special day. To create these fun — and tasty! — huesos, put two mini marshmallows on the end of pretzel sticks, and dip the whole thing in melted white chocolate.
3. La Catrina Doll
La Catrina, one of the symbols of Day of the Dead, is easy to make by decorating a small Syrofoam ball with a calavera (skull) face and folding a paper plate covered with scrapbook paper to make a dress. Her flower is made of felt, and her hat is crafted from tissue paper.
4. Calavera Marshmallows
Have the kids help you decorate marshmallows using food-coloring markers, making the faces vibrant and different. Then pop each on a stick.