Tips & Techniques

How to Have a Great Dia de Los Muertos Celebration

2 Saves

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of Central America and the U.S. from November 1st to 2nd. Here we share a few tips on celebrating this tradition with your family.

Brought to you by

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of Central America and the U.S. from November 1st to 2nd. Here we share a few tips on celebrating this tradition with your family.

How to Make Calaveras/Skulls

View Calaverita Coloring Page

Sugar Skulls

1. In a bowl, combine the following ingredients to make a dough: 1 egg white, 2 cups of regular sugar, 1 tablespoon of sugar or vanilla. Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the mixture has the appearance of wet sand.

2. Fill plastic or silicone sugar skull molds with the sugar dough.

3. Remove the sugar skull from the mold.

4. Let the sugar skull dry for 24 hrs.

5. Label every sugar skull with the names of the deceased that you are honoring and decorate them with royal icing of your favorite colors.


Paper Skulls

1. Get a paper skull template, 3 or 4 crepe papers of different colors and a pair of scissors.

2. Cut the crepe paper the same size as your template.

3. Place the papers on top of your template and fold it in half (like if you're trying to make a notebook, where the template is on the outside and colorful sheets inside).

4. Cut around the edges of the skull and make small incisions in the shape of small rhomboids and circles inside of the skull.

5. Place your colorful paper skulls over the altar table or tape them into a garland against the wall.

How to Decorate Your Altar

Honor the memory of your loved ones with an Altar for Day of The Dead full of offerings dedicated to the person that you want to remember. Whether you are preparing an altar of 2, 3 or 7 levels; these basic elements will help you build a beautiful altar of offerings to honor your loved ones.

Before you begin we suggest you to have these handy: A tablecloth or colored paper and paper skulls, cempasúchitl (Marygold) flowers, a photo or photos of the deceased who you are paying tribute to, incense, candles, Pan de Muerto, sugar skulls, the favorite foods and drinks of your loved ones.

1. Cover the table with the tablecloth and place the colored papers and paper skulls over it.

2. Define whom you are honoring and place the picture/pictures of that person in a central area of the altar.

3. Place the flowers in the corners of the table. The traditional flower used in this offering is cempasúchitl, also known as Marygold.

4. If you can’t find it, you can use purple carnations or birds of paradise.

5. Last, but not least honor your dead by serving his/her favorite food and drinks: Pan de Muerto and Sugar Skulls are a staple of this celebration. 

How to Make Pan de Muerto

You could say that Pan de Muerto is the heart of your altar of offerings. Learn how to prepare this sweet bread step by step: rolling the dough, creating the characteristic ball that is featured in the center of each bread, preparing the glaze and decorating it with the classical bones that adorn this sweet and delicious bread.

Mini Bunuelos with Marshmallow Yogurt Dip

Who can resist these delicious mini buñuelos? We are sure both the dead and alive will enjoy these little pieces of fried dough that feature in season ingredients such as Cinnamon and pumpkin. Hmmm, they smell and taste delicious!

Calavera Pears in Chocolate Coffee Sauce

Sugar skulls are essential in every altar during the Day of the Dead celebrations. The most traditional ones are made of alfeñique which is a sugar and lemon dough that is molded into skulls and later decorated with colored icing. In some villages they are also made with amaranth and chocolate. Our version is easy and fun to prepare with children. The dough uses authentic Abuelita chocolate and is decorated with skulls and bones Wonka candies. Both dead and alive will love them!

Honor your loved ones with their favorite beverages, like this delicious Atole that is perfect for the occasion. The notes of vanilla and cinnamon give it a unique flavor and amazing fragrance that will attract your loved ones into this world. Enjoy it with the whole family!

Perfect for Halloween and Day of the Dead, these treats are easy to make with refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, semi-sweet chocolate morsels and NERDS candies. 

Find an Event Near You!

View Event Listing

Join us in-store to savor the tradition of Dia de los Muertos with samples and activities.


Join the Nestlé Community!

Start enjoying these benefits today for FREE:

  • Save recipes to your Recipe Box
  • Rate and review recipes
  • Newsletters featuring new recipes, meal ideas, special offers and more
Already a member? Get Started

Get new recipes in our monthly newsletter!

Get Started Already a member?