I first learned about Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and the calavera icon when I moved to the United States. In Puerto Rico, we celebrate All Saints Day, and All Souls’ Day. This happens to coincide with the popular Día de Muertos celebrated in the United States, Mexico, and many other countries across the world.
I wasn’t sure how to introduce my child to this beautiful tradition of honoring deceased loved ones. After all, skulls can be pretty scary and are associated with goblins, ghouls, and Halloween.
Luckily for me, there is a lovely animated children’s movie The Book of Life, that the little one and I could watch together. It was a perfect way to introduce my child to Day of the Dead, and let him know that the calaveras really weren’t so scary to look at.
Making calavera puppets
We watched the movie with the little one and his friends, and made calavera puppets afterward! I used a simple skull template that I found here. I made a few copies of the template and used brown paper bags, glue stick, and markers.
To give the kids an idea of how to decorate their calavera I printed some colorful calaveras for them to use as a guide. Then I let them create and decorate to their hearts’ content.
They played with their Day of the Dead calavera puppets for hours on end!