Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead – Do It Yourself Programming
Many communities are extending Halloween festivities to include Day of the Dead celebrations, which are usually held November 1 or 2. These are not sad events but celebrations to honor deceased ancestors. Partner with a local group such as Latino Padres Unidos or other Mexican-American parents groups at the local schools, to make sure the celebration is culturally appropriate. Often high school clubs will volunteer for these events; see if there is a Latino student group at the high school. It would be helpful if the teen volunteers spoke Spanish to assist some of the families who may attend.
Set up an altar: (https://michellespartyplanit.com/2014/09/day-dead-party-dia-muertos/) and a related book display, so attendees can see what the altar is made of (like a mini-museum exhibit). The book display can focus on Mexican-American authors and illustrators.
The animated film “Coco,” a Disney/Pixar film from 2017, is a great choice for a movie showing during the celebration (make sure it is covered by your library’s movie license): www.imdb.com/title/tt2380307/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 .
Paper plate Calaveras Masks: http://scrumdillydo.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html . These skull masks are easy to make and inexpensive.
Paper Marigolds: https://happythought.co.uk/mexican-paper-flowers/ . This traditional craft uses just crepe paper and pipe cleaners.
Papel Picado: http://mamitalks.com/2014/11/papel-picado-templates.html#_a5y_p=2761893 . These tissue paper decorations can be hung to liven up your program area.
Libro de las Calaveras: www.craftychica.com/2017/10/libro-de-las-calaveras/ . Tweens and teens can make these beautiful booklets they can use as journals or for writing poetry.
Skull Mobile: www.craftychica.com/2016/09/paper-skull-ornament/ . These small twirling mobile are fun for kids, to decorate their rooms. It also is a toy!
More ideas here: https://nontoygifts.com/26-sugar-skull-crafts-for-kids/ .
Coffin Game: Make small paper coffins out of three shoe boxes. Then have players pick one of the three, and they can receive the prize inside. Be sure to replace prizes before each new player. This is a great way to get rid of random prizes you have left over from previous events.
Pin the Hat on Coco: Get a poster from the movie “Coco.” Make paper sombreros. Have each blindfolded player try to tape his sombrero to the poster. The one nearest Coco’s head wins!
Ring the Pumpkins: Decorate three pumpkins with skull designs (see the Crafty Chica website for ideas). Give players three hoops and they can try to ring a pumpkin for a prize.
Loteria: Loteria is a tradition Mexican bingo game. You can buy a set of bingo cards on Amazon, or at many Mexican grocery stores. www.amazon.com/dp/B009N9H034/ref=psdc_166239011_t1_B005268AAO .
Sugar Skull Piñata: https://blog.partydelights.co.uk/day-of-the-dead-party-pinata/ – If you cannot buy a skull piñata, you can make one following the instructions at this site. Then, hang it and let children try to break it open in the traditional way!
Mexican pastries and hot chocolate.
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool