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Calavera Skull

How to Make A Calavera Skull

Adorn your house this halloween with traditional mexican artwork and illustrations representing Dia de los Muertos (November 1st celebration to honor those who have passed). The Calavera is any artistic representation of a skull, most often applied to edible or decorative skulls made (usually by hand) from either sugar (called Alfeñiques) or clay that are used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. The most widely known calaveras are created with cane sugar and are decorated with items such as colored foil, icing, beads, and feathers.Today, the calavera has modernized and is often depicted with bright colors painted on canvas, a wall or a candy skull.


Hand paint a paper shopping bag, tote bag or an old pillow case to customize a trick-or-treat bag to use for Halloween. Borrowing on details from traditional Mexican paintings of the celebration of Día de Muertos, we will learn about the paintings of José Guadalupe Posada Aguilar & Diego Rivera and the traditional images of calaveras and create modern representations to adorn your goodie bag.

Supplies Needed:

  • Paper Shopping Bag, Reusable
    Tote Bag, or Old Pillow Case

  • Paint, Markers, Crayons or any medium you have or prefer

  • Pencil or Marker

  • Scissors

  • Blank Skull Tracer


  • Embellishments such as glitter
    or feathers

  • Glue & Brush

  • Colored Paper

  • Sidewalk Chalk

Alternate Supplies:

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1:

Use one of our Templates or create your own design! Print out the one you like best, or the Blank Skull Tracer.

Step 2:

Cut the tracer out and lay it on top of a piece of paper, paper shopping bag, tote bag or an old pillow case if you want to use for collecting your candy treasures!


Step 3:

Trace your skull cut out and fill in your design. You can use any material you have at home; Paint, markers, crayon, or even sidewalk chalk. If you decide to use chalk outside, best to make it extra big for other kids to see!

History of Calaveras

The most famous calavera is that of Catrina, a lithograph by artist José Guadalupe Posada created in 1910.

Learn a little bit more about Posada’s satirical prints of the calavera Catrina and other work here or watch a short video below.

In 1947, the artist Diego Rivera painted the skull with a feather stole in a mural that was called "Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central", in which José Guadalupe Posada is featured alongside a childlike version of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Sugar Candy Skulls

Want to try making your own candy skulls? Try a few recipes below!

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