From cooking to crafts, the Day of the Dead can be celebrated with kids (even if the name of the holiday is kind of scary). Here are 5 fun ways how.
Celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a family affair in Latino cultures, but even with an influx of imagery and storytelling in our mainstream media, many often wonder if the holiday is kid-friendly. I get it — if you didn’t grow up celebrating this holiday, the imagery can be a bit daunting.
Worry, no more!
Here are 5 ways to enjoy and celebrate Day of the Dead with the whole family!
1. Explain the holiday. Using language most comfortable for you and your child, teach your little one that Day of the Dead isn’t a scary holiday at all! It’s foundation lies in honoring our deceased loved ones and uses imagery of skeletons (calacas) to tell the tales. Learn more about Day of the Dead traditions and legacy, so you can best explain it to your kids, and remember that the premise is not to scare — but to celebrate!
2. Celebrate with crafts. Traditionally, there is a plethora of color surrounding Dia de los Muertos celebrations. This means that the opportunities to celebrate Day of the Dead with kids are endless! I love using this free Day of the Dead printable to facilitate a discussion. This Faux Papel Picado craft is simple to make with kids, and you can use it as home decor during your celebrations.
3. Create an altar. In Mexican Day of the Dead traditions, altars are constructed to house photos of loved ones and serve as a place to make offerings to their spirits. There are many ways to design your altar, but here is a Dia de los Muertos altar project for everyone in the family.
4. Cook traditional Mexican recipes. As the weather cools, sip on traditional Mexican holiday recipes such as atole or champurrado. These sweetened and cinnamon-infused drinks are the Mexican equivalent of hot chocolate. They’re delicious! This traditional Mexican atole recipe has more of a porridge-like consistency and is enjoyed during Day of the Dead celebrations. Pair it with a Pan de Muertos and you’re set!
5. Attend a Day of the Dead celebration: True to Latino culture, Dia de los Muertos is a communal holiday when celebrations abound. Do some research to find a Day of the Dead event in your area. For younger kids not familiar with the holiday, attending the event during the day might be a good idea. At night, the spirits of the dead come alive!
Here in Las Vegas, we love attending the Day of the Dead Festival at the Springs Preserves.
Whether you’ve celebrated Day of the Dead your whole life or are just learning about the holiday, understanding the traditions can truly make the day magical for your kids.
Photo credit: Vanessa Bell
More from Vanessa Bell
Unique Uniforms? 10 Ways to Individualize Kids’ Back-to-School Looks