Re: I See Dead People

Vanina dressed as Frida Kahlo. Image from Skull-a-Day. Click here for the full post.

Happy Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)! I really love the skeleton heads that are associated with this Mexican celebration. Simply put, Dia de la Muertos is a time for families to honor the souls of loved ones who have passed on. Click here to learn more about the holiday and the traditions associated with it.

This holiday originated in Mexico, but has since crossed the border and is celebrated in many Southwestern (and non-Southwestern) states. Click here to see photos from a Day of the Dead parade in Austin, TX in 2008. Your costuming can be very simple (street clothes, regular dress up clothes, or Mexican garb) or you can dress as a skeleton. However, the face painting is critical.

Basically, you are trying to make your face look like a skull. The simplest kind of skull face is to make black hollows around your eyes (put color all over the lid, eye socket, and under the eye), a black triangle on the end of your nose, and blacken your lips. Some people add black blusher under the cheekbones for that hollow look.

A more advanced look is to imitate the designs that appear on Mexican sugar skulls. This includes flower shapes around the eyes and hearts and curlicues on your forehead and cheeks. While you can have your face professionally painted, my preference is always for folks who do it themselves. A half skull is a more modern look, but still acceptable. Some people go further and paint in neckbones or other skeletal features as well.

I have collected a selection of images from Flickr that you might enjoy using for inspiration. See below:

Simple black and white makeup, black clothing with colorful accents, great group costume

Black and white skull with red flower, makeup design by Erin Alexander. The model’s tattoo reads “only God can judge me.”

Minimalist makeup, no white base

Day of the Dead meets American Tribal Style Bellydance–the ultimate mashup. Model (and makeup): Libby Bulloff. Photo: Annie Wright. She is using bindis as part of her skull designs. Yes, those are real flowers in her hair. Click on her other photos to see the full costume.