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Day of the Dead makeup

By Angelica Cabral

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, comes from a mixing of ancient Mesoamerican celebrations and honoring of their dead and the Catholic traditions of the Europeans who came to that area.

I never celebrated this holiday too much growing up, but by nature of going to a Spanish bilingual school, I learned the history of it and often did arts and crafts themed around it.

But, in the past year I’ve had a newfound love for the holiday. It all started when I watched the amazing movie that is “The Book of Life”. “The Book of Life” was the first animated movie I had ever watched that starred a Latino character and it had a strong focus on Día de Los Muertos and life after death as well.

Día de los Muertos has a great way of making losing your loved ones into a beautiful experience, transforming tragedy into a celebration of their life instead. The makeup and outfits from it are no different.

During the fall festival in Taylor Mall, there was a makeup artist and I immediately knew what I wanted done- I wanted to look just like La Muerte, a character from the Book of Life who rules over the “Land of the Remembered”, a place similar to heaven.


Photo Courtesy of Angelica Cabral

You could easily argue that I look like a skeleton, or at least sort of dead. But, in line with Día de Los Muertos there are also lots of bright colors on my face, from beautiful blues to vibrant reds. La Muerte directly translates to death, but even though I was the representation of death, I felt regal and elegant.

Besides celebrating the dead, where does the skull makeup come from? It is another form of portraying the skulls that are so closely associated with the holiday. Perhaps, if you don’t know to bake, instead of making skull shaped bread or candy, you can wear the design on you. It can also help one connect with their lost loved ones.

I think there is an important lesson to be learned from Día de los Muertos and the makeup from it: there can be a way to make something sad into something memorable and beautiful.


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