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What To Wear For Day Of The Dead Costume?

The Day of the Dead, also known as “Da de los Muertos,” is a rich cultural observance that honors deceased loved ones through a combination of indigenous beliefs and Catholic traditions. Although the holiday has its origins in Mexico, its celebration has expanded around the world, entrancing people with its vibrant colors, intricate designs, and profound symbolism. 

Dressing up for the Day of the Dead can be a gorgeous way to celebrate, but it is essential to do so with respect and knowledge. 

This article will guide you through the components of a traditional Day of the Dead costume and provide suggestions for engaging meaningfully in this cultural celebration.

Why Are Costumes Worn On Day Of The Dead?

Day of the Dead, or Da de los Muertos, costumes are profoundly rooted in Mexican culture and tradition. In contrast to Halloween costumes, which are intended to frighten or conceal, Day of the Dead costumes are typically vibrant and multicolored, reflecting the celebratory nature of the holiday.

Numerous individuals dress as corpses, or “calacas,” and frequently wear elaborate attire. Reflecting the belief that spirits return to the world of the living during the celebration, these costumes are worn to commemorate and remember deceased loved ones.

Face painting, frequently with intricate skull designs, is another widespread practice. Costumes and face paint enhance participants’ engagement with the holiday’s cultural and spiritual aspects.

What To Wear For Day Of The Dead Costume?

Da de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that honors and cherishes the lives of deceased family members. The holiday is steeped in customs, symbols, and cultural significance. It is essential to approach Day of the Dead attire with respect and an understanding of the holiday’s origins and significance. Here are some attire suggestions:

For Women:

  • La Catrina Costume: This is one of the most iconic Day of the Dead figures, characterized by a female skeleton dressed in a lavish, often Victorian-era, gown.
    • Details: Gloves made of lace should be exquisite and can be either wrist- or elbow-length.
      • Feathered hats lend an aura of aristocracy. Consider one that complements your outfit or cosmetics.
      • Complex jewelry, such as chandelier earrings and opulent necklaces.
    • Makeup: Sugar skull makeup can be adorned with fake gemstones, intricate line work, and additional color gradients.
    • DIY Ideas: Using craft materials, design your own feathered headwear. Adhere feathers, artificial blossoms, and even small skulls to the base of a hat.
  • Traditional Mexican Dress: Dresses such as “La Puebla” or “Adelita” are also appropriate.
    • Details: Embroidery should be colorful and can feature floral or geometric patterns.
      • It is possible to weave sashes with cultural patterns or to simply use brightly colored fabric.
    • Accessories: Flower crowns can be created from real or artificial marigolds, roses, and other vibrant flowers.
    • DIY Ideas: Consider embroidering your own sash or dress with personalized designs if you’re creative.

For Men:

  • Charro Suit: This is a traditional Mexican cowboy outfit.
    • Details: Embroidery on the jacket and trousers is frequently composed of vines, flowers, or cultural motifs.
      • Bow ties are a traditional component of the ensemble and are typically black or red in color.
    • Accessories: Whether a mustache is genuine or fake, it lends an air of authenticity.
    • DIY Ideas: If you do not have access to a complete Charro suit, you can modify a black suit with fabric paint or embroidery to imitate the traditional patterns.
  • Skeleton Suit: A black suit with a skeleton painted or sewn on it.
    • Details: A skeleton suit typically features a complete skeleton print on a black background.
      • Ribbons or even skeletal hands can be used to adorn top caps.
    • Makeup: Men can also wear sugar skull makeup, similar to the version worn by women. Consider wearing complementary colors to your suit or accessories.
    • DIY Ideas: If you have a black suit, you can draw the skeleton design using white fabric paint. Thus, you can determine the layout and the level of detail.

For Children:

  • Small Skeletons: Black clothing with bones painted on or skeleton onesies are common.
    • Details: Vibrant sashes or ribbons add a pop of color.
      • Consider including embellishments such as heart or flower-shaped rivets.
    • Makeup: Sugar skull makeup for children should be simplified, with fewer colors and shapes to make it more child-friendly.
    • DIY Ideas: With black attire and white felt, you can create bone shapes and glue them on.
  • Mini Charros or Catrinas: Smaller versions of adult costumes.
    • Details: Detailed versions of adult hats, mittens, and shawls for children.
    • Accessories: Flower crowns should suit a child’s head securely but comfortably.
    • DIY Ideas: Child-friendly canes or toy instruments complement their outfit sartorial choices.

Accessories for All:

  • Flower Crowns: Flower crowns are typically crafted from marigolds, the traditional flower used to commemorate the deceased.
  • Candles: Some individuals carry candles during processions and other occasions.
  • Face Paint: Sugar skull makeup is a popular option, but it takes expertise to achieve the intricate designs.
  • Skull Props: Skulls or skeleton-themed accouterments can be used to complement the costume.

What Are The Day Of The Dead Masks Called?

In Mexican culture, Day of the Dead masks are commonly referred to as “Calacas,” a slang term for skeletons. These masks are worn to honor and memorialize deceased loved ones on Da de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. 

Calacas are frequently intricately decorated with vibrant hues and intricate patterns to symbolize the pleasure and festivities associated with this holiday. In contrast to the gloomy tones of Halloween, these masks and other Day of the Dead decorations emphasize the celebration of life and the honoring of the deceased. Sugar, wood, and papier-mache can all be utilized to create calacas.

Bottom Line

This was all about what to wear for Day of the Dead costume. When it comes to clothing for the Day of the Dead, authenticity and respect for the holiday’s cultural significance are essential. Whether you go for a classic “La Catrina” costume or a more modern one, it’s critical to grasp the significance and history behind your costume choices. 

Remember that dressing the part isn’t only about looking the part; it’s also about recognizing and respecting the tradition from which it comes.

Thank you for reading!

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