Lauren Orlando: Kate's Day of the Dead Altar

From October 31st to November 2nd, Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead (or, Dia De Los Muertos) as a way to honor those who have passed away. Traditionally, those celebrating create intricate and exquisite altars to memorialize their loved ones. Kate, Millwood’s resident witch, is here to teach you how to make your own!


Here’s what you’ll need!

A table or other flat surface as a base to build your altar.

Cardboard boxes to create multiple levels.

A decorative tablecloth.

Papel Picado.

A photograph of the person being remembered.

A glass of water.

Flowers, preferably Marigolds.

Desserts and other foods enjoyed by your loved one.


Here’s what you gotta do:

  1. Place cardboard boxes on top of a table, creating as many levels as you’d like.

  2. Drape a decorative tablecloth over your foundation.

  3. Arrange candles in whatever formation you think looks nice.

  4. Lean a photograph of your loved one against a candle (leave this candle unlit to avoid fire hazards).

  5. Fill a vase up with water and place flowers inside.

  6. Fill a glass up with water and leave it out for the spirits to drink.

  7. Set a plate of desserts and other foods to be enjoyed by the spirits.

  8. Use scissors to cut designs into the papel picado, then use them to decorate the altar however you like.

Congratulations, you just made your first Day of the Dead Altar! Make sure to take lots of pictures!

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