Dia de los Muertos Items to Bring Into Your Home
Trick-or-treaters, costumes and scary movies are synonymous with Halloween. And while sugar skull iconography has made its way into the mainstream, the Day of the Dead carries a more spiritual than spooky significance.
Dia de los Muertos (translation: Day of the Dead) is a tradition celebrated throughout Mexico and other parts of South America, where the dead are honored with private altars decorated with offerings (ofrendas) — a collection of objects that include photos of the deceased, their preferred food and drink and Aztec marigolds, the color and scent of which are believed to guide the dead back to the world of the living. Dia de los Muertos is indeed a day dedicated to the dead, so part of the tradition is to visit the graves of relatives, bringing some of their possessions and lighting a candle to help guide their souls back.
The holiday, which hails from the Aztec custom of celebrating ancestors, begins on October 31 and runs through November 1, “el Dia de los innocentes” or the day of the children and All Saints Day, as well as November 2, All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead. Perhaps the most well-known aspect of this increasingly popular holiday is the skeletal makeup. Although it may seem morbid, it’s actually meant to make the idea of death less scary; as such, the skeletal look is embraced and even made fashionable and sometimes downright wacky.
With that in mind, GAYOT’s list of the Best Day of the Dead Products features items that you can incorporate into your Day of the Dead celebrations to make it feel more authentic and serve as a friendly reminder that one day, we too will join the dearly departed.
1. Crystal Head Vodka
Origin: St. John’s Canada
Price: $50 for 750 ml.
It’s a skull-shaped bottle with a mysterious archaeological back story, a unique diamond filtration process and a big-name celebrity backing it up.
Although he’s best known for comedy, from Saturday Night Live to The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters to name just a few, making vodka is no joke to Dan Aykroyd.
The Canadian-born actor, comedian, UFOlogist and New Age proselyte founded the Canadian-made spirit in 2008 with artist John Alexander (who designed the bottled). Made with water from a deep aquifer in Newfoundland, the vodka is distilled four times then filtered seven times, three of which are through Herkimer diamond crystals, which are believed to emit positive energy.
In the US, Crystal Head Vodka has a suggested retail price of $50 for a 750ml bottle packaged in a gift box.
The distinctive crystal head-shaped bottle is inspired by the legend of the 13 Crystal Skulls, which supposedly carry magical power and healing properties. We surmise that Aykroyd’s bottle does not defy the laws of crystallography and the axis of symmetry (to prevent the crystal from splitting during processing) like the Mitchell-Hedges skull, the most famous of the 13.
2. Day of the Dead Cookie Cutter
Make your own sugar skull cookies for Dia de los Muertos.
This set of four cookie cutters/stamps features the iconic Day of the Dead imagery for your own celebration or even to include as part of your ofrendas for the dearly departed. One side cuts the cookie shape, while the other stamps the details. From chocolate to almonds and anything in between, these easy baking accessories ensure your cookies look as good as they taste.
3. Calavera Wine Glass
Serve the dearly departed’s favorite wine in these commemorative glasses.
Whether it’s Dia de los Muertos or any other day of the year, you can raise a glass to loved ones who have passed with these specially designed glasses featuring diamonds, flowers, hearts and honeysuckle engravings. For an even more thoughtful touch, try using the favorite wines of the dearly departed.
4. Steel Skull Corkscrew
This Mexican-designed corkscrew is an ode to Dia de los Muertos.
You’ve got the wine and the wineglass, now it’s time to complete the collection with this specially designed corkscrew by Ariel Rojo and Stephanie Suarez for the Kikkerland Mexico Design Challenge.
5. Sugar Skull Coasters
These colorful calavera coasters kick up the cool quotient for your cocktails.
These brightly decorated skull coasters will keep your tequila and mezcal cocktails (both of which are imbibed during Dia de Los Muertos) looking festive. The versatile home accessories also work as wall decorations or you can punch a hole in them and hang them from lamp fixtures.
6. Calavera Catrina Candles
Guide the souls of departed loved ones with these commemorative candles.
Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada created the famous image of the calavera catrina or “elegant skeleton” during 1910–1913. Today, this iconic image is a popular choice on candles commemorating Day of the Dead. It’s believed the light will guide the those who have passed back to the world of the living, commencing the celebration.
7. Temporary Calavera Tattoos
These temporary face tattoos let you forgo the difficult task of applying Day of the Dead makeup in one easy step.
Part of the Dia de los Muertos experience is the eye-catching (and oftentimes incredibly intricate) skull makeup. While some can expertly draw the skeleton face, these temporary face tattoos for both men and women are a much faster, hassle-free and affordable way to pull off the look and participate in the celebrations.
8. Bride and Groom Salt and Pepper Shakers
These festive skull trinkets will dress up your tabletop all year long.
‘Til death do us part: No Dia de los Muertos celebration is complete without food. Whether it’s staples like “pan de muerto” (bread of the dead), mole or tamales, sprinkling salt and pepper with this pair of shakers is a fun way to incorporate the calaveras (skulls) into the act of cooking for loved ones.
9. Calavera Champagne Flute
Toast to the memories of the dearly departed with these beautifully etched flutes.
If you’re hosting a fancy Day of the Dead affair look no further than this two-piece set to sip your celebratory champagne and pair with a sugar skull cookie or two.
10. Sugar Skull Linen Pillow Cushion Covers
Dress up your home in true Day of the Dead style with these colorful pillow covers.
Add these (very affordable) sugar skull pillow covers to your cushions and get ready for a great conversation starter for anyone visiting your home. The best thing is that they come in a set of four, so you can gift them to friends and family and still keep one (or two) for yourself. Plus, they easily coordinate with your home decor all year long.