Cherished Halloween Tradition: Eating Skulls

Adriana Velez
Food & Party

sugar skulls 1While the Anglo world gets ready for Halloween, Mexicans are preparing for a truly Gothic holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This holiday celebrates the dearly departed, and when it comes to honoring the dead, we don't shy away from the obvious, but we do sugar coat it.

One of the most popular Dia de los Muertos treats is the sugar skull. Sugar is pressed into a skull-shaped mold and then decorated with brightly colored icing. Somehow those happy, neon-colored designs manage to make the skulls strangely creepy -- especially when you see multitudes of them together.

Keep reading to find out where to find them -- or how to scare your family and make your own!

Dia de los Muertos began as a month-long Aztec ritual, but today it's celebrated for two days, November 1 (remembering dead children) and 2 (remembering deceased adult relatives). Mexicans learned to make sugar art from friars starting in the 18th century, making use of a plentiful crop, sugar cane. Today there is still a rich artisan tradition of sugar skull-making as part of the elaborate rituals of Dia de los Muertos, especially throughout southern Mexico.

calveras de azucarYou can buy calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls) from or

For something more unique and personal, try InsideMySkull.



calvera necklaceI couldn't find any sugar skulls on Etsy, but check out all the groovy sugar skull-inspired crafts.






Is there a website that shows you how to make your own? Of course there is! Mexican Sugar Skull leads you through the process step-by-step.

sugar skull moldsYou will need meringue powder, which you can get at your local baking supply shop or via Amazon. You will also need skull molds, which you can get at Gourmet Sleuth or from Direct From Mexico. Mexican Sugar Skull also carries a whole array of sugar skull supplies. Look how cute the molds are!






box of sugar skullsI don't know how you feel about eating a skull, but sugar skulls do make unique and unexpected Halloween party decorations.






skull cappucchinoOne final idea -- try using a sugar skull mold to a make a Dia de los Muertos Cappuccino! What, too scary first thing in the morning?








Do you like your sugar skulls with or without coffee?

Images via Glen's Pics/Flicker,, EmilyValenza/Etsy,, carmichaellibrary/Flickr, vmiramontes/Flickr

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