by Lizza Monet Morales
Want to spice up your Day of the Dead festivities this year? Here are five new ways to honor and remember the loved ones we’ve lost.
It’s that time of year when the veil is thin and the dead walk among us. We’ve been welcoming them back for years, but this year you might be looking to give your Día de los Muertos celebration an update. Here are a few ideas that bring together the new and the old for a modern, inventive fiesta.
A Digital Ofrenda That Lives On
If you’re looking for a new way to honor and share those memories this year, check out Capsure. You can share “digital ofrendas,” each for a different family member, in private. So your relatives across the U.S. or even on other continents can all trade stories and memories in a cherished space that you’ve built together and can visit or pass on to the next generations. Because your daughter should know about that time that Aunt Betsy helped you win the science fair.
Turn Your Favorite Photos into Papel Picado
Technology gives us new ways to honor and remember our ancestors, and we can combine it with traditional arts to create new effects with a time honored look. Digitize some of your favorite photos of ancestors by scanning them, or just snapping a pic with your phone. Then convert them to black and white (strictly 2-tone, not grayscale) using Photoshop, GIMP, or a simple online generator like Photo Kako.
Print out the black and white translated image, and lay a sheet of colored tissue paper over it on a wooden cutting board or an Xacto mat. Using a new, very sharp Xacto blade, cut out the white parts, so all that remains of your colored paper is the black shapes from the image beneath. Make sure you keep any floating black ‘islands’ connected to some nearby shape, or they’ll fall out when you pick up the finished product.
Hang the finished products on a line for a photorealistic paper storyboard of your family history.
Kids Can Make Bite Sized Sugar Skull Marshmallow Poppers
Set up an all ages edible art station with jumbo marshmallows, licorice lace, edible decorating markers, and lollipop sticks or skewers. Mom.me outlines how to bring these all together to make adorable, bite sized sugar skulls that will entertain the kids and challenge even the most detail-oriented adults.
You can use these skull-mallows as garnishes, cake toppers, centerpieces, or just as a fun activity that’s even more fun to pop in your mouth when it’s done.
Make Your Cocktails Shimmer With a Marigold Infusion
A standard recipe for simple syrup gains complexity and color when you add some marigold petals to the mix. Be sure to wash them thoroughly first, and for the best flavor absorption, let your marigold syrup steep overnight.
You can add it to a classic margarita or your signature recipe for a striking fiestaespecial. Garnish with a marigold for full effect.
If you want to take things to the next level, check out Sweet Life’s recipe for tequila infused with cinnamon and organic Aztec marigold. It takes a week and is absolutely worth it.
Invoke the Mystery of Lotería
El Corazon, El Diablito, and of course, La Muerte. The familiar, mysterious faces of lotería have enchanted us for generations with their invocations of chance, fate, luck and death.
Lotería cards are a great way to spice up your decor. You can use them as place cards for your table setting, add them to centerpieces with your marshmallow skulls, or even host a full game of lotería with prize bags as giveaways.
There’s even a lotería app for Android if you want to play the paperless way.
And, for a Millennial twist on the beloved Mexican Bingo game, pick up Millennial Lotería. Created by my dear friend, Mike Alfaro, and inspired by the popular Instagram account, @MillennialLoteria, the new take on the classic game introduces characters like La Selfie, El Hipster, and La Hashtag.
Bringing Together the Old and New
A party is all about the details, and these will give an updated twist to the time honored tradition of Día de los Muertos. They’re great ways to honor the ancestors in the current age, and they’ll bring the family together in el espíritu de la felicidad. Have a happy Día de los Muertos!