Sahuaro’s Spirit on Dia De Los Muertos


Samantha Valdez, Reporter

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican tradition that on November 2nd is the only day of the year that the dead come back to earth for 24 hours. People make altars with their loved one’s favorite foods and strong smelling marigolds and mole. They use these strong smells to attract their loved one to the altars. Popular decorations are sugar skulls, colorful flowers, and just bright colors in general. Ms. Gay’s art class got really into Dia De Los Muertos this year by making Sugar Skulls. Ms. Gay shared that she and the students were very pleased and had lots of fun with this project, which she hoped she could keep doing for years to come!

What inspired you to make these Sugar skulls?

I have always wanted to try to make sugar skulls with my students, but did not have the resources or a clear plan as to how that would happen until this year. The students really pulled through and donated supplies and money, which made this project a huge success.

Do you feel this made your class have more interest in “Dia de Los Muertos?”

I think it did. We spent some time learning about the history of Dias de los Muertos so the students had something personal of their own (the sugar skulls) to connect to what they learned about the actual holiday. Many of them went to the All Souls Procession (Tucson’s way of celebrating Dias de los Muertos) this year, which we also discussed in class.

What did you use to make the Sugar Skulls?

The sugar skulls are literally made out of real sugar! It’s very simple—white granulated sugar, meringue powder (hardens the sugar), and a little bit of water. The sugar is pressed into a skull-shaped mold and then left to dry for a day.

Were your classes excited to make Sugar Skulls?

They definitely were excited. I think that’s a big part of what motivated them to bring in donations.

Was it fun for your students? Would you do this again?

Absolutely! We had a great time making them, and I look forward to doing this project again.

Ms.Gay also wanted to give all the students and their parents a big thank you for all the donations that helped her to make the sugar skulls.