Not all Día de los Muertos altars are created to celebrate the dead. What happens when you ask teens serving 30 to 40 years in jail to create Día de los Muertos altars? Eddie G! talks to a California Department of Corrections worker who helped juveniles in detention express themselves through altares.
As Fall begins to slowly cool the weather outside, we begin to think about the spooky season and all the things that come with it. It isn’t just Halloween that we’re looking forward to. We also have Día de Los Muertos to anticipate.
Observed by the people of central and south Mexico, The Day of the Dead is a celebration of ancestors and life on the other side of death. It has also become a holiday that has fed into our collective pop culture with images of its sugar skulls, marigolds and monarch butterflies. These images have worked their way into artwork and have especially become popular subjects of tattoos.
With that in mind, we found some breathtaking Día de Los Muertos tattoos. Maybe they’ll inspire you to get some Day of the Dead ink as well.
1. This watercolor beauty.
Instagram / @piotr.balcerak.tattoo
What makes this sketchy and bold tattoo brilliant is its watercolor style. Mimicking the freedom and flow that watercolor paintings have, watercolor tattoos venture outside line art to bleed color into the canvass. This intricate skull is a great example of this tattoo style.
2. The OG skeleton prince.
Instagram / @somozaart
One of the most recognizable skull daddies gets a Día de Los Muertos makeover in this black and white tattoo. Jack Skeleton looks like a natural all decked out with common designs typically seen on sugar skulls. The skeleton might be the Pumpkin King but he looks like the King of the Dead in this tattoo.
3. *Mariachi music intensifies.*
Instagram / @yamambatattooshop
What’s more Mexican than authentic mariachi music? A mariachi skull musician. Dressed as a traditional mariachi, this skull comes complete with a sombrero and a guitar. We can just imagine him yelling a grito as he begins his next song.
4. Hummingbird of the dead.
Instagram / @carinathebarber
This tattoo captures the delicacy of one of Mexico’s most lovely creatures. This hummingbird takes flight on colorful wings and its boldly displayed skeleton against a Mayan background.
5. Dia de Los Meowtos
Instagram / @necromandi
Commemorating these cute little toe beans, this tattoo features a small calavera and a Mexican cempasúchil blossom. The Mexican cempasúchil — or marigold — is used on ofrendas and graves to honor departed ancestors.
6. Skeleton queen.
Instagram / @luckybirdtattoo
Besides calaveras, Día de Los Muertos tats often feature female sugar skulls. This one, for example, shows a skeleton beauty adorned with a crown of skulls, bones and marigold petals.
7. A Mexican-American beauty.
This sugar skull girl combines two cultures into one to show off a love of both countries. With roses in her hair that are colored to represent the Mexican and United States flags, this tattoo embodies its wearer’s Mexican-American identity.
8. This macabre mandala.
Instagram / @shane.ryan.ink
Mandalas are a common element in tattoos. It’s a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. This mandala got a Day of the Dead upgrade with the addition of identical calaveras.
9. An undead Disney princess.
Instagram / @aevrard_
The guaranteed way to make a beloved figure even better is to give them the Día de las Muertos treatment. In this tattoo, Disney beauty Belle becomes a sugar skull girl and is adorned with a crown of flowers.
10. A sacred heart/skeleton combo.
Instagram / @richardpevahouse
The sacred heart is another identifiable subject in tattoos and is meant to symbolize the heart of Christ. This Day of the Dead calavera sports his own sacred heart, positively bursting from his chest in this dynamic piece.
11. Decked out in roses and jewels.
Instagram / @ink848
This tattoo takes a harsh subject matter — a skull — and makes it delicate and beautiful with the addition of jewelry and roses. The light gray shading gives it an even softer look.
12. A Day of the Dead matruschka
Instagram / @dappertattoo
Here’s another collab between cultures with a Día de los Muertos matruschka. The Russian nesting doll is painted as an adorable sugar skull in a truly unique piece of artwork.
13. Dia de Spidey.
Instagram / @gonzoetattoos
We might see this web slinger paroling the streets of Mexico City. Spider Man looks like a regular sugar skull with a few added decorations to his mask.
14. *A wild Cubone appeared!*
Instagram / @missmarilyn_tattoos
Since this Pokémon already comes with his own skull helmet, it seems only naturally for it to be decorated for Day of the Dead. This tattoo is extremely creative and is definitely an unforgettable bit of art.
15. A stylized Catrina.
Instagram / @peco_wolftown
La Calavera Catrina has become an icon of the Day of the Dead since she was first etched by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada back in 1910. This tattoo offers Catrina a modern makeover. Her blank stare is positively eerie and give us major creepy vibes.
Disney and Pixar gave the world Coco in 2017. The wonderful tribute to Mexican culture (seemingly crafted to make people of all ages cry), has ushered in a new era of Latinx and Mexican culture into Disney. Since the movie’s success, you can now cop tons of Latinx-inspired foods with a Disney twist at Disneyland. Just this month, the amusement park announced a concha ice cream sandwich — an invention so deadly delicious it’s only available in the afterlife (and at Disneyland too, lol).
The film that brought Día de Los Muertos to life through beautiful, vibrant storytelling and animation featured a Mexican cast and composer. Coco was the first film with a nine-figure budget to feature an all Latinx principal cast and won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me.”
She’s gorgeous, she’s stunning, she’s Selena Quintanilla! OK, maybe not. But this Mexican ice cream sandwich is a sight for sore eyes. Made with a pink and blue concha, aka Mexican sweet bread, and stuffed with dulce de leche ice cream — you might die of a sugar coma. The sandwich is also filled with cajeta, a goat milk-based caramel sauce, and churro streusel. Then to commemorate Día de los Muertos, a white chocolate sugar skull is nestled in a dollop of whipped cream.
“Following the Mexican tradition of using bright colors as a celebration of life, the shell-like concha breads are also covered in a crunchy rainbow sugar crust, which makes them look both delicious and totally Insta-worthy,” according to Pop Sugar’s Chanel Vargas.
The Conchas are available starting this month and cost $8 at Disneys’s flagship Mexican restaurant, Frontierland’s Rancho del Zocalo.
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Elotes
New elotes at the Cozy Cone Motel are another tribute to Mexican culture. The elotes comes in three different flavor queso cojito, Cheetos, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. These Elotes are limited edition and seasonal (this summer) so get them while you still can.
Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme
This “Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme” is made with thick layers of chocolate pudding, crumbled chocolate cake, and topped with a white chocolate orange sugar skull and colorful candies.
The Maleficent Churro
According to Disneyland stans, the Maleficient Churro is a hot commodity because it is only available during Halloween. This month it has made its delicious return. Let’s be honest, the weird-looking churro is made with chocolate cookie crumbles, green sugar, and has a marshmallow dipping sauce. I don’t know what Maleficent has to do with Churros but I don’t care.
Frozen Abuelita Horchata
Look, I am not saying I love capitalism, and certainly hope there are Latinx people profiting from these treats as well — but ¡diablo! — I want this right now. The Frozen Abuelita is layered with frozen hot chocolate and frozen horchata, then topped with spiced whipped cream.
Disney Food Blog referred to the Coco Cake as the “best cake ever.” With layers of vanilla-flavored pink and orange cake, what sets the Coco Cake apart from others is its cream cheese frosting on the outside, and two layers of cinnamon churro mouse on the inside. Disney took the glycemic index and blasted it off space mountain. The base of the cake is also decorated with gold-dusted chocolate curls. This is what Coco deserves. Remember me, indeed.
Chile Mango Whip
The chile mango whip is made with chamoy, mango, pineapple, cucumber, jicama, and chile-lime salt.
The Sandianada and Mangonada
“The Sandianada is a watermelon smoothie with chamoy, watermelon chunks, topped with a chili candy. Mangonada is a mango smoothie with chamoy, mango pieces, topped with a chili candy,” wrote one Instagram user.
Secret Menu: Zocalo Burrito
Like every restaurant (apparently) Disneyland has a few secret menu items too. At Rancho del Zocalo you can request the Zocalo Burrito which is filled with every ingredient in the prep line for $12.99.
Cinnamon-sugar Buñuelos Chips
This seasonal holiday treat or as Disney calls it “dessert nachos” is something to look forward to this winter season. There is nothing more comforting (I’m guessing, I haven’t tried this yet) than cinnamon-sugar buñuelos chips with chocolate and caramel sauces, sprinkles, and a whipped cream topping.
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