DIY Day of the Dead Costume
Halloween is a time that calls for LOTS of discussion around what everyone’s costumes are going to be. We usually make a trip to the craft store and a costume store for inspiration pieces. The inspiration piece for my middle daughter was a sugar skull themed bouquet. Once she saw it, she knew she wanted a Day of the Dead costume (also known as a Sugar Skull.) I admit, I was super excited! I have a not-so-secret affection for all things Day of the Dead. We purchased the bouquet of brightly colored flowers to use as the inspiration for the rest of the costume.
I wanted to try my hand at creating the headpiece so that’s just what we did. And you should too! It’s one of those make-it-yourself projects that’s super easy to put together, but looks amazing once you’re done. I was a bit intimidated by the makeup portion of the costume, but after studying some images of sugar skulls online – I realized that it’s just not that hard. If I can do it – you can too.
Step by Step – Make the Veil
What You’ll Need
- Wide headband
- Large artificial flowers (as many as you want, but we bought enough to cover up the entire top of the headband)
- Black lace (about 1 yard depending on how long you want the veil to be)
- Hot glue
- Scissors (for cutting the lace)
- Wire cutters (makes cutting the flowers off their stems easier)
Step 1 – Trim the Lace Down to Size
Depending on the height of your little sugar skull – you might want to shorten up the lace veil. Take the veil and drape it over your child’s head…does it hit the ground in the back? Then you might want to shorten it just a bit in order to create a more functional costume. The lace we chose had a pretty scalloped edge on one side, so I cut on the opposite side so that the scalloped edge would be the exterior edge of the veil.
Step 2 – Glue the Lace to the Headband
Using my hot glue gun, I glued the “top” of the length of lace to the center of the headband. When I say “top”, I mean the non-scalloped edge. The lace will fall nicely over your child’s shoulders if you only secure the lace in the middle of the headband. Be generous with the glue since the lace will get lots of tugging with little hands adjusting it on Halloween night.
Step 3 – Glue the Flowers to the Headband
First, I cut the flowers away from the stems they came on. Then I laid them out (minus the glue) in the order I wanted to judge whether or not it was the effect I was looking for. Once I had the order the way I wanted it, I simply glued them on one by one using my trusty hot glue gun. Again – be generous with the glue because you really want them secure on that headband.
You’re done! The final look is really striking combined with the makeup we’re about to talk about.
The Complete Costume
Together with the veil and bouquet, we added a black shirt and skirt, a skull necklace and Day of the Dead Converse shoes, and some heavy makeup to complete the look. The makeup was the most time-consuming part of the whole get-up.
Speaking of the makeup…keep reading for some easy step-by-step directions.
Step by Step – Apply the Makeup
I’m dead serious when I say that I am no good with makeup. But the trick to getting this makeup right is to put a lot of color around the eyes. And anyone can apply a LOT of eye shadow!
We did a test run of the makeup before Halloween to make sure I had some idea of what to do on the big night. It ended up working out great! In order to create the steps below, we did it again just this last week (that’s why the makeup looks so different!) But I think it just goes to show that no matter how unskilled with makeup you are – this is really easy.
Step 1 – Apply White to the Whole Face
Most of the sugar skull makeup that I’ve seen done has a white face as the base. I applied regular costume makeup in white to create a ghostly white base.
Step 2 – Apply Eye Shadow Up to the Eyebrows
Using some dark eyeshadow (whatever color you want – just go bold) – apply eye shadow all the way up to the eyebrows.
Step 3 – Apply Eye Shadow Under the Eyes and Darken the Brows
Now pick a different color eye shadow and apply it underneath the eyes (you’re creating a larger circle around the eyes.) I also used an eyeshadow stick to darken up her brows.
Step 4 – Draw the Skeleton Nose
I’ve seen this done many ways, but the easiest two ways are to create one single triangle (pictured below) or to create two small triangles side by side (in the pictures at the top.) We used liquid black eyeliner to do this.
Step 5 – Draw the Teeth Lines
Using that same liquid black eyeliner, we drew vertical lines over her lips to look like teeth. Don’t worry if it’s a little messy…it won’t matter in the end.
Step 6 – Line the Eyes and Add Decorations
We used a brown eyeliner pencil to draw a circle around the eye shadow area of each eye. Then we used the liquid black eyeliner to add dots around the eyes.
Step 7 – Add Color Between the Teeth and More Decorations
Taking yet more eye shadow – we applied color in between the teeth lines. Using black liquid eyeliner, I also drew a goofy little spider web on her cheek and a scar on the other. In the other runs, we drew a spider web with spider on her forehead and other details next to her mouth.
The finished product with the veil in place…