Since living in Mexico for several years, my love of Halloween is also influenced with the traditions of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). When celebrating and decorating, we use traditions from Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. For example, we create a "graveyard" in our front yard, but we also create a trail of marigold petals leading from the "tombstones" to the front porch. (Traditionally, marigolds are used to help guide the souls of the departed to their loved ones - the luminous petals of the marigolds virtually "glow" in the dark!) I love the traditions of papel picado, the elaborate ofrendas, and the traditional folk art surrounding Dia de los Muertos. Here's a link to a pdf document that is a teacher packet full of fun crafts for kids - a calavera mask, a skeleton puppet, coloring pages, etc.
If you'd like to do something crafty for Dia de los Muertos, here's an easy craft to make calaveras (skulls). Get together some white air drying clay, some colored pens, and jewelry findings (optional). Mold the clay into skull shapes with your fingers. Use something with a point (I used a pencil) to create eye and nose sockets and a mouth. If you'd like to make your skulls into beads for jewelry or into ornaments, insert the appropriate jewelry findings. We placed jewelry loops into the top of the skulls to make these into necklaces. Your calaveras might look something like this:
Follow the manufacturer's directions and allow the clay to dry. Once the clay is dry, pull out your colored pens and get creative! Jerry, Brynne and I each decorated 2 in the batch below:
Google Dia de los Muertos if you'd like inspiration for the designs. Here's a great place to look for inspiration and learn more about the festivities. These are lightweight and great to use for halloween ornaments, or combined with other beads for necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc. If you decide to try this out, I'd love to see what you end up with!