Day of the Dead has kinda morphed into a hybrid Mexican Halloween & Memorial Day. Some of the sacred traditions of the occasion have turned into a shopping and visual free for all

And since we are in the visual industry, here are some of the outstanding examples of “Best Use of a Mannequin” for Day of the Dead, along with a little cultural history to enlighten you about this celebration.

1 We love these skulls on top of dress forms. We are not sure why bridal gowns are so popular for Day of the Dead – perhaps it was once a tradition to bury people in their bridal attire.


Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Meso-American holiday dedicated to the ancestors. Rather than mourning death as purely tragedy and loss, Dia de los Muertos honors both death and the cycle of life. The celebration acknowledges that we still have a relationship with our loved ones whom have passed away.

2  This window display from florist Nancy Krause in Chicago is a wonderful example of of a retail display celebrating Day of the Dead. Bravo!



2  On Etsy, many artists decorate a mannequin head in Day of the Dead style. These make great table decorations or to put on an altar.



In Mexico, on Dia de los Muertos families and friends gather in local cemeteries to be with their loved ones and construct private altars, which contain everything from photos, favorite foods, and other memorabilia, in hopes that deceased souls will journey back for the Dia de los Muertos celebration.

3 Artist Felecia Vela is shows an example of how people use a mannequin to make altar to honor a deceased loved one. Painting a skeleton face on a mannequin is a lot easier than acquiring a real skeleton.


Traditionally, people gather at the graves of their loved ones to build altars in their memory. The altars will feature pictures and food, drinks and other things that the person enjoyed in life. Children eat sugar candy skulls, and it’s a chance to help make people comfortable with death while celebrating life.

4 An outfit  this elaborate (notice that it is made out of paper plates, cups bowls, and plastic utensils) needs to be on display after the event, not hung in a closet  – don’t you think?


We suggest she put it on a mannequin and apply skeleton makeup.

For more information about the history, symbols and tradition of Day of the Dead see this article.





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