Day of the Dead Costumes

Day of the Dead Costume

Celebrating the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is an annual tradition for many, and dressing up for it can be a lot of fun. After all, this is a jovial holiday where the spirits of deceased loved ones are said to come back to mingle with the living. Consider wearing one of these costumes on the Day of the Dead this year.

Women's Costumes

Wearing a costume for the Day of the Dead isn't mandatory to attend an event, but it is the norm. It also happens to liven up the event, and it is a lot of fun. It's a way of celebrating both life and death at the same time, playing homage while taking part in the fun of dressing up.

Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead Bride

Costume Culture Day Of The Dead Bride Costume
Day of the Dead Bride Costume

At once gorgeous, elegant, and a bit on what may be considered the morbid side, the Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead Bride can be really fun to wear. It comes in sizes small, medium, and large. Included in the costume are the wedding dress, a hoop petticoat, a veil, skeleton gloves, and a bouquet. You will need to get a separate makeup kit with white make-up for the face and dark eye shadow and eyeliner.

Adult Exuberante Day of the Dead Costume

The Adult Exuberante Day of the Dead Costume is available in plus sizes, ranging from small to 3X. It comes with a dress, a mask, and an oversized scarf. It's feminine and a bit flirty, with a form-fitting bust, fitted waist, and poofy, short skirt. Flowers and sugar skull designs are part of the dress, and the black lace adds an extra touch of femininity. The hot pink color and rainbow scarf are fun and in keeping with the bold colors and celebratory nature of the holiday.

Do-It-Yourself: La Calavera Catrina

La Calavera Catrina
La Calavera Catrina Costume

La Calavera Catrina is a famous illustration by Jose Guadalupe Posada. This piece of art depicts a female skeleton who is wearing only a hat. The hat is a fancy one that would have been worn with a fancy, upper class dress from her time period. You can create alternate versions of this famous costume.

You may opt to wear an all-black dress that you already have in your wardrobe and paint your face white with cheap white face paint or go all the way by doing skeleton face painting. Since the La Calavera Catrina was a rich woman, you may also opt to accessorize with what appears to be genuine, expensive jewelry.

The centerpiece of any La Calavera Catrina costume is the hat. Start with a basic, wide-brimmed floppy hat. Choose one that you don't mind sacrificing for the sake of a great costume. Now, add some flair!

  1. Gather the "bling" that you want add to the hat. These should be things that would look glamorous or pretty, fit for an upscale lady. Choose things that complement the color scheme of the outfit you have chosen for the costume or perhaps even the jewelry that you want to wear. Choose flowers, pins, strings of beads, jewels, patterned cloth, faux feathers, or any ornate finery that strikes your fancy.
  2. Arrange the items on your hat exactly how you want them to appear. For example, perhaps you want a fancy patch of cloth with a rose layered on top. Maybe you envision beads that are woven among flowers. It's important to be clear on the position of items before you start to add them to your hat.
  3. Start by attaching the items on the bottom layer that you want to display. Use safety pins to attach such items as patterned cloth or other larger items. These are probably going to be the first things that you want to attach to the hat, since smaller items are best seen on top of this basic, decorative layer.
  4. Use a glue gun to attach anything that you don't want to reuse. For example, faux feathers probably aren't going to have a lot of longevity of use, so glue them directly to your hat. Flowers are also best glued on as well. If you have a cheap string of beads, such as the type given out at Mardi Gras, glue them in the exact way you wish to display them on your hat.

Once you are through decorating your hat, it should be fancy, ornate, and maybe even a little over-the-top, depending on the look you want to embody.

Men's Costumes

Men also have many options for dressing up on the Day of the Dead. Decide on the type of costume that you want to wear and your purpose for wearing it, then consider these strong options.

Underwraps Men's Bone Daddy

Underwraps Bone Daddy Costume
Underwraps Bone Daddy

If you want a costume that you can unpack, put on, and walk out to celebrate, the Underwraps Men's Bone Daddy is an especially strong option. It's attractive but very simple. One size and plus sizes are available for this costume.

With a skeleton that is drawn over a suit-type costume, it's sure to look flattering on men of all sizes. The Bone Daddy costume includes screen-printed "skeleton" pants, a screen-printed "skeleton" jacket, skeleton gloves, and a black faux shirt front, and white tie that is attached to the shirt so you don't have to worry about misplacing it. To add extra flair to the costume, add a hat, sunglasses, and a cane which can all be purchased separately.

Day of the Dead Senor Costume

The colorful, fun Day of the Dead Senor Costume For Adults has a military-style formal jacket with a sophisticated lapel and three red bands at each cuff. This costume includes everything but the shoes, and a plain pair of black, comfortable shoes will be just fine. The costume has a skeleton-drawn shirt, black pants with a colorful design on each side, a jacket with red accents, a skeleton mask, a red necktie, a belt, and black top hat with a stripe of a pattern that brightens things up in a way that's perfect for this holiday. It comes in one size.

Do-It-Yourself: The Half-Dead Gentleman

Modified image of a man wearing half skeleton makeup
Half Skeleton Makeup

Dress up to the nines with this do-it-yourself costume idea. For starters, wear a suit. It certainly shouldn't be a treasured, expensive one, but you can likely fine one that fits decently at a second-hand shop or thrift store. Also, wear a skeleton glove on the right hand (or the one on the side that you are making up to look like a skeleton), to ensure a consistency to the costume.

The most important aspect of this costume is making up the right half of your face to look like a skeleton. It won't take long, but follow the instructions closely to enjoy easy success.

  1. Draw a dividing line on your face with a white make-up pencil. Alternately, use one that matches the color of your skin, but it's likely to be easier to see the white make-up pencil. This enables you to do your makeup without creating uneven lines between the "skeleton" makeup and the rest of your face.
  2. Dip a makeup sponge in white face makeup, then lightly dab it onto your skin on the right side of your face. Go over the area with a second layer, going right up to the white line that you have drawn on the mid-point of your face. Be sure not to go over the line, so take your time when applying makeup to this area of the face. Also apply it all the way down half your neck.
  3. Outline your right eye area with black eyeliner or a black makeup pencil. Go about an inch below your bottom eyelid and circle around your eye in an oval shape. This doesn't have to be perfect.
  4. Use an eyeshadow brush to apply black eyeshadow to the area that you outlined. Apply this liberally, then let dry if you've chosen a liquid eyeshadow.
  5. Apply the same black eyeshadow or black face paint to the right half of your nose. Be sure to go up underneath to paint the bottom exterior on the right side of your nose.
  6. Use black eyeliner to draw teeth over your lips.
  7. Add black contour lines to the ends of your mouth and fill in to create the hollows of your cheeks. Blend as necessary to create shadows.
  8. Go over your makeup again and patch up any imperfections. That said, your look need not be perfect. A ragged skeleton look may work best, depending on the overall look you want to create for your costume.


No Day of the Dead costume is complete without accessories. Pick up some trinkets that have a meaning to you or perhaps some that match your costume. For example, if you are wearing a costume with pink in it, you may opt to carry pink roses to carry to graves of your deceased loved ones or an altar that is set up for the Day of the Dead. Other ideas for accessories include the following:

  • Bring along a sealed letter to a lost loved one. You may leave it behind on an altar or at your loved one's grave.
  • Carry orange marigolds, which are called the Flowers of the Dead.
  • Hold something that has a special connection to the one you are remembering.

Celebrating the Day in Costume

Unlike other memorial holidays, the Day of the Dead isn't necessarily somber. Once you are all ready in your costume, it's time to embrace the celebration.

Day of the Dead Costumes