Mexico’s Day of the Dead

Mexico’s Day of the Dead lesson plan

Join the Mexican celebration for Dia de los Muertos. Families honor the spirits of deceased relatives with food and flowers during this 3-day holiday.

  • 1.

    Research how Aztec beliefs mixed with Catholic rituals to result in the contemporary celebration of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). This holiday is widely celebrated in Mexico and in communities where Mexican families live. Find pictures of dancing, art, and cemetery decorations—just some of the ways that families celebrate during this 3-day festival. Then show what you’ve learned about this holiday with an original scene such as the one here.

  • 2.

    <STRONG>Tombstone</STRONG>. Blend white Crayola® Model Magic® with color from a gray Crayola Washable Gel Marker. Knead just a bit to obtain a marble effect. Shape Model Magic into a tombstone. Write names and dates on the stone if you wish. Set it aside to air-dry overnight.

  • 3.

    <STRONG>Decorations</STRONG>. Use Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils on white construction paper to draw items to decorate your tombstone. Flowers, garlands of greens and flowers, and candles are all commonly used, as are gifts of food. Color in the items with Gel Markers. Cut out the decorations with Crayola Scissors. With Crayola School Glue, attach items to the tombstone. Air-dry the glue.

  • 4.

    <STRONG>Background</STRONG>. On a large piece of dark construction paper, use your imagination to create a night scene with the Gel Markers—they really stand out on dark colors! You might show shadows of people dancing and a sky with a full moon. Add Crayola Glitter Glue for sparkle.

  • 5.

    Glue the decorated headstone to the background. Air-dry flat before


  • Students gather information about Mexican customs for celebrating the Day of the Dead.
  • Students connect Dia de los Muertos to other traditional holidays like All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Halloween, and Aztec beliefs.
  • Students construct a scene to illustrate what they learned about traditional Day of the Dead celebrations.


  • Research the origins of similar holidays such as Halloween and All Saints Day. They compare and contrast how these holidays are celebrated in cultures around the world.
  • Locate a variety of pictures depicting Dia de los Muertos traditions, especially for children with special needs. Encourage them to select one scene that shows a part of the celebration they find especially fascinating.
  • Invite families or other students to a Day of the Dead celebration. Students make all arrangements, traditional decorations, and typical food for the event.