Calavera is Spanish for “skull,” but more specifically means sugar skull to the Mexican. In Mexico, the calavera plays an important part in Dia de los Muertos celebrations.

To make calaveras, Mexicans take sugar paste and press it into ceramic molds, to create the shape of a skull. The size of these sugar skulls varies, some are no bigger than a ping-pong ball while others can be a foot in diameter. The calavera is then decorated with icing scrolls, colored foil, and the name of the deceased who is being remembered.

People buy these skulls and put them on their home ofrendas or give them to children to eat. Eating the sugar skulls is done to associate happiness with passing on, rather than sadness that is usually accompanied by death.