Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican festival that honors and remembers the dead. The celebration starts Oct. 31 and continues through the first few days of November. It is believed that the dead are capable of bringing prosperity or misfortune to families during this time, so special preparations are made to ensure the festivities are extraordinary.

Plates of food and decorations are laid out during the Dia de los Muertos celebrations, but perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the day is the skull. Referred to as a sugar skull, the image is often crafted out of food but has also become a popular face painting technique. Whether you’re a makeup expert or a first timer, these tips will guide you in your Dia de los Muertos celebration.

Start by using white face paint or any white makeup to cover the entire face, including the lips. This will act as a base for the look. Next, contour the cheekbones using a different color. You can use something bright, like purple or blue, or stick to basics like blacks and grays. Paint the areas at the bottom of your cheekbones darker and blend upward using a lighter touch.

Next, move on to the eyes. Using black or purple paint, cover large circles above and below your eyes to act as the sockets. If you’re using pops of bright color, add them in a circle around the sockets and blend them together. Paint the tip of the nose black as well.

With a thin black line, draw the outline of teeth over your lips, extending them past the lines of your mouth. 

Adding scalloped edges with a black line to the areas around the nose, mouth and eyes is a bonus.  Gems, spider webs and other individual designs also lend a personal touch to the finished product.