Halloween is right around the corner, can you smell the sugar in the air? Day of the Dead is also coming up. If you're not familiar with this Mexican holiday, it's also celebrated on October 31 (through November 2nd) and is a time of remembrance for family and friends who have passed away. Sugar skulls that are decorated with lots of color are used as gifts as well as to honor the dead. The sugar skull broke tradition from being the only form used, and can now be seen in other cultural ways portrayed by beautiful artwork, makeup, and costumes.
Which brings us to the sugariest sugar skull you've ever seen. I made a sugar skull out of Halloween candy for a party platter! Just under one ton of candy was used to make this thing. It didn't last very long around here, but it was fun to make. Here's how I constructed this sweet party platter that is guaranteed to be a hit with both the living and undead this season.
-You're going to need candy! Lots of it! Pick all kinds of different colored candy. If you look at a traditional sugar skull, you'll see that is full of bright colors. Of course chocolate bars can act as the dark areas. They have white chocolate reeses now, so those with white chocolate chips can be your whites. I used a lot of Airheads and licorice for color. There are so many options I didn't even use, like jellybeans, candy corn, and sweet tarts.
-parchment paper or foil, to line platter
-a tray or plate big enough to hold a bunch of candy
-references—I searched for sugar skulls online and found a bunch of reference images. I picked about five or six that I liked and used them as a guide.
The first thing I did was make a rough sketch of a skull, which acted as a guide for the initial candy placement. Then it was just a matter of unwrapping and placing the candy. Of course I had to eat a piece every once in a while, for the sake of quality control, you know. I did the chocolaty dark background first, then worked my way in. The white skull background came next, then the colorful details. It took a bit of time to complete, but I think it was worth it! Luckily I had some help from Laura, she was able to lend a helping hand when I was tired of looking at the thing (I may have been sugar crashing, now that I think about it.)
I would suggest making this pretty soon before your party. The candy started melting right off the bat, making everything look kind of droopy and sticky. Once it was put together, it was fun taking it apart! I bet you could make other types of images out of candy. What would you make? -Josh
Credits // Author: Joshua Rhodes. Photography: Joshua Rhodes, Laura Gummerman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.