Day of the Dead Candy Party Tray

Day of the dead skullmade out of candy!           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. 

Best party candy tray ever!!!!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.

Day of the dead skullmade out of candy!           Day of the dead skullmade out of candy!           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.)

Day of the dead skullmade out of candy!           Day of the dead skullmade out of candy!            Day of the dead skullmade out of candy!                 Day of the dead skullmade out of candy!            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.

  • Hi Olivia! You can use rollo’s, peppermint patties, and hershey’s kisses 🙂 -Jacki

  • Hi is there anyway you could post the chocolates you used specifically? I went to the store and couldn’t find any with a round shape with the exception of Reese, which I love but some variety would be nice. Anyway looks amazing and excited to give this a try!

  • I LOVE this!! I’ve been wondering what to bring if my office has a party and then I stumbled upon this. Perfect timing!

  • Oh my god this is such an awesome idea! You definitely have some patience assembling this.. I almost would not want to eat it or destroy it!

  • Yall, the Day of the Dead has a lot of spiritual significance to people. I understand admiring the beauty of sugar skulls, but they are more than just decorations. There is a way to participate in Dia de los Muertos respectfully, and this is not it. I’m really disappointed. I hope you will not have a sugar skull costume on the site, because that would make me stop coming here.

  • This is incredible! You girls are like endlessly creative. it’s mildly annoying lol ;-P
    The Accidental Mama

  • Hi!

    I’m a Mexican and I just wanted to say two things: 1) I’m definitely doing this, it’s so cute! 2) We do not celebrate the day of the dead on October 31st, on that day we celebrate Halloween, just like you. The first day of november is dedicated to the souls of children, and november the 2nd to the souls of adults (although not many people make a distinction between those days, at least not in Mexico City). Usually we put altars at home with some orange/yellowish flowers called cempasúchil, candles, pictures of the dead people in our families, things and food they loved, and the sugar skulls you mentioned. Besides sugar, you can also find chocolate versions. Some of them even come with random names so you can find some with your beloved ones’ names. It’s not as widely celebrated as Halloween (after all, Día de Muertos doesn’t get you any free candy, haha… we get to skip school and work, though), but it’s definitely a celebration that makes us proud 🙂

  • Wow. This is beyond amazingly creative guys and not to mention delicious! It’s too pretty to eat but then again it’s too yummy not to. I feel torn. Haha

  • Woohoo thank you so much! I promise to post a pic and tag you when it’s done 🙂

  • This looks like it took so long! But it looks amazing 🙂 I bet people will be very impressed with this!

  • Hi Amy! Is it this one?

  • I love this, will definitely be giving it a go!!

  • Oh man, I would LOVE to do this… except I have no party so uh… there’s no good excuse other than “it’s candy and I wanted it!” haha! That would probably be a bad idea. It looks amazing, though, and it’s such a creative way to do a candy platter!

  • Hi 🙂

    This has nothing to do with this post, although I’m sure Joshua wrote the post I can’t find. I swear I saw an end table build on your site. It was round with legs that angled out a bit. It even had a little shelf like two level for storage, like the tv remote! I have searched the whole site and can’t find it 🙁 please help! Id love to make the tables I saw.

    Thank you

  • This looks fab, would be fab at a party as long as you don’t eat all the candy making it

  • How COOL! Candy skulls are so pretty, and what a creative way to display one!

  • Sweeeeeeeeet. Literally. It’s a visually captivating piece! The only qualm about this is that all the candy is uncovered & opened. Perfect for non-germaphobes. :] // ☼ ☯

  • What’s with that random strip of parchment paper at the top in the GIF? It’s distracting me from the awesome candy building. 🙂

  • thanks for posting!! i’ve been wondering over what to bring to a couple upcoming parties in lieu of a box of store bought cookies! i may not be able to cook but i feel pretty confident that i can arrange candy 🙂

  • Such a great piece to bring to a party! Looking forward to making my own – pinning!

    Warm Regards,

  • Oh so cute! Art made out of chocolate and candy is pretty much the best type of art. Day of the Dead symbolism is incredibly beautiful, too 🙂


  • That’s so fun! If you freeze or refrigerate the chocolate candy before assembling, it won’t melt as quickly.

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