By Kathy Antoniotti
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Most of you would think twice about celebrating Halloween with a "sleepover" in a cemetery, but in Mexico, that's exactly what children do. They aren't braver than you, they just know they have nothing to fear from the people buried there.
In fact, Mexican children look forward to attending picnics at cemeteries with their parents and the souls of their departed loved ones. It is traditionally how they celebrate Los Dias de Los Muertos, or the Days of the Dead, on the first two days of November.
The holiday shares some customs and symbols with our Halloween, celebrated on Oct. 31. In America, skeleton decorations like this one may frighten small children, but in Mexico, it could represent someone's much-loved grandfather.
I found directions for this craft in Halloween Recipes & Crafts from Ghost House Books and modified the directions for our use.
Younger children will need an adult's help for this project.
Supplies you will need:
-8-10 1-gallon plastic jugs.
-Glue gun (optional).
-Clear packing tape.
Use one jug for the head. Holding the jug upside down, fill in the two circular indentations for the eyes and draw a nose and mouth with a black marker. Cut two holes in the top of the head to loop a string to hang.
Hold a second jug upright and draw a rib cage on front (use photo as a guide) and cut out. Tape the head and torso together with packing tape.
Cut the handles off two jugs for shoulders, leaving a bit of plastic on each end. Attach the shoulders to the torso with tape or glue gun. Punch two holes in the end of each section. You will attach the arm sections through these holes.
Cut 4 ½ inches off the bottom of another jug. Turn it over and cut the edge into a wave shape as pictured. Punch two holes in each side of the hip section to attach legs.
Cut two spouts off discarded jugs and glue or tape to the bottoms of the torso and hip sections. Connect the two spouts with packing tape.
Cut eight long bone shapes from the rounded corner sections of three jugs. Punch two holes, side by side, in both ends of each bone. Cut a center strip out of four bones; these will be the lower limbs of the arms and legs. For each arm and leg, tie two bones together (one whole and one with a cutout center) with fishing line.
Attach the arms and legs to the shoulder sections and hip sections with fishing line.
Trace each of your hands and feet on side panels of the remaining bottles and cut out. Punch holes in both and attach to the skeleton with fishing line.
© 2003, Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio).
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.