La Catrina

Trial Day – Kind of messy but you get the idea!

I have a serious love-hate relationship with Halloween.  I have never really loved to dress up but I always find that I put a lot of effort into my costume when I do decide to dress up.  The truth of the matter is, I just love to DIY and making my own costumes has always been fun for me!

This year, I was scouring the web for an easy (and cheap!) costume idea and I stumbled upon a ton of really great ideas.  At the top of my list was a taco.  I headed to Wal-Mart to try and find supplies but the taco shell was harder to actualize than I thought it would be….so, back to the drawing board.

Then I started to see a lot of people posting Catrina makeup.  Who is Catrina you ask?  La Catrina is the wife of El Catrin, Mexico’s version of the grim reaper, and she is an icon of the Day of the Dead.  Dia de los muertos, or Day of the Dead in Mexico, is actually more than one day and is a celebration honouring deceased loved ones.

Mexicans believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and that the spirits of all deceased children reunite with their families for 24 hours.  Then on November 2, the spirits of all deceased adults come down to join in on the festivities.

Having just married a Mexican…La Catrina seemed like the obvious choice!  The costume also seemed like it could be relatively simple…major bonus!  Almost everything I needed for the costume came right from my own closet, makeup and art supplies:

  • Black dress
  • Black patterned shawl
  • Jade necklace – made by my brother-in-law!
  • Black and red nail polish
  • Black boots
  • Black headband
  • Glue gun
  • Red lipstick
  • Black eyeliner pencil
  • Black eyeshadow

A quick trip to Michael’s and London Drugs rounded out the rest:

  • Multi-stem of fake black flowers – similar to this – choosing a multi-stem will give variety in size for your headpiece
  • Multi-stem of fake red flowers
  • Stumbled upon a Styrofoam mini-skull for only $2!
  • Stumbled upon a great red and black feather boa for only $4.99! – similar to this
  • White face makeup – make sure you get cream based as it is VERY simple to take off and did not dry out my skin.  I used Fantasy FX and would recommend it!
Arrange and glue – so easy!

The headpiece was easy and fun to make.  I pulled all of the flowers off of the stems and then arranged them along with the skull on the headband until I was satisfied with the combination and layout.  Then, glue glue glue!  Simple as that!


Once I put the whole outfit together, I realized that a bit of tulle for a veil would be a great addition.  Fabricana had a pre-Halloween sale and I was able to find a yard of black tulle for $2!  I simply glued the tulle to the underside of the headband and voila!  A veil!  I also cut a few thin strips off the edge of the tulle and used it to wrap around a bouquet of red fake flowers that I borrowed from my mom.  Scrounge around and you can find everything you need for a great costume!

One yard of tulle folded in half made for the perfect veil
Tulle scraps wrapped around a bunch of flowers for the bouquet

The hardest part for me was definitely the makeup.  I made sure to do a trial run to ensure that I had everything I needed and that I was able to create a look that was decent.  My brother-in-law told me that people sometimes look more like pandas than Catrinas, which was something I wanted to avoid!  Now, I’m not much of a makeup girl.  I do very basic everyday makeup and have not been much of an experimenter, so this, was wwwaaayyyy out of my comfort zone.


I spent a bit of time searching “Catrina makeup” and “Catrina costume” on Instagram and Pintrest and got some really good ideas.  There are so many talented people out there that did some really amazing Catrina looks but ultimately, I needed something high impact but that was easy!

My trial run took me about half an hour and was sloppy, but the end result was exactly what I was going for.  So for Halloween, I got up a few minutes early, put in a good 35 minutes and carefully did my makeup and this is the result!


I drove to and from work like this and the reaction I got from my co-workers was great!  Everyone loved it and I won the costume prize this year!


This was the easiest and cheapest costume I have ever made and it definitely turned out the best!  Can’t wait for next Halloween!

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