Recently our principal told us we had to cancel our annual Fall Festival, because the school cannot spend money on activities that are not educational. Ok. Good reason. But I really enjoyed it! Ivonne, the Spanish teacher at my sister school, came up with the idea of having the festival be about Día de Los Muertos. Viola! Now it’s educational! Then I had memories of previous festivals at my other schools. Teachers did all the work and cleaning. Ugh. Somehow this topic came up during my Spanish 2 class last week. One student asked, “Can WE plan a Muerto festival for the school?” She gave a wonderful argument why (we know about the holiday already, we can put this on a college application, we are upperclassmen, you won’t have to do anything, etc.). So I “gave in” and allowed them to proceed. 🙂

The first day they planned. This website gave them a good start:  They selected several booths and assigned them to the students. Each booth will have a trifold with cultural information and an activity. They thought of ways to get other classes involved as well.

OFRENDA: This is a display that was a paper memory wall for students to write a “note” to people they have lost. We are including a photo of the founder of our school.

PAPER FLOWERS: Here they can make the flowers and put them on a hair clip if they want. They may include papel picado patterns here too.

LA LLORONA: First I showed them the wikipedia information in Spanish. They figured put most of it. After they learned about the story, they wanted it to be part of the festival. They asked the drama class to reenact this story. They will perform it twice during the festival.

FACE PAINTING: Some student artists are painting faces in traditional calavera styles. The art class is helping a little with this.

PHOTO BOOTH: They asked our photography class to take photos. They are including a box of cultural clothing and a cardboard cutout. They will charge $1 for prints or students can take the photo with their phones for free. There will also be pictures of La Catrina in different art forms.

FOOD: Of course this is needed! They are selling skull suckers, chips and salsa, and something else. The food/nutrition class is working with us on this. They chose to donate the profits to an organization. So sweet!

MUSIC: Here there will be drums to play the chant “Chumbalaca.”


TRIVIA: After they have visited other booths, they can answer 5 questions. Once they get them correct, they win skull beads.

They have been frantically researching, finding the cheapest products (lots of math!), decorating the tri-folds, and working with each other. I’m so proud of them. Each day I try to start with something cultural in Spanish so they are getting some language too.

Any advice? Have you done this before?