TANEYTOWN - Making a picnic lunch at the graves of loved ones may seem a little macabre to some, but this is a standard practice for many during the Day of the Dead celebration, or Dia de los Muertos, which takes place every year on Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.
Day of the Dead is observed all over the world, but particularly in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking nations, in ways that both honor the dead and celebrate life.
Members of the Teen Advisory Board at the Taneytown branch of the Carroll County Public Library held a Dia de los Muertos program on Wednesday that included crafts for the celebration.
"The skull is omnipresent in the Day of the Dead," said Dolores Schuyler, who advises the teen group.
At the craft stations set up by the teens, skulls decorated jewelry, key chains, candy, cookies and spoons.
She said families who celebrate Dia de los Muertos often set up altars in their homes for deceased loved ones and plan a big feast. The altars may include candy, flowers, photographs, samples of the deceased's favorite foods and drinks and fresh water so that the spirit can wash before joining in the feast.
At the cemeteries, relatives light candles, pull weeds and decorate tombstones with flowers, wreaths and streamers.
"They try to remember the good things," said Anna Koons, an advisory board member who was making a key chain out of skulls and lampwork beads Wednesday.
The teens chose the crafts for the day by searching pinterest.com for ideas. The most common items found for Day of the Dead were sugar skulls. At the library, they laid out skull-shaped forms made from sugar and meringue for children to decorate with icing.
Another Dia de los Muertos program will take place at the Mount Airy library at 1 p.m. Saturday.