Dia de los Muertos – The Day of the Dead – sounds a lot more morbid than it really is. While in the American Halloween tradition death is something to be feared, this national Mexican holiday actually celebrates it and welcomes all the departed spirits home. Starting at midnight of October 31, it goes on till November 2nd, and on November 1st all banks and public institution are closed in Mexico.

One of the most important symbols of the Dia de los Muertos are the calaveras, which stand for “skulls” in Spanish. Raging from the calaveras de azúcar (“sugar skulls”) to jewellery, those amusing and colorful skulls are used to adorn the altars for the dead that are set up for the holiday.

Recently the calavera motive has developed into a highly artistic style of make-up design, combining stunning and elaborate face-paint with various flowers, beads and any other props. Here are 15 beautiful examples of Mexican skull make-up art.

Photo by: Melissa Drewry

Photo by: Kate Toluzakova

Photo by: Roberto Duran

Photo by: Federico Esquinca & Fera Maldonado

Photo by: Vilma Costa

Photo by: Stephen Marsh

Photo by: Kenn. Shinabery

Photo by Mauro Lopez

Photo by: Andrey Kuskalo

Photo by: Robert Stebler

Photo by: Marcus Steinmeyer

Photo by: Robert Coppa

Photo by: Michael Giardina

Photo by: Edward De la Torre

Photo by: Erwin Domingo