The Papillion-La Vista South Spanish Club is getting festive, but instead of trick-or treating, they’re learning about a holiday celebrated south of the border.

In honor of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday celebrated in Mexico Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, the club used their monthly meeting to decorate sugar skulls to commemorate the Mexican festivities.

Those who celebrate Dia de los Muertos believe that when the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 31, souls of all deceased children descend from heaven and reunite with their families. On Nov. 2, they believe the souls of adults come to visit.

On Thursday, about 15 Spanish Club members gathered and decorated sugar skulls, skulls made from granulated sugar traditionally used to decorate ofrendas (offerings) for the returning souls.

This year, Spanish Club sponsors Dinah Claus and Paige Beaty, both Spanish teachers at PLVS, said they wanted to do the activity to help students understand more about Mexican culture.

“It’s something that represents Day of the Dead,” Claus said. “We try to teach the kids something about culture and places where Spanish is spoken and just get more excited about it.”

Students decorated the skulls with items such as sequins, metallic paper, feathers and paint.

Beaty said while it’s impossible to afford this activity for every Spanish class in the school, she is happy to give the opportunity to club members who wanted to participate.

“We have a good core group of people who were really interested in it,” Beaty said. “It gives them a better understanding on cultural things that happen.”

Freshman Saphra Stuart said she was excited to do the activity given her Mexican heritage.

To celebrate the holiday, Stuart said she spends time with her family.

“We usually hang up pictures of my great grandpa and eat bread together,” Stuart said.

Through fun, hands-on activities, Claus said she hopes students become eager to learn about life in other countries.

“We’re just trying to get them excited about the language and cultures,” she said.

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