Make a Samhain Skull Garland

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The Symbolism of the Skull

Image © Patti Wigington 2009

The skull appears regularly in symbols around Samhain -- after all, this is the time when the earth is dying, plus everyone is focusing on Halloween. The Samhain sabbat celebrates the cycle of rebirth, and acknowledges that with life, there must also be death. This skull garland, inspired by the candy skulls of Mexico's Day of the Dead celebration, is a simple craft project you can make with scrap material around your house.

You'll need the following:

  • Felt in a variety of colors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Cotton balls
  • 1/2" wide ribbon

Start by cutting out skull shapes from the felt. The ones in the photo are about two inches long and about an inch wide. You'll need two pieces -- a front and a back -- for each skull you plan on making.

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Assemble the Garland

Image © Patti Wigington 2009

To make the faces, snip a pair of small circles for the eyes. Place a contrasting piece of felt behind the holes, and then use the embroidery floss to stitch them in place. Once you've done that, add other features like noses or teeth. Get as creative as you like -- add flowers, swirls, dots, etc., to your skulls.

Once you've decorate the face, place the backing piece of felt on, and stitch about 3/4 of the way around the edge of the skull. Stuff the inside with a pair of cotton balls, and then stitch closed.

After you've made all your skulls, measure out a length of ribbon. Use a whip stitch to anchor the skulls to the ribbon, about 8 - 10" apart. Hang your garland over your door or place it on your altar.

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Feline-Friendly Alternative

Image © Patti Wigington 2009

If you have cats, you can add a pinch of catnip to the skull stuffing before you stitch it closed. My intention was to do this with a pair of skulls, and tie them, along with a bell, to a piece of ribbon and a stick to create a cat toy. Instead, Gypsy the Ten Ton Calico (in photo) came along, grabbed a skull, and ran off with it, growling and nomming it all the way. I haven't seen it since!