Some participants in the Day of Dead procession wear outfits that honor their deceased loved ones, traditional Spanish formal wear, Victorian gowns, vintage black lace, and suits or tuxedos with top hats, capes and canes. Many wear a skeleton costume either alone or in addition to formal wear.
Women typically wear dresses that require bustles, and they carry parasols or wear gloves. Some wear black or dark veils attached to hair combs or brimmed hats. Men often wear long tails and a top hat with gloves or long wool coats in dark fall colors. Skeleton costumes are typically made of black fabric with white bones added to them.
Many participants wear a mask or paint their faces. Some paint a lifelike skull using black and white greasepaint. Others create what is known as a sugar skull, which is a skull with large eye sockets and a long stitched mouth. The eye sockets have colorful flower petals painted around them, and the mouth sometimes includes colorful or outlined lips. Other embellishments include spiderwebs, flowers, hearts, stars or mustaches for guys. The nose is painted black to resemble a skull, and white is the base color to allow the rest of the paint to appear vibrant.