Your friends and family will love this Mexican-themed dinner. Feeling a bit more festive? With nearly the same ingredients, you can whip up this Cinco de Mayo party instead.
tips + how-tos
set the scene
Light the room with luminaria in the colors of the Mexican flag: With a paring knife, cut thin strips or shapes out of the sides of red and green bell peppers, then cut off the tops and scoop out the seeds. Place a tea light at the bottom of each pepper.
Decorate the table with a chile pepper "plant": Place 2 or 3 large bunches of fresh cilantro in a vase. Cut wooden skewers to just below the height of the cilantro and slide chile peppers onto the tips of the skewers; arrange the peppers in the cilantro.
Throw a Day of the Dead Party
1. Decorate with bright colors and plenty of flowers. Traditionally, they're placed on the table and front door as a tribute to the departed. Try reusable, handmade Mexican paper ones ($14 for 6, directfrommexico.com).
2. Go from sweet to spicy. Celebrators believe the strong flavors and aromas entice spirits. Nibble on cooked chiles between bites of dinner: Squeeze a lime and some salt on a fresh poblano and grill it whole.
3. Invite guests over for a big, family-style dinner with lots of different courses. Setting time aside to celebrate is an honorary gesture to those who have passed.