Mexican factory creates thousands of masks for Day of the Dead and Halloween

From a remote place in the central Mexican state of Puebla, every year a rustic factory floods the country with thousands of gloomy faces to generate scares, fears and laughter during the Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations.

About 100,000 masks of witches, devils, skulls, vampires, clowns, werewolves and popular characters such as Chucky or Freddy Krueger and even Mexican politicians are created by hand in a factory in the municipality of Yehualtepec, located on the plain that is part of the Puebla plateau.

The "heads" of diabolical beings, dark clowns, monsters and werewolves, made of transparent latex in their origin, hang from clotheslines and walls in the bowels of the winery where beings emerged from movies, legends and the imagination of workers.

The bright colors in red, like the blood of victims of those imaginary beings, and the dark hues like the soul of the evil ones, "reflect the fear that thousands of people keep inside", Rafael Domínguez González, founder of Mastermanía, tells Efe this Monday.

As for 34 years, in every step of the process, from molding, casting and painting, creativity and perfection They are reflected in those double personalities that in a few days will flood cities across the country.

"The intention is to cause the client to feel that fear and it is the success of our masks, because in each expression the fear of people is reflected and in some way we fulfill the expectations", it states.


The sound of the emery turning to remove the imperfections of the latex masks and the power of the air blowing from the airbrushes that gives color to the mythical beings, resonate throughout the concrete structure that houses the fantastic creatures.

Surrounded by his creations, with unplated walls and old paint cans, Rafael remembers how more than three decades ago he created his first mask of the mythical person of Frankenstein, with a finish that if seen by its creator, the writer and playwright Mary Shelley, surely he would die again.

"It was half ‘chafa’ (of poor quality), we were at the beginning and we did not know everything", reminisce

His brother made plastic children’s masks, but he wanted to take a leap and embark on a latex adventure that today maintains Mastermanía as the second largest artisan factory in the country.

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"It is something that you create by hand, we do not use any mechanical tool, 90% of the masks are made with your hands, with creativity, imagination and when you have a finished mask you look at it and there you see your work, your effort reflected", describes.


Along with the most terrifying beings of humanity, the faces of beings of this world that are used to scare people and strangers also emerged from the place: the faces of the last former Mexican presidents.

The masks with the faces of Carlos Salinas (1988-1994), Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000, Vicente Fox (2000-2006), Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) are part of the variety of the factory and the mischief of a nation.

And of course, that of the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, could not be absent.

"Honestly, if we put monsters on one side and politicians on the other, I think politicians are more scary, because monsters are fictitious, but politicians are real and we know how they are.", the creator jokes.

The malicious faces that hang from the partitions contrast with the smiles of the men and women who give life to the monsters. While tiny kids, children of the workers, who stroll amused between the masks.

"I like them, more in the modeling area, I like modeling too much", says Anastacio Cedano Rodríguez, in charge of the modeling, design and decorations of masks. A job he has been doing for twelve years.

Some monsters emerge from the movies, from web pages, but some more – he proudly reveals – from the minds of the workers themselves, such as Anastacio himself with his gloomy clowns.
"No fear, on the contrary, well maybe some politicians", he says, laughs and while he continues to move the airbrush from one side to the other to give life to a werewolf who in the next few days will wander the streets of some part of Mexico "terrorizing" to the citizens.



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