Today on the dia de los muertos, many people create altars, preferably with 7 levels, for the dead. On one of the levels is a picture of a saint, and/or the Virgin de Guadalupe. Another level has a crucifix made of limes or tejocote. On other levels are candles, salt, food, and photos of the dead person. Near the altar, the family places candles toward the four cardinal points to guide the spirit of the dead. The candles also provide light for the spirit. People call to the spirit of their family member, inviting it to visit.
Throughout Mexico, some cemeteries remain open throughout the night as family members hold vigil at the graves of their dead. The living burn candles for the dead as they watch the night away.
This video was made as an ad for attracting tourism, but it gives some idea of the dia de los muertos.
Halloween was not observed as such until fairly recently. The influence of the United States can be seen in the fact that many children now wear costumes while they collect coins in their plastic pumpkin heads. The satanic church claims that Oct. 31 is the birthday of Satan, and observes the date as such.