I'm hoping this is the right section to post this - I did a search beforehand and I saw a few others posted in here so I figured this would be the correct choice...
...anyway, el dia de los muertos is something that I have been inspired by time and time again, mostly due to living so culturally close to Mexico. This year, I wanted to go very large - in the past, I've built altars out of boxes, nooks, etc. - so I opted for a large display.
Anyway, just about everything I used was either crafted by me or thrift-store'd. The cross in the middle was a simple wood-piece I picked up from Hobby Lobby, painted black, and glued religious bottle-cap pieces to it. All of the lace was from the Dollar Store (the best buy of the entire project: a "Last Supper" lace table-cloth...killer!) and I used various other fabrics from around the house to adjust the length, depth of the entire piece. Almost all of the frames I used have been altered in some way, like the one that I spent an hour just dotting with a tiny paint bottle to get the dotted-type effect I wanted. It's very characteristic of Mexican art.
I made sure all of the pets were included on the top shelf above the altar.
I had fun painting the skulls and tried varying up the colors to add interest. I didn't get to finish all of the skeletons (i.e. the two at the very top) but I did paint up one of the ones sitting behind the shaver/towel stack. I didn't get to really include everything I had originally planned to do - time and money got away from me (I'm an English graduate student - money isn't exactly flooding in at this point). Like I wanted to include the traditional marigold flowers - sadly, I wasn't able to pick some up in time. And I would've liked to have had a loaf of bread or some kind of additional food product - the candy is just kind of lacking.
I really had a lot of fun/enjoyment doing this - I would definitely encourage anyone to try this as it is a great memory-making experience for all involved. And it's an amazing way to showcase the lives of people you love so dearly but have lost through the years.