What is it?
Día de Muertos is the time the deceased are allowed to return to the land of the living and visit with family and friends. Families will visit graveyards to visit recently passed family and friends. Family members will tell all the recent news, joke around, remember the good times, the family may have a picnic, perhaps a singer will be paid to sing a few songs.
Many homes will have an altar at home so the deceased can eat a bit of food and drink a bit.
November 1st, according to Catholic tradition is "All Saints Day" or Todos Santos. Children and infants come to visit on this day. The day is known as "Day of the Innocents" or Día de los Inocentes and sometimes as "Day of the Little Angels", or Día de los Angelitos. Usually families will leave a little trail of marigold flower petals leading from the road into the house and altar. The angelitos altar will have the child's favorite foods and candies, favorite toy and perhaps a new toy. The family will eat tamales and favorite foods and welcome the child home.
November 2nd, according to Catholic tradition is "All Souls Day" or Fieles Difuntos. Fieles Difuntos, also known as Día de los Difuntos, is the day that all departed can return to visit the world of the living. Families visit grave sites or have an altar or both. Families will literally set up a table, bring chairs and have a picnic, chat, perhaps friends might drop by at the grave site of their deceased family member. Home altars will have favorite foods and drinks of the deceased.
Halloween and Día de Muertos are two different holidays. Halloween is scary with witches and spiders. Día de Muertos is the time when the deceased can visit living family and friends. There is sorrow to the event but there is also joy that the family can be together again. Christmas and Easter are two different holiday, so are Halloween and Día de Muertos.
You might see Día de Muertos written as Día de los Muertos. Día de los Muertos might be grammatically correct but the the holiday is commonly called Día de Muertos.
Some people celebrate the Day of the Dead with a few extra days. October 28th is the day for those who died accidentally or were murdered; the 29th for those who drowned; the 30th for women who died in child birth and the 31th for children and teenagers.