Altar participants


Thank you for your interest in participating by creating an altar.
The altars are truly heart and soul of this important cultural event.

Below is detailed information regarding the altar program in case you are interested in participating in 2024.

Important notice !
Please note that selling merchandise at the altar sites is strictly prohibited. Violators will be removed from the premises.

Altar Contest

Best Event Themed Altar : $5,000
Best Traditional Altar: $5,000
Best Contemporary Altar: $5,000

2023 Altar Contest  WINNERS


There are 3 steps to reserve an altar SITE:

Once you have filled out the online Application Form and submitted the Credit Card Authorization Form and Waiver Form via email, we will contact you with a map, instructions and altar space number.

Before filling out your application, please read through the following rules and instructions:

  • Cancellations must be made 72 hours in advance of the event to receive your deposit check.
  • As of a new policy this year, there will be a charge of $150 for no shows and for altars that aren’t cleaned up.  Download credit card authorization form from sign up form page, fill out and send in.
  • We STRONGLY encourage you to start building your altar the day before the event, or at least drop off your altar supplies. You can start as early as Friday at 9am. You are allowed to work through the evening. There will be free food and drink for altar teams on site Friday.
  • Please be respectful of the altar space by bringing large trash bags to clean your space. Please do not leave a trace of trash. Those with altar spaces not left clean of trash and debris will lose their deposit and will not be allowed to return the following year.
  • On Saturday, October 26th, 2024, you must be inside the cemetery by 7am at the latest. You will NOT be allowed to enter the cemetery with supplies after 7:30am – NO EXCEPTIONS – remember, gates will open to the public at 9am. This is a Fire Department requirement. Please plan ahead, arrive organized and as early as possible for an enjoyable setup-experience. Thank you.
  • Once you enter the cemetery find your name and numbered space on the map (the pink numbers), unload your supplies and IMMEDIATELY MOVE YOUR CAR to the designated OFF SITE parking spaces. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! Arrive on time for we have turned away late entries. This is painful!
  • The Fire Department doesn’t allow the burning of candles! You can illuminate your altar with battery powered candles or otherwise.
  • Altar height is limited to a maximum of 12 feet.
  • Electricity will be provided – bring a 14 gauge 75 foot grounded extension cord with you to connect.
  • We allot 5amps of 110v power per altar – if you need more power please let us know in advance – if you are upgrading also make sure to bring a 12 gauge 75 foot grounded extension cord.
  • The Altar contest prizes are:
    Best Event Themed Altar: $5,000
    Best Traditional Altar: $5,000
    Best Contemporary Altar: $5,000
  • Only altars completed by 8am Saturday 10.26.2023 will be considered for the contest.

    The winners will be announced at the main stage at 8:30pm by the altar judging committee.

We want to thank you for your participation with this amazing event. We look forward to working with you. If you have any questions please contact us. Thank you.

Angie M. Jiménez
Director & Curator of Altar Program
[email protected]

Creating your Altar

One of the key elements of Dia de los Muertos revolves around ofrendas, or offerings, which are created through a visual display of altar-making and grave decorating. The offerings, a main focal point of the observance, echo the dedication and distinct love that is presented toward the dearly departed. Altars can be created through a wide spectrum of dedications, depending on one’s creative desire. The altar includes the four main elements of nature – Earth, Wind, Water and Fire.

  • Earth is represented by the crop: The soul is fed by the various earthly aromas. Placing fruit or favorite family dishes on the altar provides nourishment for the beloved souls.
  • Wind is represented by a moving object: Paper- Mache is commonly utilized to represent the echoes of the wind.
  • Water is placed in a container for the soul to quench its thirst after the long awaited journey to the altar. Water is also used for the means of purification.
  • Fire is represented by a wax candle: Each lit candle represents a loving soul, and an extra one is placed for the forgotten soul.
  • Copal – Incense burned to commemorate Pre-Columbian history.
  • The Cempasuchitl-Marigold known as “The flower of the dead” blossoms in the valleys of Mexico during the months of October and November with a bright yellow color and is central to altar decorating. This flower aids the spirits to wander back.
  • Pictures are widely used in honor of the individual you are paying homage to.
  • The Skull – The common symbol of the holiday is the skull which is celebrated and represented by decorative masks called calacas. In addition sugar skulls are also tastefully created and inscribed with the names of both the honored and living recipients on the forehead as a means to remind us of our own mortality.