People make altars for their death people, where they place pictures of the deceased, as well as belongings and things, dishes, and food the person enjoyed in life. In the case of kids, toys are placed as well. This was thought to help the death people with their journey to eternal life. Flowers and candles are also a must.
While it could seem as a somewhat sad tradition, Day of the Dead is a very happy, festive, and respectful one, where death is regarded as a peaceful and transitional place for people: a place in between life and eternity.
Day of the Dead is a holiday which extends itself (as most holidays do) along late October and November. There are several iconic elements: flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and "death" bread (pretty yummy!).
All being said, it's quite obvious Day of Dead is not the same as Halloween, though some people tend to confuse them. Here in Mexico, one is able to find the most diverse opinions regarding both traditions. It's almost as if it was a popularity contest between both!