San Miguel residents begin designing their "tapetes de
arena" (sand carpets) around noon and by eight at night, the
colorful sand paintings are finished and on display in the
entrance hall to the cemetery. Beyond, are altars people have
constructed to honor their dead. Wall niches filled with candles
throw a soft light on the sand creations, which are judged for
style and originality. A band lends atmosphere during the judging,
and street vendors offer "pan de muertos" and hot chocolate.