The first year we made a giant altar with his picture and decorated it with flowers and candles and gaudy glitter. I even whipped up a fake plate of enchiladas, his favorite food. The year after, while I was in Oklahoma, the rest of the family went to the parade with the same float from the previous year and some people said, "Pssh, we saw that float last year." Not only did I think that was completely rude, seeing how everyone was there to remember their loved ones, my family was mortified.
So this year I decided to change it up and build a giant guitar. Dad would play in his younger years and my husband (jackbrass, fellow instructables member) also grew to love playing guitar.
I got a large piece of cardboard (courtesy of a chassis) and painted it. I had some scrap pressed fiberboard and made a neck. I had some styrafoam and made a head. I went to my trusty dollar store and picked up anything skulls for me to repaint and decorate. On the actual guitar we have Dad's picture and I tried to paint/decorate things that related to his life. Dad's from Veracruz, an ocean front state in Mexico so I painted palm leaves and fish skeletons.
At the actual parade we dress in Mexican garb and paint our faces like skeletons. The gals sometimes wear flowers in their hair. The parade route is long and it's a nice community feeling. If you are in the Tucson area, I highly recommend it next year. It's a lovely traveling art gallery. Look for Chevo's altar, because we'll be there.