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A Grave Matter: Building a Halloween Cemetery

It’s scary. It’s terrifying. It’s blood-curdling. It’s…a week before your big Halloween bash and you don’t have a single decoration yet!

Never fear: help is here, and in a hurry. Here’s how to haunt your own front yard or indoor party area with these chillingly good graveyard scene ideas.

Terrifying Tombstoneshalloween tombstone ghoul

Naturally, the first thing you’ll want to grab hold of is a set of eerie cemetery tombstones. Don’t worry if these don’t all match; different sizes and textures add to the spooky effect and will make your grave scene more believable.

If you’re pressed for time, buy premade foam tombstones; three to four are sufficient for a small to medium-size front yard, and two to three will work for an indoor scene. Plus, the ones you can buy today are not your cheap plastic decor – they look quite realistic and sophisticated! Check out a huge variety of tombstones, fences, and other graveyard props.

You can also make your own gravestones in a flash with our Ten Minute Tombstone tutorial.

Finish off your stones by adding some realistic moss around the tops; glue the moss on if your display will be outdoors and exposed to the weather. Another handful or two at the base of each stone delivers a realistic look that’s even creepier after dark!

mel-graveyard-ground-breakThey Come Out at Night

Since all the best cemeteries are haunted, create a few creatures to set the scene.

Use an old Halloween monster or ghost mask, metal coat hangers and a torn sheet to make a ghost or mummy in minutes. To do this, tie some of the sheet (the more torn the better) around the mask and stuff the inside with paper or rags to fill out the “head”. Then carefully unwind the hangers (careful—the metal can be sharp) and twist enough together to make a lawn stake that’s one to two feet higher than one of your tombstones. Insert the metal inside the “neck” of your creature and stake it behind the tombstone. For added effect, insert wires crosswise in the fabric for “arms” and fold them in front of the stone.

As a speedy alternative, you may wish to buy inexpensive “ground breakers” for this purpose and reuse them year after year. (Look for “ground breakers” here.)

A Little Atmosphere

Create finishing touches with novelty spiders, bugs or poseable skeletons. If you have an old Halloween skeleton prop that’s missing a rib or two, it will be all the more perfect for your “neglected cemetery” scene. Set up the pieces in front of one of your stones or scatter bones all around the cemetery.

Hardcore haunters like to add lighting, fogger machines and/or strobe lights with sounds (to mimic thunder and lightning).

Add novelty bugs or birds, old cloth and other scraps to your graveyard and you’ll have a haunt fit for any Haunted House. Happy Halloween!

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About Melanie Henson

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