So, you want to build a graveyard for Halloween? A spooky Gothic cemetery should be part of any yard decor, and a couple tombstones on your front lawn will go a long way. Whether you wish it to be simple or elaborate with all the scary special effects, building a graveyard is definitely the funnest and most creative part of decorating for Halloween!
Create an Entrance
A few weeks before Halloween, look for a location near your door that trick or treaters will easily see. It could be along the pathway leading up to your house, or just off to the side. Off to the side is good, because the shadows will be long and creepy, there. Too close to your door, and your porch light will scare away most of the ghosts. If you have your own fence or trees nearby, that could serve as part of the border.
Let your grass grow long and untidy. Make sure lots of leaves scatter the surface, as well as twigs and branches. This is autumn, after all, so that won’t be too hard!
A couple days before, it’s time to build! The first thing to do is add your fence. You don’t need one, of course, but it’s the little accents that will really bring your cemetery to … ur … life. You can build your own fence out of wood, then spray paint in shades of grey and black to make it look like iron. Before the paint is dry, add splashes of brown and off-white to make it look old and with rust.
Affordable cemetery fences can also be purchased at Halloween shops, and in the last couple years they have begun to look quite realistic, with that old, rusty look. Find panels with elaborate Gothic spikes If you’re building a small graveyard, you may also wish to add a simple metal gate. (The one in the link is nearly 8 feet tall and 4 and a half feet wide, with metal rods, cobwebs and a “Cemetery” sign hung from a chain.)
If you’re building a large graveyard full of spooks and effects, or if you are planning a “party in a graveyard,” go with a more elaborate cemetery entrance. The archway gate prop in the picture on the left, made of durable cardboard, measures 10 feet high by 6 feet wide! It comes detailed on all four sides, with old bricks, some with moss, a “Cemetery” sign with wrought iron detail, and lampposts.
Laying Out Your Tombstones
The main feature of a graveyard is, of course, the gravestones. Your Halloween tombstones can be anything you want, and either in rows or all haphazard. To make it look old, haunted and very, very Gothic, arrange a variety of different style tombstones. If you wish to add funny inscriptions, keep those at front and have small, battery-operated lights shine on them from the ground so your visitors can see. Arrange some headstones with a tilt so it looks like the ground shifted … or that somebody tried clawing their way out!
You can either make tombstones, or buy them at any party store. Click here to see a great variety of options if you wish to purchase them. Whatever you decide, your graveyard is only limited by your imagination! There’s Gothic style, headstones with skulls and glowing eyes, ones with skeletal hands, crosses, and even tombstones you can order and personalize with your own epitaphs!
The Final Details
To complete your graveyard, add a variety of props and accents to turn it haunted and spooky. If you have a skeleton prop, bury it half way, as if it’s about to climb out of the ground! If you have a tree or two nearby, place ravens perching menacingly on branches. Buy some moss and drape it over the tombstones and along the ground. Place cobwebs over the fence posts, and add spiders. There’s much more you can do. Check out other Halloween decor ideas to give yourself some inspiration.
You can go a lot further, of course. There’s spooky lighting and scary sound effects as well, and even floating heads! Fog machines are often used to create a chilling ambiance of rolling fog to the scene!
Every year, Halloween home haunters always try to outdo each other as well as make their own efforts more fantastical than the year before. Check out how to make many of these cool Halloween effects. The result is more scares and thrills, which is what Halloween is all about.
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