First, no spooky graveyard can exist without tombstones. When it comes to graveyard tombstones, the more dilapidated and realistic looking they are the better. The best looking graveyard tombstone decorations are made of foam and are painted to look old and weathered, but you can also use cardboard or plywood tombstones if you like. The layout of your spooky Halloween graveyard should mimic how a real graveyard looks. Imagine that there is really a coffin lying underneath each tombstone and space them accordingly. Most graveyard tombstones are at least one to two feet apart from each other on each side and at least seven or eight feet apart from head to foot, so to speak. Of course, the size yard you’re decorating will determine how many tombstones you can use and how close they can be placed.
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Place your graveyard tombstones into the ground firmly and try tilting some of them to one side or leaning back a bit. This makes them look like they’ve been there for awhile. You might also want to put some dirt in front of some of the tombstones to make them look freshly dug. You might even leave a shovel sticking out of one of them for added effect or a boney hand reaching out from one or two of the graves to make it look like the dead are rising from their graves. The kids love that!
Some other things you can do to make your Halloween graveyard look extra spooky is to add Spanish moss, old branches, and fake vines to create an old, forgotten, grown-over feeling. Hot glue these items onto the tombstones as if they’re climbing over them, but don’t go too crazy or it will look overdone.
Lighting is very important when creating your scary Halloween graveyard. Place spotlights or flashlights just below or to the sides of the tombstones. You can also try hiding lights inside pumpkins or behind trees to disguise where the light is coming from. You want to play with shadows and silhouettes to create that scary graveyard atmosphere.
Scary things that jump up at people as they pass by can add heart pounding fright to your Halloween graveyard. You can buy a variety of monsters, zombies, and ghosts that pop up from behind a tombstone every time trick-or-treaters walk past the motion sensors. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing children scream in terror as they walk through your scary Halloween graveyard to your front door…if they make it that far!
You can also add a fog machine to waft a spooky mist across your Halloween graveyard. The mixture of fog and flickering lights can cause people to see things that aren’t there lurking behind every tree, bush, and tombstone. You can also buy a variety of spooky Halloween music or creepy sounds to complete the scene.
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If you can, place speakers behind bushes or along the sidewalk to create a really frightening atmosphere as your trick-or-treaters walk ever-so-cautiously past each tombstone. Each little detail you add to your Halloween graveyard will only make it that much more believable on Halloween night. So, have fun, be creative, and create the scariest Halloween graveyard the neighborhood has ever seen!