Halloween Yard Decoration Tips: Graveyards, Yard Props, and More
I've also got a ton more resources for celebrating Halloween, including a whole section on planning a Halloween party and 65 awesome Halloween party recipes. And if you're looking for more tips and resources for Halloween yard decorations or party decorations, check out my page on buying or making body parts for a Halloween party.
A Halloween graveyard is one of my favorite Halloween yard decoration ideas. There are lots of ways to do this, from an elegant and subtle Southern cemetery to a twisted and Hellish zombie playground. Have fun with it!
Making a Halloween Graveyard
Why use styrofoam. I like styrofoam for tombstones and other Halloween yard decorations because it makes great 3D shapes, is ultra easy to work with, doesn't weigh a thing, and it's already got a pebbly texture that makes it the perfect medium for making Halloween tombstones. For the best result, look for sheets of styrofoam more than two inches thick. Styrofoam insulation works well, too.
The only thing to keep in mind when building Halloween tombstones from styrofoam is that this material can be a little fragile. So be careful when working with it not to break pieces off. While you can paint over it (and it actually doesn't give a bad effect to the overall look), it can be annoying to have to paint over broken white spots.
Cutting Tombstone Shapes
If making your Halloween graveyard from plywood, you'll need a jigsaw. For styrofoam, you can just use a big utility knife-- another reason I like working with this material. Be sure to draw your shape onto your material before starting to cut. To get subtler shapes with a stryofoam tombstone, simply use a coarse grade of sandpaper and sand away.
Decorating Halloween Tombstones
Now comes the fun part: time to add the epitaph. If you look online, you'll find tons of ideas for creepy or funny Halloween epitaphs. I like the ones at corsinet, or you could just Google it. Either paint your epitaph on free-hand, or use stencils to get professional-looking letting. Also add any other designs you want: creepy faces, skulls, curly-q's, whatever. The only limit is your creativity (and maybe your artistic ability).
Examples of Funny Halloween Tombstone Epitaphs
- I. B. Ded
- Frank N. Stein
- Will U. Joinme
- I. L. Beback
- Otta B. Alive
- Fester N. Rott
- Ima Rotten
Tombstone Decoration Tip: When working with styrofoam, it's best to press any shapes (lettering, designs, etc.) into the styrofoam itself before painting it. This will give all lettering and designs a very real 3D look-- which is exactly what you want. A blunt-ended object works best for this.
Setting Up your Halloween Graveyard
Installing your Tombstones
Decorating Your Graveyard
- Buy or make bones, skulls, or zombies to use around gravestones.
- Collect dead leaves in the weeks before Halloween and sprinkle them naturally around the graves.
- Add creepy dead (or black silk) flowers to some of the graves.
- Let the grass grow long around your gravestones in the weeks before Halloween.
- Place Jack o' Lanterns near gravestones and other Halloween yard decorations.
- Buy a Halloween yard sign.
- Add props, such as creepy lanterns or scary owls, cats, snakes, spiders, and ravens.
- Put up a Halloween graveyard fence to mark the path (also keeps your cemetery from being trampled).
- Mound earth in front of your graves to make them look freshly-dug. And maybe a shovel?
Haunting Your Yard
with Halloween Yard Props
More interested in buying props? Look a little further down the page for ideas on which ones to choose.
Also check out this page on making Halloween body parts decorations. In addition to simple severed arms and legs, you'll also learn how to make a full-body rotting skeleton for a Halloween yard prop.
Homemade Tree Ghosts
To make a ghost, all you need is a small white garbage bag and a ball of some kind. What do you do? Simple place the ball in the top of the trash bag, secure the bag underneath the ball with a twist tie or rubber band, and draw a face on with a black permanent marker. Then hang them everywhere. This is a great Halloween craft for kids!
Tip: You can also use newspaper or styrofoam globes to stuff the head of your ghosts. Newspaper makes this an ultra cheap (and green!) Halloween project.
Build Your Own Halloween Mummy
1. To make your mummy, make the shape of a "T" with two boards that are about two inches thick each. The taller board should be the height you'd like your mummy to be at the shoulder, and the shorter board should be the width of his shoulders. Place this frame in the ground or on a stand.
2. Attach your old clothes (pants and a shirt) to the frame. You may need to staple the pants in place. Stuff with newspapers to give it shape, and tape the shirts and pants together securely (don't worry-- the duct tape won't show, so feel free to use it wherever you need to).
3. For a head for your mummy Halloween yard decoration, either use a styrofoam head on a spike, a plastic skull, whatever you like. It'll be covered with bandages (unless you want to leave a scary face showing, as pictured), so only the shape is important. Be sure to attach it securely with more tape.
4. Cover your Halloween yard mummy all over with white bandages (or long, torn lengths of white fabric).
5. Decorate as desired. You can use spray
paint to make it look ancient, or add fake blood, or give it a weapon... whatever you like! If you can find plastic scarab beetles, they make a very
cool addition when glued on and around your mummy.
Specialty Halloween Yard PropsMost large Halloween yard props are a little on the pricey side, and are generally good only if you've got plenty of storage space. They don't break down into very small parts, and so are hard to store for many people. However, if you're really dedicated to Halloween and have a bit extra to spend on your Halloween yard decorations, you might want to invest in a few large Halloween prop decorations.
Pricing for large Halloween yard props varies hugely. Some are almost full-sized and as cheap as $15 while others are more sturdy, detailed, and expensive. Still others will be animated, intricate, and value in the thousands of dollars (really!). You won't find any of that last variety here, as these sorts of props are generally used professionally in haunted houses and the like. You'd have to be really dedicated to Halloween to buy one for your own home!
You a Demented Decorator, Too?
Show off Your Freaky Halloween Decorations!
Have an awesome ability to create a spooky Halloween scene? Here's the place to show off your Halloween decorations --body parts, graveyards, homemade zombies, bloody living rooms-- and let other visitors vote on their creepiness factor.
Or browse around to see what other people have done to freak out their guests on Halloween and get a few demented ideas of your own...
Other Visitors' Demented Decorations
Click below to see the creepy contributions from other visitors to this page...
Homemade Halloween Gravestone Decoration
Made my own Halloween decorations! This was actually a part of a stereo system that someone had tossed out. I decided to turn it into a tall headstone, …
My Mad Scientist Halloween Theme and Decorations
I did a mad scientist theme a few years back for a Halloween party. Everyone dressed as a scientist or a subject/victim. It was awesome. Some people …
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Halloween DecoratingGetting ready to do some Halloween yard decoration and want more tips? Check out:
for more great ideas for planning a Halloween party.
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