DIY Halloween Graveyard Ideas: How to Make a Halloween Cemetery

Every year, I make a DIY Halloween graveyard in my front yard which the kids absolutely love! Between the lighting, the fog, and these graveyard decorations, creating a yard haunt is a fun (and slightly scary) way to celebrate the holiday.

How to create a spooky Halloween graveyard

Spooky DIY Halloween Graveyard

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Can I just say…Halloween is my favorite holiday. And I think this is why. I LOVE creating my own Halloween graveyard.

I have one in my front yard every year at Halloween, and everyone in my neighborhood knows it. They start driving by around the end of September to see what this year’s version will look like. And I don’t like to disappoint!!

Putting together a Halloween cemetery does take a little work but I think it is worth it…and so do all the kids in my area ūüôā

Having done this for a number of years now, I have some decorations that work really well for creating an awesome yard haunt, so I thought I would share what I do.

Keep reading to find out my spooky Halloween graveyard ideas.

Install Halloween Tombstones

Halloween graveyard RIP tombstone with blue light

This is the obvious part of a Halloween yard haunt…gravestones are required!

RIP Halloween gravestones in different shapes

For the best effect, try to buy (or make) tombstones* of different sizes and shapes.

I have to admit that I buy mine. They are so inexpensive and I’m usually crunched for time, so I have never tried to make them.

However if you want to create your own DIY tombstones, check out this article and video for the tutorial.

Halloween gravestones falling over or crooked to make them look old

Then place them randomly around the yard, some at odd angles, to make it look like your cemetery is very old and neglected.

This is one time when not having cut your lawn for a couple of weeks may be a benefit…the longer grass adds to the neglected feeling.

Halloween graveyard with orange string lights, skulls and a Halloween gravestone

Putting your Halloween gravestones in the garden helps to make them feel like they have always been there.

Halloween graveyard with gravestones
Halloween graveyard in the garden during the day

Even during the day, they look like they are a part of the landscape.

Having some of your Halloween decor look like it is meant to be a part of your yard always makes it a little more interesting because people aren’t expecting it to be there.

And if you have trouble keeping your gravestones standing, try our hack for securing Halloween tombstones.

Add Spooky Lighting

RIP Halloween gravestone highlighted with blue spotlight

Lighting is very important to add that spooky vibe, and make your Halloween graveyard visible at night.

I find that cool colored spotlights like blue and green work well to highlight tombstones and skeletons.

The newer variety of LED spotlights* let you change the color of the light to match your decor. So you don’t have to keep buying different colored bulbs.

Halloween graveyard with orange lights and skulls

Hang orange string lights in trees and along fences and walkways so that everyone knows where they are supposed to walk.

Since I’m such a fanatic about lighting, I could go on and on about lighting.

If you’re interested in reading more, you can find out¬†how to set up Halloween outdoor lighting HERE.

Create Some Fog

Halloween graveyard fog

The next one of my Halloween yard ideas is to add fog.

It’s one of the best ways to create a graveyard atmosphere…it just isn’t as spooky without it!

And with the inexpensive fog machines* that are available these days, it is really easy to do.

Fog looks spooky swirling around grave stones

However, there is a trick to making thick fog that actually stays on the ground…find out how to make great Halloween cemetery fog HERE.

Add A Halloween Cemetery Archway Entrance

The next one of my Halloween graveyard ideas is to make sure there’s a defined entrance. And an archway definitely does that!

To create a Halloween cemetery archway entrance, you can take advantage of what you already have, buy something specifically for Halloween or make your own.

Option 1 | Light An Arbor

Lighted Halloween archway entrance

If you happen to have an arbor in your front yard (like I do), then you have a ready-made archway entrance for your graveyard.

Just add some lighting and you’re all set. You can find out more about my Halloween outdoor lighting effects HERE.

Of course, if you don’t have an arbor in your front yard, you could buy an inexpensive one like this* (usually meant for weddings) and add some graveyard decorations to it.

Option 2 | Buy a Halloween Cemetery Archway Entrance

Halloween cemetery archway entrance

You can purchase archways that are meant for Halloween cemeteries, like this one*.

Or if you have a big budget, this iron Halloween cemetery archway with a gate* is awesome!

Option 3 | Make a DIY Halloween Cemetery Arch

DIY Halloween cemetery archway entrance, via instructables.com

Finally, if you have the time, you can make your own DIY Halloween cemetery entrance with these instructions available at instructables.com.

Make DIY Halloween Pillars

If you don’t want to go all out creating an archway for your Halloween cemetery entrance, DIY Halloween pillars are another option that are a little easier to construct.

I made mine with a wood frame wrapped in a plastic scene setter with a brick pattern*. Get my step-by-step Halloween cemetery columns tutorial HERE.

But if you prefer a more 3-D look to the bricks, try out this tutorial for making DIY Halloween cemetery columns using styrofoam.

Create A Halloween Graveyard Fence

Hlloween graveyard fence

I think installing a Halloween fence around your graveyard is a must.

It prevents people from walking through your cemetery, and potentially tripping on the wires that you most likely have scattered around to connect the lighting.

When it comes to putting up a Halloween fence, there are a few options to choose from.

Option 1 | Make a DIY Cemetery Fence

DIY Halloween fence and pillars

The most economical option for Halloween fences is to make your own.

It takes a little bit of time, but that way you can fit them exactly to your space. And they’re much less expensive than the pre-made Halloween fences.

You can find my Halloween picket fence tutorial HERE.

Option 2 | Buy a Made-For-Halloween Fence

Halloween graveyard fence during the day

If you don’t want to spend the time to make a Halloween fence, this option may be the one for you: Buy one that is specifically made for Halloween, like this one*.

For small spaces (or if you just want to use it as a prop like I did above), this is a great option.

But these store-bought fences can get really expensive if you actually want to use it for more than just a prop.

And most of them don’t stand up very well on their own.

Option 3 | Use Garden Edging

My third Halloween fence option is a little unconventional…plastic garden edging*.

You get a lot more for your money and it’s easier to install than a traditional store-bought Halloween fence.

Plus it’s not as much work as making a DIY Halloween fence from scratch.

Halloween graveyard fence with lights

Since garden edging isn’t very tall, I always string lights through it so that people can see where it is.

Highlighting it with floodlights helps to make it more visible, too.

Create Skeleton Halloween Scenes

Skeleton and dog skeleton in Halloween graveyard
Prop up a skeleton in your graveyard

Once you have the Halloween cemetery foundation in place, it’s time to start adding the creepy Halloween decorations!

Prop a skeleton* up against one of the tombstones to make it look like he escaped his grave.

Since I wouldn’t go anywhere without my pets, I use skeleton dogs* as decorations in my Halloween graveyard, too.

Scatter Skeleton Bones

Skeleton bones scattered in front of tombstones in a Halloween cemetery

Skeleton bones also make great Halloween decorations for outside.

Scatter some of them randomly around your Halloween cemetery. 5 or 6 bones in each “bone location” creates a noticeable scene.

I keep them close to the tombstones which makes it looks like they’ve risen from the grave.

Skeleton hand coming out of Halloween grave

I also like to position skeleton hands to make it look like someone is trying to escape from their grave. Sometimes it’s the little details that count ūüôā

Hang A¬†“Welcome” Sign

Halloween banner hung above the door

A sign lets people know they are entering your cemetery and gives you lots of opportunity for adding graveyard decor. Hanging it in front of a light fixture makes sure that everyone can see it!

You can also have a custom banner* made.¬† Then you can use whatever wording you want…and they come with pre-made holes so they are easy to hang.

These banners are not very expensive and add a custom touch.

Halloween sign in a cemetery

Signs are also a great way to add some interest to your cemetery. I place this one on the edge of my yard so that the “Graveyard” arrow is pointing in the right direction.

Use At Least One Ghost

Halloween graveyard ghost

Every Halloween graveyard needs at least one ghost!

Since ghosts are white, the lights reflect off of them and really make them stand out.

Fortunately, they are pretty easy to make.

How to Make DIY Halloween Yard Ghosts

Here’s what you need:

Draw eyes and a round mouth on the styrofoam with a black marker.

Drape the creepy cloth over the styrofoam.

Screw the hook into the top of the styrofoam. (If it doesn’t stay very well, add some glue to the hole.)

Then hang him where you want him!

Halloween gutter ghost
Hanging ghost (buy it here)*

Of course if you don’t want to DIY a ghost, they are usually very inexpensive to¬†buy*.

Spider Web and Creepy Cloth

The next one of my Halloween graveyard ideas helps to make your cemetery look neglected.

Creepy cloth* is great for draping over fences, or arbors and hanging from trees.  If people have to walk through it, it almost feels like walking through spider webs.

It also adds some mystery by blocking part of the view.

With lights at night, white creepy cloth* looks like it is glowing and definitely adds some spookiness to your Halloween cemetery.

You can also use stretchy spider webs* across tombstones and bushes…just make sure to stretch it out enough that it actually looks like¬†a spider web.

To find more ideas on using fake spider webs in your Halloween decor, click HERE.

Drape Some Chains

Halloween graveyard with skeleton and chains

Chains are another easy, inexpensive way to add to your creepy outdoor Halloween decorations.

Drape them¬†over the fence, or some of the larger tombstones. If you’re worried about the weight, you can also use¬†fake plastic chains* that are made to be used as Halloween decorations.

Halloween graveyard with chains and bones

In this case, the chain falls over the fence and the cemetery sign and makes it look like the place is falling down.

Add Rats, Bats, Mice, Crows, Spiders and Other Spooky Critters

Crows in branches in a Halloween graveyard

Use critters like bats*, rats*, spiders* and crows*  to add to the atmosphere.

Fake crow sitting on top of a Halloween cemetery tombstone

Perching your animal props where you might normally find them almost makes them look real. Which I think makes it a little spookier.

Like sitting a fake crow on top of a tombstone. Wrap picture wire around its feet and stick it into the styrofoam to make the bird stay in place.

Fake crows sitting on a Halloween cemetery fence

Or grouping different sized birds on a Halloween cemetery fence.

Fake rat sitting on a dungeon prop in a Halloween graveyard

Or setting a plastic rat in the middle of your Halloween graveyard somewhere that people will notice him.

Skeleton flamingos in a Halloween graveyard

Just make sure the props are positioned that people can find them, and are big enough for people to be able to see in the dark, like these skeleton flamingos*.

Put Out Pumpkins

Halloween pumpkin in front of gravestone

Pumpkins are another Halloween staple that I like to include in my Halloween cemetery.

Whether you use real ones or plastic ones, leaning them up against a tombstone is an easy way to include them.

Halloween tombstone with 2 pumpkins and a skull in front of it

Putting them out in groups of two or three, mixed in with a skull or two makes them look like they belong.

Music

Halloween Music Collection*

Playing Halloween cemetery sounds on a looping tape or CD will automatically make your graveyard seem scary.

For my graveyard, I like the Raven’s Hollow track from Midnight Syndicate’s Halloween Music Collection*.¬† It sounds like you are outdoors in the middle of a forest somewhere.¬† There are other options on the CD that are good, mostly organ or scary-music type soundtracks.

Halloween Haunted House (Continuous Mixed Terror Version)*

The haunted house sound effects are also pretty good in the Halloween Haunted House album* if you want more traditional haunted house type sounds (witches cackling, doors creaking, etc.)

Well, that’s how I put my annual Halloween graveyard together. ¬†Of course you are always free to add as many props and animated ghosts, skeletons, or ghouls as you can afford and have space for.¬† It’s hard to go too over the top with a Halloween cemetery!


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4 Responses

  • I live in a very windy area. To keep my tombstones up I bought cheap wire garden border fencing and separated the sections and placed a section behind each tombstone. Then went to the fabric store and bought grey netting by the yard. Tied the tombstone to the fence section with a wide piece of netting. String or a narrow piece of netting will cut into the tombstone & the grey color is invisible against the tombstone . Works perfectly, give it a try!

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