How to Create a Spooky Halloween Graveyard

Looking for a fun and spooky way to decorate your yard for Halloween? Learn some spooky Halloween graveyard ideas that the whole neighborhood will love.

Every year, I create a Halloween graveyard in my front yard which the kids absolutely love! Between the lighting and the fog, it’s a spooky and fun way to celebrate the holiday.

How to create a spooky Halloween graveyard

Spooky Halloween Graveyard

Halloween cemeteries are a fun and spooky way of decorating your yard for trick-or-treaters (and party guests if you’re having a Halloween party).

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 graveyard does take a little work but I think it is worth it…and so do all the kids in my area 🙂

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

Keep reading to find out my spooky Halloween graveyard ideas.

Install Halloween Gravestones

Halloween graveyard RIP tombstone with blue light

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

RIP Halloween gravestones in different shapes

Try to buy (or make) tombstones* of different sizes and shapes.

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 with 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 part of your yard always makes it a little more interesting because people aren’t expecting it to be there.

Add Spooky Lighting

RIP Halloween gravestone highlighted with blue spotlight

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

I find that cool colored lights like blue and green work well in spotlights to highlight some of your 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 string lighting 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 have a lot more ideas on things you can do with it.

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

Create Some Fog

White lights on an arbor reflect off of Halloween graveyard fog

One of the best ways to set the graveyard atmosphere is to add fog…a graveyard doesn’t seem 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

There is a trick to making thick fog that actually stays on the ground like this picture.

Find out how to make great Halloween cemetery fog HERE.

Add A Halloween Cemetery Archway Entrance

Lighted Halloween archway entrance

The next one of my Halloween graveyard ideas is to make sure there’s a defined entrance. I like to great a path down the middle of the yard so the kids can walk through the graveyard. I think it’s a little more spooky that way.

Creating an archway entrance into your cemetery will let everyone know that your graveyard is the place to be!

This arbor in my front yard is a permanent structure that I just light for Halloween.

Halloween cemetery archway entrance

But you can purchase one that is specific to Halloween, like this cemetery archway*.

DIY Halloween cemetery archway entrance, via instructables.com

Or make your own if you want a DIY project…instructions available at instructables.com.

Create A Halloween Graveyard Fence

Installing a fence around the outside of your cemetery area will help to define it.

This can be a fence created specifically for Halloween* like the one above.

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.

Which is why I like to use inexpensive plastic garden edging* instead. You get a lot more for your money and it’s usually easier to install.

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

You could also make your own graveyard fence if you prefer a DIY option. This is on my to-do list for this year, so I will post an update when it’s finished!

Halloween graveyard fence with lights

If you have a walk way through your cemetery, the fence should also let people know where they can walk.

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

Scatter Skeletons and Bones

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 details!

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* in my Halloween graveyard, too.

Scatter some of the bones randomly around the cemetery…usually 5 or 6 bones in each “bone location” creates a noticeable scene.

Skeleton hand coming out of Halloween grave

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

Hang A “Welcome” Sign

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

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 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. A long piece of white creepy cloth* draped over a styrofoam ball* with eyes and a round mouth drawn on in black marker will do the trick.

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

Drape faux chains* over the fence, or some of the larger tombstones.

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* on fences, beside graves, hanging from trees and bushes to add to the atmosphere.

Skeleton flamingos in a Halloween graveyard

Just make sure that they are big enough for people to be able to see in the dark, like these skeleton flamingos*.

Halloween pumpkin in front of gravestone

The odd pumpkin here and there doesn’t hurt either.

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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