Tombstone Ideas for Your Halloween Graveyard
Become the Creepy House in the Neighborhood This Halloween
Every year, with a little Halloween magic, I transform a patch of my front yard into a ghostly cemetery, complete with fake tombstones and clever epitaphs. Skeletons erupt out of the soil like they are struggling to break free from their tombs. Body parts of zombies warn neighbors that in shallow graves below, the undead have been recently buried. Ba-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Yep, we're that house. Neighbors stop to gawk at our yard decorations. They chuckle and take photos, call friends over for a look.
While others eek by with a few strings of lights and inflatable yard ornaments, I prefer to go all "Martha Stewart" for Halloween. Some years, I really go full tilt.
Below I offer some imaginative help with your Halloween cemetery. Start by making your own Halloween gravestones, then adding your choice of accent decorations. With a little creativity, you, too, can become the creepy house in the neighborhood!
Easy to Make Halloween HeadstonesClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Make Halloween Tombstones for Your Halloween Cemetery
Your Halloween tombstones can be made out of foam core, cardboard, styrofoam, or wood. Because I decorate every year, I want my Halloween decorations to be sturdy enough to reuse. Thus, I make them out of wood using the simple process below.
- thin sheets of plywood
- Black sharpie
- power saw (or have someone else cut the wood for you)
- gray or aluminum-colored, untextured, weatherproof spray paint
- yard stakes or tomato stakes
Black Sharpie Wide Tip Paint Marker
- waterproof Gorilla glue
- clear weatherproof spray paint (polyurethane)
- newspaper for protecting work surface
1) With a regular black Sharpie, use a free-hand method to draw simple headstone shapes thin sheets of plywood. Really, how hard is it to draw rounded corners or a rounded top? You can do this! Alternatively, templates are available on the internet for more complex designs if you want to get fancy. Don't worry about stray marks; they will be painted over.
2) Cut the plywood tombstones shapes using an electric saw (or have someone else help you).
3) Using untextured weatherproof spray paint, paint the entire tombstone gray front and back, letting it dry thoroughly between coats. Make sure to use it outside or in a well-ventilated area, and protect your surfaces with newspaper. (Although I like the ease of spray paint, you can instead use exterior house paint and a brush, if desired.)
4) For each headstone, paint several wooden stakes using the same weatherproof gray spray paint. I used two to three wooden stakes per headstone, depending on the size of the headstone.
5) Using waterproof Gorilla glue for wood, attach the dry, painted wooden stakes to the back of the headstone. This will allow the headstone to stand up by itself in the soil. Always let the project dry completely before proceeding to the next step.
6) Using a Black Sharpie Wide Tip Paint Marker, write the deceased's name and his or her epitaph. (Lots of ideas are provided in the tables below.) Remember that this is a spooky, broken-down old graveyard, so your work should not be perfect! Paint "cracks" in the gravestones, too, if you'd like. I strongly prefer the Black Sharpie Paint Marker to black paint and a paintbrush because it's oil-based paint that offers the superior control of a magic marker.
7) Apply a clear coat of weatherproof spray paint to further protect the gravestone from the elements. Paint both front and back of the headstone.
Selecting R.I.P. Names and Epitaphs for Your Halloween Headstones
The most enjoyable part of making a Halloween graveyard is selecting the right R.I.P. names and epitaphs for the "deceased." That's what people stop and read! Instead of relying on tired combinations you've seen before, dare to be different by using your own pairings of names and tombstone inscriptions.
Below I've gathered a huge assortment of the best R.I.P. names from across the internet and also invented some of my own. Additionally, I've created a large batch of new epitaph sayings—a few of them based on existing epitaphs but most are original. Select the spookiest or most humorous combinations or use them as inspiration to write your own!
66 R.I.P. Names for Your Halloween Gravestones
Barry M. Deep
Al B. Bach
Hugh B Next
Ima K. Daver
Dr. Izzy Gone
Barry D. Hatchet
Doug M. Deep
Chris B. Bacon
Yule B. Sorree
Cia N. Hell
Cary M. Off
Frank N. Stein
Ben M. Balmed
Otto B. Alive
Imus B. Gowen
Will B. Back
Ima D. Cayin
32 New Tombstone Sayings for Halloween
“Watch this, ya’ll!” / Was his last quote / Bubba did a backflip / And that’s all he wrote
Beneath this stone / Lies Sailor Jim / Discovered too late / That he couldn’t swim
Here rest the bones / Of Old Man Green / He thought he could skip / That flu vaccine
Tho' I rest below, all stale and stiff / I think it's actually YOU I sniff
Here’s all that’s left / Of poor, careless Midge / While texting she drove / Right off of a bridge
In the pine box below / Lies Cousin Pruitt / He swore ‘til the end / That he didn’t do it
I told you I was sick / I told you I was hurt / And now I’m six feet under / Napping in this dirt
This cold grave marks / An adulterous man / Plucked from the tires / Of his wife’s minivan
Made one little blunder / And it put him down under
I’m watching you / As you pass by / Where once you stood so, too, did I
He started the fight / And took a lickin’ / This bully’s gone / And no longer kickin’
He donned a cape / We wondered why / Then jumped from a building / Thinkin' he could fly
Here rots the flesh / Of a greedy gold digger / She swindled him good / So he pulled the trigger
She heeded no warnings and had no fear / Didn’t wear a seatbelt and wound up here
Room for rent / Terrible view / But I’m saving a space just for YOU
She paid her debts and all that was due / Still ended up here, and so shall you
The surgeon slipped, holding his knife / That's the moment when I lost my life
She made but one tiny mistake / Stepped on the gas instead of the brake
He shot for sport / He shot for fun / But met his Maker / While cleaning his gun
My body below / Rests cold and still / And some day, too, yours surely will
He slipped on the floor / Never again stood / Now lies toes-up / In this box made of wood
In the coffin below rests sweet little Mandy / Her blood turned to sugar / From eating so much candy
I caught a cough that I didn’t treat / Now here I rest, obsolete.
He didn’t believe the ice was thin / Ignored all warnings and fell right in
He lied and cheated, but we forgave / Now he rots beneath / In this cold, dark grave
Her corpse lies buried / Six feet down below / All dressed up / But no place to go
Here lies a jaywalker who pushed his luck / Got mowed down by an oncoming truck
She drank, she fought, she cussed / The woman had no shame! / Here lies our dear mama / Remember the old gal's name
In this tomb little Johnny lies / Ran with scissors and lost both eyes
A shot to the heart and he wouldn't stop bleeding / We buried him here while he was still breathing
In the coffin below, I rest my head / I talk to ghosts and keep worms fed
She lost her head, her self-control / Was buried here, an empty soul
Assembling Your Halloween Graveyard
After your Halloween tombstones have completely dried, insert them in a grouping along with your choice of seasonal accents. This year, I hadn't even gotten all my headstones in the ground yet before I had passersby stop in their cars to hang their heads out of their windows.
After planting my headstones, I added:
- colorful mums
- a poseable skeleton and additional bones
- blood-splattered "turn back now" sign
- lantern with spooky noise effects and
- solar-powered spotlights
Each year, I try to make my display a little different. Other ideas can be found in the table below.
Complete the Look by Adding Some of These Accents to Your Halloween Graveyard
weathered-looking "Keep Out," "Warning: Do Not Enter" or "No Trespassing" sign
pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns
plastic skeletons / zombie or skeleton lawn stakes
broken Barbies or other dolls, suspended by fishing line from tree branches
bale of hay
planted Fall mums and ornamental cabbage
black plastic flowers or cheap plastic daisies (as in "pushing up daisies")
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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