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Our DIY Halloween Graveyard (+ My Favorite Halloween Decoration To Make Your Spooky Yard Come Aliiivve)

Earlier in the week I showed you my front porch wearing its Halloween costume. Today, I have the side yard (where the kids actually walk by or under every day), and is far more visible and “seen” than the front porch. So consider this more “front yard” decor that could be in front of the porch if you are decorating for trick-or-treaters. Our house is situated on the property in a way where you basically drive past the front porch immediately and park over here – so the kitchen is our main entrance and the kids never go in and out of the front. And how we walk into the neighborhood is through the back fence so if we get trick-o-treaters they’d definitely see this first. I was really torn between doing the front porch (classic) or this covered walkway (more unusual, but more used), and I obviously decided to do both 🙂 And while it seems like this would take so much time, it was actually far less than I planned for. After I had everything ordered (weeks in advance) I actually was able to do most of it with Birdie on the Saturday before we shot the following Wednesday (Christmas takes so much more time for whatever reason). I had booked two assistants on Monday/Tuesday to help dial it in, but we didn’t even need Tuesday because we were done. The point is, most of this decorating came together really fast and easy so if you feel up for it, steal some of these ideas. There is still no pressure to go this big (remember we still have to de-decorate before “Christmas” starts, November 3rd…But if you enjoy decorating like I do, then you might be surprised what some command strips and cheesecloths/lights can do to transform your yard. P.S. This is what it looks like near dusk…

The Graveyard – During The Day

I’ll show you it during the day first, so you can really see the details (then at night where it really comes alive – SEE WHAT I DID THERE). Okay, so the fence – I did a lot of pinning on graveyards and my favorites had a perimeter fence (mostly iron and ornate). But ours needed to be at least 50 feet which is a lot of plastic or metal (and pretty expensive). But I felt it was an important element. Since I’m likely committed to doing this year after year I felt ok about investing in this. So I went to Lowes and bought three options to test out and this simple white picket was the unanimous winner. Originally I was going to paint it black, but y’all it looked so good white! They are in 3′ lengths, and go easily into the ground with two points on each end (I used a mallet) and seem easy enough to store (admittedly we don’t have a huge storage issue here).

Picket Fence | Light Up Chains | Small Spider

Then we put glow-in-the-dark spider webs on it (which do NOT work so don’t bother) and these light-up orange chains which are admittedly a little tacky but at night they are SO FUN.

Filler Gravestone Pack | Animated Gravestone | Etsy Gravestone | Splurgey Gravestone | Crows

I collected gravestones from all over the internet – some cheap “fillers” from Target (pack of four), but to make it look really good, I did invest in some larger more odd shapes (like the cross which is sadly now unavailable, or the really thick ones that look totally real). Etsy had a great selection and I splurged on this one from Grandin Road. P.S. That stone fountain was left on the property and is PERFECTION with that crow on it.

Skeleton Parts | Grim Reaper

Of course, we added some graveyard elements – skeleton parts and a grim reaper to really make the message clear.

Snake Skeleton | Rigg R Mortise Gravestone

The covered walkway just felt like somewhere that had to be decorated. It’s such an experience walking under it during the day even without Halloween, so I knew that just adding a few elements would make it incredible at night. We hung spooky cloth (cut with scissors to look creepier) and hung these orange string lights inside. We painted more foraged sticks for the entrance and added a few crows and spiders.

Spooky Cloth | Orange String Lights | Spider | XL Spider

One of my favorite elements is the BEWARE sign that we DIY’d with leftover wood in one of the garages (and paint and screws). 10/10 recommend. It looks so authentic and is such a fun focal point.

The Graveyard Glow At Night

Orange Sconce Light Bulbs

Y’all – it is VIBEY. With all the lights on (orange sconce bulbs, chain links, string lights, and solar orange spotlights) it’s just really fun.

I placed the solar lights to add depth and light up the gravestones and without them you wouldn’t really be able to see what is going on. These change colors so after Halloween we’ll try them in the yard and see if Oregon can handle solar in the winter (mixed reviews … I won’t put them in direct shade but those clouds can be mighty powerful).

Orange Solar Spotlights

FYI, don’t get the creepy cloth with the faux holes in it – they don’t fool anyone. I had already opened them so I used them, but they are too perfect and there are just too many of them.

All in all, we accomplished a real nighttime vibe that is pretty darn fun. Again, I think I’m just having so much fun with this new house – it’s like a first for everything here this year. Sure, we had Christmas here last year but our living wasn’t even close to done, so using this house as a canvas/excuse to style out all my holiday fantasies is making me really really happy and grateful. Are we going to have a party? I don’t think so (our weekends are slammed right now with multiple birthdays and random trips), but I sure am going to invite a few friends over to hang out the next month and make them stare at my graveyard. 🙂

*Styled by Emily Henderson (me!)
**Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Orlando
8 months ago

Emily, this is just so much fun and a reminder of the joy of decorating for kids. When I was growing up in Yosemite there were always young seasonal employees, like people in their twenties working for the park, who would go all out and make the “scariest” haunted houses and walkways for us local kids. We were dazzled by it. And in a way I think we felt cared for by it. Your hard work here reminds me of my mom at Christmas – she would stay up until 2 AM gilding pinecones and making wax paper stars. I think she just really loved making things and I think she just really wanted us to have a Christmas that was different from the more stark ones she’d had as a kid. It does feel kind of ridiculous, I had some of your same feelings decorating Londo Lodge for Christmas last year because I wasn’t going to have a party. But the act of doing it is just such a fun way of expressing your creativity and reimagining your house. You’ve inspired me to go all out this year at the lodge for Christmas. I really want my nieces and… Read more »

Sunny
8 months ago
Reply to  Orlando

Orlando what a sweet uncle you are!

And very true about putting it all up and then the pain of taking it all down. Add to that storing it all!

Emily, I have never decorated the outside of my home for Halloween but you have inspired me to have my grandkids help me make a graveyard in my front yard.

Heather
8 months ago

Emily, this makes me so happy, and I CANNOT wait to see your house at Christmas this year. We added a few tombstones to our yard this year but they will not stay upright. So, they’re all propped up with mini pumpkins. 🎃

Taking some notes for next year. Love the idea of the solar lights. I know your kids must love this – you are making amazing memories for them!

Natalie
8 months ago

Wow, this looks amazing! Just the right level of fright for younger kids and goes so well with the farmhouse. My mom always went all out for Halloween and created so many fun memories for us as kids that we will never forget. Your kids will be the same! They will always love Halloween. 🙂

🥰 Rusty
8 months ago

The graveyard looks fabulous!!
Some parts are super-realistic.
Love, love the cheesecloth spooky walkway!
Clearly too much plastic for me, but at least we know you’ll use it over and over, so that helps…a bit.If you don’t get a bunch of trick or treaters, then…. I dunno!
🌘⚰🎃🧿🔪🕷☠👻💥
BOO!

Sue Sue
8 months ago

Score! Best Halloween decor EVER!!!

Lisa Katz
8 months ago

Emily,

Halloween is my favorite holiday. While your spooky décor looks great, most people don’t realize that exterior decor such as fluttering holey cheesecloth and fake spiderwebbing can be extremely dangerous to birds and other smaller wildlife that fly or walk into them, and become stuck.

There have been many reports of birds trapped in their fibers, leading to broken limbs and even death. Some birds have even been spotted using the artificial material to make their nests—and though a nest decked out in Halloween décor sounds cute, it can potentially trap or harm their chicks. Bees, chipmunks, and other small animals can also become stuck and injured in the webbing.

I hope you and your many devoted followers will consider this when decorating.
Many thanks!
Lisa

Mariele
8 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Katz

Thanks for the heads up! I definitely won’t be putting that up now.

Patricia
8 months ago

Okay, I was just going ‘fall’ with a wine cork wreath with faux leaves and large orange grosgrain ribbon bow and a small arrangement of leaves and twigs. Now I’m pulling out my big creepy spider, fake webs and white mice and hitting the spooky button.
I can always dial back on November 1.

Stacia
8 months ago

I am so happy that I saw this post today because it totally inspired me to do some fun outdoor decorating this week (starting tomorrow!)! I love all of it but will have to do a mini-version for myself due to time/travel constraints. I especially love the orange lighting ideas, the creepy black-painted branches, and I’ll probably craft a few ghosts and maybe a cute sign like yours (will also try to keep the plastic purchasing and usage to a minimum Rusty!) This was a great DIY decorating post – I can’t wait to see your upcoming holiday (Christmas) posts! Thank you for all of your creativity!

jamie
8 months ago

What a fun scene! My husband is the decor dude at our place so I will share this with him. Great job and what fun for your kids. They are lucky.

Arthella Starke
8 months ago

Totally awesome and so frightening. You did a fantastic job of making the house truly a Halloween wonder.

Lesley
8 months ago

This is a lot of fun and reminds me of the years when my brother and his friends would go all out creating a “haunted yard” for Halloween night. We lived in one of those neighborhoods that people would drive their kids to for trick or treating. It was insane, but fun memories!
Not to be a Debbie Downer, and I’m sure you probably need to do it for brand partnerships, but do we really need to start Christmas decorating on November 3rd?!?
My mom and grandmother always went all out for Christmas but it never started until after Thanksgiving. It just feels like it gets earlier and earlier every year. 🙁

T.
8 months ago
Reply to  Lesley

If she wants all the posts ready by Thanksgiving, she needs to start a couple weeks earlier. The rest of us can wait until after Thanksgiving…

Zoe P
8 months ago

Love this so much! It looks incredible!