How to Create a Very Spooky DIY Graveyard with Very Little Money

Here’s a little front yard display that anyone can pull off. Even if you are not crafty.


If you are, great! I hope this gets your creative juices flowing. If you aren't, that’s great, too. I’ll give ya the specifics and you can replicate it without having to think too much. 

No hard to find items. No precise measuring or cutting. No time consuming building. All you need is a little motivation and an afternoon.

I guess you could say this scene is about 6 years in the making because we have collected the items over that time. Except the pallette wood. That has only been hanging around our side yard for 6 months.

Let’s talk about the ‘How To’ first then we’ll get to the 'How Much.'

How To:

I tried to get my husband, Travis, to take pictures of the palette work as it was happening, but he scoffed. He doesn’t think people care about that. So I’ll do my best to explain.

To build the fence: He found two palettes that actually already looked a little like fences and grabbed most of the pieces from another standard palette he had previously disassembled.

To make it look like the fence had been thrown together and broken down over time he:

-varied the height of the slats and broke a couple off from the bottom as well

-removed one slat and re-attached it at an angle to make it seem as though it was coming undone

-beat the wood up with a hammer

-and broke off the tops (or in some cases, the bottoms) at different angles.

For the smaller fence pieces that weren't already assembled he just nailed them together by using the pre-made fence style palettes as a guide.

The length of the longer (side and back) pieces ended up being between 5 and 5.5 ft long. The length of the small (front) pieces ended up about 2ft long.


To make it look spooky: He lightly and unevenly sprayed painted black over most of the fencing. On the couple of sharp pieces he held red spray paint close to the wood and sprayed in the same place until it started to drip on its own. Looks just like blood, eh?


To assemble the fence: He nailed the corners together using finishing nails, then I stood in the street looking at it from different angles and helped him place it so that it was sort of an uneven square shape. We made sure none of the corners were perfect 90°angles and made one side stick out a bit wider than the other. To secure it he  just drove some wooden stakes (from palette scraps) into the ground next to the fence and nailed them to the fence, then sprayed any exposed stakes with spray paint to blend in with the rest of the fence.

To Place the Lights: First, make sure you have an outdoor extension cord, not an arsenal of indoor extension cords of every length known to humans. Don’t be like us. Plan ahead.  Start at the ground on one end and wind around the slats varying the angles, wrapping around more or less times here and there, even adding in a swoop and a gap once or twice. Avoid symmetry. It needs to look haphazard.


To Place the Gravestones: Place an uneven number of gravestones at different angles inside the fence. (Ours are the foam ones that come with little stakes that go into the ground and into the bottom of the gravestone.) Try not to have any line up with the fences if you can. Move the rocks away in front of each to make it look like it has been recently dug up.


The Partial Skeleton: Terrify the neighbors by making it look like a skeleton has come to life and is crawling out of a grave (one of the clearings you made in the rocks). If you can, open the mouth so it looks as if the skeleton is screaming. Place the hands up like they are reaching for the sky. Very Scary.


The Spider: Make it look like the graveyard is not for the living by placing a posable spider on the gravestone. I like to have the two middle legs on each side up a little higher than the others and then pull one out to the side slightly. It makes it look more lifelike…like it’s actually in motion and it’s legs are reaching for the next place to step. So gross. In a fun way.


How Much It Costs:

This was basically a free project for us because we had all the materials except the spray paint. Oh wait, and the extension cord. That makes twice now I have forgotten about that thing.

 But I get so annoyed when bloggers say “How to make it for free!” when they have collected pieces over time- because ya still had to purchase the items at some point. Unless you have a Spooky Fairy Godmother lookin’ out for you. And I do not. So, here is what I spent at the time of purchase for each item:

  • Fencing: made from free pallet wood my husband rescued from his employer’s trash. $0
  • Black and red spray paint: found at Lowe’s. $0.99 each
  • Lights: just two strands of 100ct Halloween Mini Lights from Target. $3.50 each
  • Gravestones: so old I can’t remember for sure, but I think I got them as a set at Walgreens. $10
  • Spider: from my home away from home, Jo-Ann Craft Store. $3
  • Skeleton Head and Hands Set (that my children lovingly named Joe Hermann): I actually can’t remember the exact price but I know I got on sale or clearance at Jo-Ann as well. Let’s go with about $13
  • Outdoor Extension Cord: bought at Lowe's after I the whole dang thing was already complete. $16.97



A pretty good scene for just over 50 bones! Pun intended. I couldn’t resist. (And I’m not sorry about it.)


So if you make a spooky graveyard of your own, it would be awesome of you to post a picture to the Flickr group so we can admire it. Also, if you found the details about how to make the palette wood into a fence helpful, post a comment below so my husband will believe me.


Happy haunting, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!

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