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Halloween Haunts | Taking the Leap and Learning As I Go

Since this is our first official year to live in a community where we will have trick-or-treaters, I have decided to begin creating Halloween decorations that we can use for years to come while adding some store bought items into the mix. Because we live in a neighborhood where there are still houses in construction, there is plenty of great scrap wood just sitting in piles calling my name. This weekend I found several great scraps of 2x10 and 2x12 to use for a gravesite. I would still like to add another four or so (maybe next year). I wanted to use wood instead of styrofoam for its durability.

I took inspiration from Pinterest and searching ideas across the internet and made my first found tombstones: the Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, Dracula and a random person (Peyton pointed out that although she loved it, I failed because the obvious choice was Davy Jones and then asked if Daniel was his father...lol...FAIL!). In addition, I found a great piece of drift wood to create a cool Zombie Crossing sign.

This is a very easy project but I made several attempts on my first tombstone before I came out with a clear picture of how to make it last. Most of the other tombstones I have seen were all painted on which is great but I decided on using my trusted Dremel to really create a realistic effect on them. I kind of like the gnarlier pieces of wood like on the Corpse Bride but really any scrap piece will work great.


  • scrap wood (I used 2x10 and 2x12)
  • Dremel or other drill you can use to etch into the wood
  • stain and/or paint
  • images and cool fonts
  • carbon paper

I started by finding cool fonts and typing out what I wanted to put on each tombstone using MS Word. I also found silhouette images that I could easily trace and outline on wood. After I printed the text and images off, I used the carbon paper to transfer the design to the piece of wood. Next, I used my Dremel to etch the designs into the wood (this is very time consuming and takes a lot of patience and steady hands). After the design was to my satisfaction, I used stains and white paint to create different effects on each board. On Dracula, I also used red nail polish for the blood, again so it would last longer.

Once they were all finished, I drilled a 6 inch hole in the bottom of each piece and hammered in a 12 inch piece of steel rebar to secure them into the ground. I can't wait to make more but I think it will have to wait until next Halloween. This is the finished cemetery for this year...