If you looked out the window at our house on Halloween night, you’d see the Dark Holiday of your childhood–50 kids at a time crossing the street, darting from door to door. Last year we had around 400 junior spooks–I think they’re busing them in from Wyoming. Halloween 2010 only fanned my ambitions to be The Scariest House On The Block.
“Build it, don’t buy it” is our new mantra at the Collard household. Store bought tombstones (the good ones) run between $20.00 and $45.00 apiece, and they’re small. Let’s go:
Home supply store rigid foam insulation sheets to start–about 4×8 sized sheets are best. They come in various thicknesses and cost $6-9.00 apiece. If the tombstones are going against an exterior wall, you can go thin…if further down the lawn, I’d suggest a thicker sheet to stand up to the elements. Each sheet should make around 6 tombstones.
Step one: draw your designs on the foam. Go simple–you can add balls, evil cherubs, gargoyles and other fancy bits from the Dollar Store afterwards. Cut out with a serrated knife.
Step two: “age” the stones by shaving edges, creating cracks, etc.
Step three: paint with LATEX primer (oil-based will eat the foam.)
Step four: you can now use spray paint (which will not eat the foam because of the latex primer you applied) to coat the stones. Shade the edges and the cracks with darker gray or black to highlight the aging on the stone. Now, you can put your friend’s names on the stones, and finish with spanish moss, vines, and leaves secured with a glue gun.
Step five: I attached a 2×4 on the back with adhesive (read the label to make sure it won’t eat the foam) and drilled holes for two or more large nails to drive the tombstones into the lawn. The extra effort makes them sturdier and they’ll last several years.
You can do it–and I can help! Todd
(Editor’s note: if you end up doing this project, The Todd will show you how to turn your front yard into a full graveyard for a Halloween night photo-op later this month!)