Halloween, or all Hallow's eve, traditionally stands as the time when the veil is thinnest between the living and the dead. Making Halloween centerpieces with a cemetery gives your celebration three-dimensional decorations that dramatize the spirit of the spookiest holiday. Recycled and natural materials create a blend of realistic and fantastical elements. Customizing your centerpieces with details meaningful to your guests can add a creepy or humorous element. Does this Spark an idea?
- Shallow heavy-duty boxes the desired size of the centerpieces
- Recycled manilla file folders or lightweight gray cardboard
- Gray or black marking pen
- Craft glue
- Black construction paper
- Small dead branches
- Spaghnum moss
Draw headstones and monuments for the cemetery on lightweight gray cardboard for faster, one-dimensional decorations. For example, draw some classic headstones with curved tops and some taller monuments such as a pillar topped with an angel. Save time by drawing three or four styles and then cutting those out to use as patterns for the rest of the grave markers for the centerpieces.
Write names and dates or memorial slogans such as R.I.P for "rest in peace" on the headstones in gray or black marking pen. Create joke headstones with fake names, or or personalized for guests with a sense of humor, if desired.
Turn shallow boxes, such as flats that hold cat food cans, upside down. Use one box for each centerpiece. Cut a slit for each grave marker. For example, create rows with slits 2 to 3 inches apart.
Apply glue to the bottom of each grave marker. Insert the bottom of each grave marker in a slit. Angle some of the grave markers to make them look crooked, the way headstones are in old cemeteries when the earth settles.
Poke a hole with the point of a pair of scissors at each corner of the box or at random locations for the cemetery trees. Clip dead tree branches to the desired height to keep them in scale with the cemetery centerpiece. Apply glue to the thick end of each branch and poke the ends in the cardboard. For example, if the grave markers are 2 inches tall, keep the trees 9 inches tall or less.
Draw a Death figure with a long, hooded cloak and a scythe on black construction paper, if desired. A scythe is a long-handled tool with a sharp, curved blade on top used for harvesting grain -- it symbolizes Death harvesting the living. Make the curved hood at the top, the robe draped over bony shoulders and continue the robe flaring down to the bottom of the figure. Draw a 1/2-inch-wide rectangle at the bottom of the robe for a tab to make the figure stand up on the centerpiece. Draw the scythe's long handle and big sliver-moon blade at its top above Death's head. Cut out the Death figure.
Cut a slit in the cardboard near the middle of the cemetery. Apply glue to the tab at the base of the Death figure. Insert the tab for the death figure in the slit.
Apply craft glue in zigzag rows on the cardboard, so that there's glue every 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Stick small tufts of sphagnum moss to the glue all over the cemetery between the headstones and around Death. Leave some tufts of moss overhanging the edges of the box all the way around.
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