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Build Your Own DIY Halloween Yard Decorations

Posted by: Erika Green on September 7, 2022

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Looking to make your front yard a Halloween hot spot this year? Check out these Halloween decoration ideas that will make your house the spookiest in the neighborhood.

This guide will take you through how to build two Halloween decoration ideas that your trick-or-treaters will find the scariest on the block: DIY Halloween Tombstone and a DIY coffin.  


How to Build a DIY Halloween Tombstone

Skip the store and make homemade Halloween decorations this year. Store-bought tombstones tend to be flimsy and have a hard time holding up in the fall weather. Making your own out of plywood means these tombstones and the scares will last season after season. When you choose to DIY, you can create as many tombstones as you want and customize each with epitaphs for a personal graveyard right in your front yard.  

What You’ll Need 

Steps for Building the Tombstone

Step 1: Mark Out the Tombstone

Start with an 8’x4’ piece of plywood and mark out a rectangle at 16”x14” by using a tape measure and straightedge. Use a rounded item, like a flowerpot or bowl, to trace two rounded corners for the top of each tombstone.  

Step 2: Cut Out the Tombstone Shape

Use an electric jig saw rental to cut along the outline of the tombstone. The electric jigsaw is perfect for cutting intricate patterns, which makes cutting different tombstone shapes simple. Once you have the first tombstone cut out, use it as an outline for the rest. You can even take this a step further and create your own custom, gothic shapes and designs using the straightedge and round item, tracing your designs onto the plywood.  

Step 3: Round Over the Edges

Once cut out, smooth the edges with sandpaper, a file, or a palm sander to give the tombstones a cleaner, more finished look.  

Step 4: Apply the Paint

While you’re at your local Home Depot picking up your electric jigsaw, don’t forget to grab a paint sprayer rental to effortlessly coat the tombstone with paint. For added texture, use a plastic bag to dab on a darker shade of paint on top. After your paint dries, it’s time to customize and decorate your tombstones with shapes, epitaphs and funny names. Be sure to sketch your writing on with pencil first!

Looking for inspiration? Try some of these names and epitaphs for a good laugh:  

  • Stella Live
  • Fillmore Graves
  • Barry M. Deep
  • R.I.P. Remodeling in Peace.
  • Anita Shovel
  • A true groundbreaker.
  • Ben Better 

Step 5: Attach Metal Straps

You will want to use about 16” rebar stakes to support your new tombstones. If the rebar needs to be cut to size, we suggest using a reciprocating saw and the appropriate blade or a grinder with a cut-off wheel. Our associate at The Home Depot Rental will be able to help you select the right tools for the job.

Next, screw electrical conduit straps onto the back of the tombstones. Keep the straps loose so that the rebar can easily slide in and out of them. The straps will secure the tombstone to the rebar for a sturdy display.  

Step 6: Set up and Decorate Your Graveyard

Using a mallet, drive the rebar into the ground and slide the metal straps through the rebar, tighten the screws and secure the tombstone. Spice up the graveyard landscape using piles of dirt at the foot of each grave. Add string lights or a spotlight to the graveyard to make it visible at night, also casting a spooky shadow on your house.  

How to Build a DIY Coffin Decoration

This DIY coffin decoration makes a great focal point for your Halloween porch décor and will complement your already-assembled tombstones. This project is ideal for creating a custom Halloween centerpiece that you can paint, distress and decorate your way.  

What You’ll Need 

Steps to Build the Coffin

Step 1: Build the Front & Back Panels

Cut pieces of lumber using a circular saw rental to the desired length. The lumber can be purchased from your local Home Depot or even upcycled from an old pallet. Arrange the slats of lumber into an offset position beside one another to give the panels greater strength. Lay 2 slats over the offset wood, and using a nailer rental, secure the wood together to form the front of the coffin. Repeat these steps to create the back panel. 

Step 2: Build the Side Panels

Use a narrow piece of wood to form the side panels. Trim them to length based on the front and back panel’s dimensions, as well as personal preference of the coffin’s depth. When building the panels, keep in mind any accessories you might want to add inside the coffin, and plan the depth accordingly.  

Step 3: Add in Support and Piece Everything Together

Using thicker pieces of wood, add support to the corners of the coffin. To ensure its sturdy, you can continue to add wood around the coffin walls. Once the added support is finalized, start piecing everything together. Use the nailer rental to fortify the front, back and sides together.  

Step 4: Add the Finishing Touches

To enhance the coffin, use a paint sprayer rental to quickly add a pop of color or perhaps coat it in all black. The paint sprayer allows you to quickly tackle all sides and crevasses of the coffin. Feel free to add hinges to the front panel that will allow you to open and close the coffin. You can even include more scary features like a skeleton, chain or other scary items!

Tags: DIY Halloween Yard Decoration, Halloween Decoration Ideas, DIY Halloween Tombstone, DIY Coffin Decoration, Homemade Halloween Decorations