Halloween Tombstone Decoration How-To

If you had any remaining doubts, let me clear things up for you:

I love Halloween. LOVE. HALLOWEEN.

While I’ve accumulated some great decorations over the years, I’m always looking for new additions. The selection in stores this year was particularly disappointing. Not to mention that most of the Halloween decorations were cleared out prior to October 15th to make way for Christmas Mania. Ridiculous. So, when Adam purchased a massive tool chest that was surrounded by large pieces of Styrofoam, I immediately knew that the packing materials would become tombstone decorations for your front yard. I’d created tombstones in the past, but used cardboard boxes from the law office. While that worked beautifully for one season, the flimsy material couldn’t stand up to storage. Or mold.

Cardboard tombstones - 2006

Cardboard Halloween Tombstone Decorations – 2006

I’m very pleased with how this year’s styrofoam version turned out, and it was so EASY that I wanted to pass on the information for other Halloweenophiles. (Made that last word up)


Halloween Tombstone Materials

Halloween Tombstone Materials

Homemade Halloween Tombstone How-To

By: Jeans and a Tank Top

Sheets of Styrofoam (or other brand of polystyrene housing insulation)
Spray Paint – Gray Primer
Spray Paint – textured stone finish (similar to Rust-Oleum American Accents Stone)
Black permanent markers
Fabric & Garden Staples
Knife – only moderately sharp is necessary
Paint scraper (optional)


1. Outline shapes for tombstones on sheets of Styrofoam. I suggest using different shapes and sizes to give your cemetery a more interesting look.

2. Using knife (carefully!), cut out tombstone shapes. It’s okay if your lines aren’t perfectly straight, or even, because your final product will end up looking weathered and worn. Since Styrofoam doesn’t cut smoothly, the jagged edges will also add to the “old” look of the finished product. This is where the paint scraper comes in. If you want to add MORE texture to the sides of your tombstone, just run a paint scraper along the edges for a rough look.

Left image: Step 1 Upper and lower right images: Step 2

Left image: Step 1
Upper and lower right images: Step 2

3. Cut out rectangles of Styrofoam for tombstone bases. Each base should be the width of its corresponding tombstone and approximately 4″ long.

4. Spray paint front, back and outer edge of each tombstone with gray primer spray paint. Don’t forget the bases!

5. When primer has dried, spray paint front and outer edges of each tombstone with textured stone finish spray paint. You can choose to also cover the backs, but it isn’t necessary.

Step 5

Step 5

6. When the textured paint has dried, add names, epitaphs or designs to each of your tombstones with the permanent markers. (A good spot for inspiration is Costume Discounters) If you’re unsure about spacing, plot it out on another piece of paper, first.

Step 6

Step 6

7. Using Fabric/Garden staples, attach bases to tombstones. Push staple up through the BOTTOM of the base into the tombstone.

Step 7

Step 7 *** Note the type of Styrofoam of tombstone piece in image above. This is actually an INFERIOR choice. When you can see easily see larger circles on the Styrofoam, it signifies a weak composition and can disintegrate under the weight and chemicals of spray paint!

8. Install your tombstones by pushing additional staples through the TOP of your tombstone bases into the ground.

Complete Homemade Halloween Tombstone

Complete Homemade Halloween Tombstone Decoration

Congratulations, you’re done! Happy haunting, Halloweeners!

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