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How to Upcycle Political Yard Signs into Halloween Tombstones

My favorite holiday season is here. The season where I get to turn my modest suburban home into a creepy attraction filled with dead bodies, goblins, ghost, and of course, Michael Myers standing watch at the window, day and night.

Every year I like to add to my outdoor Halloween decor, but I like to do so without spending any money.

The first reason for this is obvious: Making my own decor fits best with my thrifty, low-budget lifestyle. The second reason has really made itself known to us after the fact: People love our homemade, upcycled and DIY decorations the best.

We get far more compliments and "That's creepy!" comments on the flying monster we assembled with a graduation robe and mask and gloves from the 99 Cent Store than we do the light-up Marcus the Carcus from Target buried in the front yard.

When it comes to outdoor Halloween decorations: Original stands out.

Turning those old political yard signs into Halloween tombstones allows you to create original Halloween decorations because you can customize the tombstones however you like.

We had two political yard signs saved in our garage, so my husband and I each chose an awesome real-life figure to memorialize. I selected the legendary horror writer, director and producer, Wes Craven, as he just passed away this year. My husband chose the crazy bassist from the Ramones, Dee Dee Ramone, because, why not?

Here are the steps:

1. Remove the ground stake by pulling it out from underneath the sign.

2. Cut the political yard sign into the desired shape for your Halloween tombstone. I flipped the sign on its side and used a combination of scissors and a blade knife to round the top.

3. Optionally, create a tacky surface on the political yard sign for an old, weathered look. My husband used drywall spackle, but then later decided it wasn't the best choice because a very small section chipped off when I wrote on the tombstone. You can apply a thicker paint in spots or use hot glue. Let dry.

4. Optionally, seal the outside edges of the yard sign. Our yard signs had open indentations around the edges of the sign, which we sealed up with the spackle for a smoother look.

5. Paint the political yard sign with an outdoor, waterproof grey paint. We had a grey primer on hand, so that's what we used. Let dry.

6. Write on the sign with paint or a permanent marker. I initially used a giant, thick Sharpie (the kind with a sponge-like tip), but that proved the wrong choice. The marker didn't write well over the rough surface under the spray paint. A fine-point Sharpie wrote well on the uneven surface.

7. Re-attach the metal stake to prop the tombstones up. Insert the stake up and into the bottom of your tombstone, or attach the stakes to the back of the tombstones with strong Duck or Gorilla tape.

8. Seal the tombstones with a weather-proof sealant, if desired. We chose to seal our tombstones for peace of mind.

To make our DIY tombstones a focal point of our many Halloween decorations, we created the look of freshly dug graves by piling bark in front of each tombstone, and then lining the bark with white lights. You can also stuff potato sacks -- the kind for picnic races -- with leaves or newspaper and lie the sacks in front of your tombstones.

We added potted plants with fake flowers around the tombstones to add to the cemetery feel. Finally, we inserted a 99 Cent Store skeleton arm into Wes Craven's grave; it only seemed appropriate.


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