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Discussion Starter #1
In the past the front row of my graveyard was a series of dollar store coolers turned upside down. For some I put the lid on the bottom for a bit more decoration. They hid the lights that illuminated the rows behind them. The trouble with these came at night because they were essentially dead space since they were not illuminated. What I decided to do is build a new front row of around 5-6 stones that would be self lighted. They would still hide the lights for the ones behind but would also include a method to be lit themselves. Of course there are a few obvious ways they I could light them but I want each one to be unique so that the entire front row does not simply have lighted names for example. So I am looking for some ideas on what people have built or think would look good.

RIP block.jpg
 

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Well, since you're running power to each of these stones, use an extension cord with multiple outlets. Use one for the main spotlight, then use another for a smaller light to shine in front. You can either find LED lights, or small 7-watt 10-watt or 15-watt candelabra bulbs in a small socket, with a wire coat hanger base. Stab the wire hanger in the ground, run its cable under the stone, plug it in.

You could even waterproof them with sculpted foam rocks or boulders to hide them.
 

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So I am looking for some ideas on what people have built or think would look good.
Our graveyard is lit the same way as yours. Most lighting for the background is hidden by tombstones in the foreground. Here are a few of the options we used to light the front tombstones over the years, starting with the most primitive, and working our way up to the more complex.

1. LED pucks. Before there were LEDs, there were incandescent bulbs, but since they're really dinosaurs, everything we did with them to light our graveyard is pretty much obsolete. The thing that replaced our big silver utility clamps were palm sized LED puck lights.

ledlighting01.jpg

These pucks were white LEDs, but we pried the pucks apart and colored the lens covers with various colored permanent markers. They were easily hid, easily placed, and did pretty much what you mentioned about lighting the epitaphs of the front line of tombstones. The downside was that they had to be turned on and off by hand. For those of us who live in rainy areas, it's not much fun to turn on and off 30 lights every night. Also, if you turned them on every night, the batteries had to be replaced a couple of times during the month.

2. Dollar Tree tea-lights and pillar candles. Sometimes a part of showcasing the front line tombstones was lighting them with candles or other LED lights.

ledlighting02.jpg

It actually requires quite a few candles to illuminate a tombstone, but it is very atmospheric. We're not alone with using that approach, but many including us, use them more as a prop than a lighting source. Mr. Toad's tombstone for example had green flickering candle light. It was a whole Wind in the Willows sliding into Will-o'-the-wisp that lead to his tombstone being lit with a green glow. But the two candles that are a part of his tombstone had to be augmented with a green colored puck light to make it readable. The Pokeman tombstone was much more traditionally lit, but the kids had fun leaning over to read the words in candlelight. It lead to interesting lighting and shadows, but again, each had to be turned on and off every night. We also had to deal with battery replacement.

3. 10 Watt LED spots and Eagle Eye LEDs. This was our approach for this year.

ledlighting03.jpg

The 10 Watt LED Spots were purchased as RGB models allowing us to use whatever color we wanted. At about 3X5 inches, they're harder to hide than the pucks, but they also gave off a great deal more light. Whole sections of yard or walls could be lit up by one. Mixing them up throughout the haunt gave areas plenty of light, including spill over onto the front tombstones. They're what's lighting the mausoleum wall the cauldron creep is standing under. And it's actually one of those lights that is lighting up the "I Told You I Was Sick" tombstone. However, because of their size, only one was actually used out in front of the first tier tombstones. The rest were hidden by those tombstones.

The Erma Gerd tombstone is lit by an Eagle Eye LED. They're used in car lighting and are extremely small, but put out a good amount of light. We're having fun adapting them to the haunt. At under two dollars apiece and a few under a dollar, we see a bright future for these little lights. We only tried one last year, but thanks to advice we got on this site, we're going to roll out a great number of them this year. They make for great mini spot lights, are listed as waterproof, and cast some really fun shadows against large backdrops. We'll use the 10 Watt spots and eagle eyes to light up our tree and the skeleton hanging in it. The eagle eyes come in many different colors if your haunt needs a bit of color to satisfy you.

We'll also be using waterproof LED pucks and lights for a tombstone/fountain this year. We're hoping it works, but time will tell. The LED spots and eagle eyes are great because we can put them on a timer and never have to worry about stepping out into the rain to get the yard lit. There is the downside to having cords all over the place, but we have tons of leaves to hide such things.

So, that's where we've been and where we're heading. Hope it gives you a few ideas. We certainly know most of ours came from looking at other haunts here at the forum and elsewhere. Good luck. Take lots of pictures and post the results. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The Emma Gerd tombstone is exactly the kind of thing I was planning. I already have candles but as you said it takes quite a few to light up a tombstone. I have already ordered some LED strip lights and was planning to try those in at least one tombstone.
 

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Lighted Tombstone with mini "Nano" spots

I was going to start another thread but this seems like the right topic. I have been lighting my tombstones using the C7 bulb technique from OddTodd for a couple of years. I wanted to try using the mini 5mm or 10mm spots shown on this site or the ones Frightprops sell as "Nano" spots.

I was wondering if anyone has some pics using these type of LED lights and if they illuminate the tombstone well. I found a picture from The Tombstone Factory that has 2 mini spots that are attached to the base of one of their tombstones. It looks pretty good. They are white lights, but I was thinking of using maybe blue or green.

Tombstone pic.
 

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Since the moderators don't like us reposting the same pictures in different threads, wander on over to https://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/201299-new-approach-lighting-tombstones-us.html . That's where I posted a couple of pictures of the eagle eye LEDs we'll be using this year. They are much brighter than the 10mm LED option that you find in the mini-spotlight tutorials. They are incredibly easy to work with and easy to hide because they are so small. The pictures show them in a darkened hallway. If you have questions about their use, read all the advice that follows. The folks helping me out were terrific answering so many questions I had about their use.

We also have some homemade LED spots that use a 10 mm yellow LED matched with a 5mm flickering yellow LED. They're both inside the PVC tube lights you can find tutorials for. The one that got us started doing it is located at https://youtu.be/470rIADIaxA?t=150 . While not quite as bright as the eagle eye LEDs, they do have advantages if you're hoping for a low light, moody approach. We still love our homemade LED spots because the two LED approach gave us a nice steady glow for people to read the epitaphs, but also the flickering light that made it look as if candlelight was what lit the tombstone. That said, we don't have a picture of them in use that really shows what they can do. But they are a very nice approach, and we'll be using them again this year, along with new UV mini-spots we made for a couple of our tombstones.

One last thing, if you're working on any kind of a budget, making these things is so much cheaper than buying them, and they work great. It's worth it to learn a bit of electrical skills to save a great deal of money. Lighting is one of the most important parts of a haunt and it can be one of the most expensive if you let others do the work for you. But it doesn't have to be. And for us, it's actually turning out to be easier and more fun than we thought it would be.
 
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