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hello!
I know that most of us pick up things out of other peoples garbage to use in our haunts. Its natural...were haunters! lol. unfortunately my yard does not have any trees in it. this makes it bad for halloween because NOTHING has the astedic of fall. I have not old leaves or branches, no creepy shadows, NOTHING! so last night I got into full haunter mode and found some branches that people were throwing out for yard waste. I shoved them into the back of my jeep and was so happy! now I can have the full effect lol! How else do you guys make your cemetery overgrown? I have tried other options but nothing seams to work other than taking leaves out of the garbage (yuck!):p Let me know what your ideas are to over grow your cemetery. :D
 

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The Minister of Macabre
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I have the same problem you do, no trees! My old house had a perfect amount to trees and greenery surrounding the property. When we moved into our new house, which is a new construction, the area we built offered no trees (planted some however :)) so I have done the same thing you did, gather cut branches and shrubs and place them around props. With balanced lighting, it really adds to the atmosphere. Also, if you can, let you grass grow high, that helps too.
 

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We've been in the same situation not having much in the way of fall trees in the front yard. Our sole tree is finally growing up so looking forward to that in a few years.

Any way to answer your question, I bought several spooky trees from Joann's on clearance one year. They have solid metal wire trunk forms with black twigs covering it -- best I can describe it. The are kind of short, 5 feet, and came with orange lights that were way too bright and not spooky at all. A few weeks ago we just took off all the lights and I was experimenting with the base. I can increase their height by using black ABS pipe I guess it is called inserted inside the tubular trunk of the spooky tree and add some type of a base to the bottom and then wrap the tree trunk with black plastic. Someone on HF did a nice photo tutorial of a branch arch I think they called it, using pool noodles for the base material of the branches and "shrink wrapping" kind of some plastic sheeting on to it and then painting it for bark texture. Looked great and was thinking of using this technique for making nice roots for my trees. Here's a photo showing how I'm able to "grow" the trees.



I've been contemplating taking long strips of black plastic, pulling it to add some dimension to the strips and wiring them on to these trees for more of a willow-tree look that will blow in the wind and be more eerie. Also plan to use the same black strips attached to some plastic christmas tree ornament hooks similar to these ( https://www.amazon.com/Adams-Christmas-4100-99-1040-Ornament-Hangers/dp/B00499W4IO ) to quickly attach to the sole tree that we do have growing. I like that they are plastic (won't rust or if dropped get caught in a lawn mower) and they easily can latch on to branches securely and come off easily too. Also easy to store the clips with the strips attached in a plastic bag for storage and use another year.

I have a number of tombstones I use periodically and wanted to have a leaf covered grave. Was concerned that if I just collected and dumped leaves in front of the tombstones the wind we get around that time of year would just blow them off where I wanted them so came up with a permanent solution. I took advantage of Michael's 50% off sales on fall garland and popped all the colored leaves off of the plastic vine they come on. The leaves have a little circular attachment point at the end and I used that to thread some flexible thin black wire through the leaves and then "wired" the leaves on some brown burlap I got from Joann's that was rectangular shaped like a grave site. After using I shake off any dirt and roll up and putting in a plastic bag for storage and to be used another year. It took some time to wire the leaves on but I did it while watching TV in the evening and didn't seem so bad time wise that way. Couldn't locate the grave yard roll but found a bag of pulled leaves I have ready for a project.



I also have a few arches I've bought over the years and have used them to zip tie or wire various kinds of garland or plants onto it. Greenery when using the arch to make a "cave" look, add some tropical hibiscus plants/garland parts from Dollar Tree for a more tropical "cave" look. You can go a step further and make a paper maché long stone treatment to cover the arch sides and then add the vines so you see rocks and foliage on the archway. Hard to explain and no photos unfortunately to show of the cave.



We have a solid outer house wall (no windows) in our courtyard that I can set the arch against and create a 5-18 inch "cave" opening there (depending on the depth of the arch I use--the Party City halloween arches I have are 18 inches deep so nice for that look--don't think they sell the black at halloween any more but they have wedding arches in white, same thing). Black landscape fabric works well to fill in the void of the cave entrance in this set up.


Also if you put up fencing along your graveyard perimeter, you can add greenery (vines from Dollar Tree/99 Cent Only Store look pretty good and are inexpensive) to it to make it look a bit unkept and abandoned.
 

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Wisp in the Mist
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Well, I wrote a response, and the site "ate it", so I'm going to try again.

I have the same problem, no trees. We get neighbor's leaves randomly blowing in, so that's good. I accidentally "overgrew" our garden arbor that I use for an entrance for ToTs. I first planted clematis, but it grows too slowly. So I opted for morning glories, and waaaaay overdid it. A pack on each side of the arbor, plus half a pack of moonflowers on each side (I wanted day and night flowers for summer time).

The vines definitely overtook the arbor, and it's really too much to be "pretty", but it's well overgrown for Halloween. The only problem is that I counted on them dying off before Halloween, and leaving brown, withered vines like I wanted. Nope, they're still green at Halloween. Or at least, they were last year when I planted them, and maybe I just planted late? I don't remember which month I planted.

I suppose that I could cut them at their base in mid to late September, and they'd be nice and dead by Halloween. They would definitely come back, because they're an invasive vine. I did not replant them this year, and they're just as thick as last year. Also, I bought the seeds at Dollar Tree, or Dollar General, so they were super cheap, nothing special.
 

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Recently I came across a photo that I think could be a neat solution to not having anything in a yard to decorate. It looked like they bought enough net lights to cover a section of lawn, pinned it all down with garden staples, and then put a cemetery scene over it. Fog definitely rounded out the effect. I could see collected branches tied together at the stems making an interesting "fence" around the section of the lawn this was set up on.

I hope it's okay I link the album posted by forum member Kritze: Here
 

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We use a lot of sticks in our decorations. My wife insists on it, as they lend a spookiness that's hard to replicate without them. All of our sticks were pilfered from the bulk trash weeks in our neighborhood. The first year we decided to decorate the house, it was just for a party and we scored a large amount of branches from a dead tree that had black bark. No need to spray paint!

First year, we used them to spookily our entry courtyard. For our first attempt, it wasn't bad and definitely changed the look of the entryway as people walked up:
year 1 sticks.jpg

For the second year, my wife wanted an arch made of sticks and wouldn't relent until I made it. So, we had an archway of sticks in the courtyard:
year 2 stick arch.jpg

This actually came out better than I expected it would, and when we added the ghouls and some lighting, I have to admit it was a really cool effect:
year 2 arch ghouls.jpg

We didn't save all of these sticks, as it was too many, but we saved the "good" ones. Last year, we put some back in the courtyard (like the 1st year) and used some of them in the witches room (which was a PITA b/c they kept poking through the scene setter, but really added to the depth of the scene):
year 3 sticks.jpg

Living in the Phoenix area, we don't have many trees that shed their leaves, and if they do, it's usually in November. Being from the Midwest, I long for having big piles of leaves to spread around the cemetery we set up.
 

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Seer of All
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Up until last fall, we had a gigantic creepy tree in our front yard that dropped tons of leaves and cast perfect shadows, not to mention being a great hiding place for flood lights and hanging cords for ghosts, etc. Then the poor tree got a serious fungal disease and began to die at a rapid clip. We ended up taking it out the first week in october. Although I had much more space to work with, without the tree my graveyard no longer that that natural look. It really stood out, but not in a good way. I mean, a 1960's brick ranch house with a huge graveyard in front? It somehow worked with the tree in place but now that the house is so much more visible it just seems awkward. This year, the plan is to utilize the large planting beds for a mostly jack o'lantern display and forego the graveyard all together. My plants grew like mad this year so at least there will be the overgrown greenery effect in that part of the yard.
 
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Up until last fall, we had a gigantic creepy tree in our front yard that dropped tons of leaves and cast perfect shadows, not to mention being a great hiding place for flood lights and hanging cords for ghosts, etc. Then the poor tree got a serious fungal disease and began to die at a rapid clip. We ended up taking it out the first week in october. Although I had much more space to work with, without the tree my graveyard no longer that that natural look. It really stood out, but not in a good way. I mean, a 1960's brick ranch house with a huge graveyard in front? It somehow worked with the tree in place but now that the house is so much more visible it just seems awkward. This year, the plan is to utilize the large planting beds for a mostly jack o'lantern display and forego the graveyard all together. My plants grew like mad this year so at least there will be the overgrown greenery effect in that part of the yard.
We has the same thing happen to us. Nice tree in front yard where the cemetery was set up. It was one of the few trees in AZ that would drop its leaves for the winter. It dropped them as normal, but never came back. We didn't notice it was dead until it didn't spring buds.
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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I go to a nearby wooded area and fill a couple of trash bags with leaves and a nearby ball field to collect some long stiff dry grass to place around the cemetery to give it an unkempt, overgrown look. I can usually find a few big branches along the way too.

 
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