Countdown Card Graveyard

Whether you countdown from one hundred or thirty-one, this cinch of a Halloween advent cemetery is bound to be fun!

It’s that time of year when the sun sets slightly sooner, bats rise earlier to perform their twilight ballet, and darkness monopolizes a few more minutes with every day: Spooky Season is near, my dear Fiends! Spooky Season is near!

Hearts throb and pulses quicken. Witches and warlocks cackle with anticipation. The daily progression of the Countdown Card procession reveals all the ways to savor spine-chilling thrills as we draw closer to All Hallows’ Eve.

Craft an epochal spell, with a Countdown Card Graveyard that’s more haunting than daunting. Just gather a few mundane materials to transform, using otherworldly alchemy.

To embark on this eerie endeavor, establish how many pint-sized plots your hereafter will host. For all 100 Days ‘Til Halloween Countdown Activity Cards, the perfect foundation is an 11×17 picture frame, and for thirty-one grave sites, an 8×10 will do nicely.

Spray the glass with the blackest matte spray paint. This improves the adhesion of the hot glue and prevents any peek-a-BOO edges from appearing later. Adhere floral picks upright, resembling a bed of nails that would make Vlad the Impaler proud.

Carve a slab of floral foam, removing unnatural edges, and cut to the exact dimensions of the glass. (A serrated bread knife easily executed the task.) Cover the upright floral picks and glass, until they’re dripping with a hell-broth of boiling and bubbling molten glue. Careful, not to prick your thumbs, position the foam evenly, and impale it on the sharp stakes, for “something wicked this way comes.”

It’s pure wizardry how mere Popsicle sticks and floral wire (luckily leftover from The Mask Tutorial That Saved Halloween from COVID-19) can be fashioned into the most charming cemetery fence. Wire cutters, a dab of hot glue here and there, (Optional: throw in some root of hemlock and eye of newt at this point) and more black paint, can yield astonishing shape-shifting results.

There is nothing more sublime than a misty, mossy cemetery. And it took every inch of three packages to cover this miniature, morbid meadow. An extra package would be wise. Fortunately, the surplus can be utilized in creating A Terrifying Terrarium for Carnivorous Plants.

Arrange the petite pickets at the corners and sides. A little asymmetry can be quite appealing. Secure the sections with more floral picks, firmly attached, and sprayed to match. Before piercing the sacred soil on this minuscule boneyard, let the glue drip down each pick, like wax on a candle. This will hold the minute barrier for all eternity.

Because the Countdown Cards won’t levitate on their own (until enchanted to do so), segmented kebab skewers, floral tape, and small paper clips contort into clever, little grave-graspers. Be forewarned that snipping, gluing, and wrapping one hundred tiny tombstone stands is quite the undertaking. This everlasting enterprise necessitates viewing a classic monster movie or a Gothic horror to help ease the perpetuity.

Spiderwebs are spectacular — when they’re authentic. The stringy, stretchy, trails of glue — not so much. Approximating, staggering, gluing, and pressing one hundred headstone holders just beneath the mossy depths is a practice in patience. Removing the remnants of flexible fixative is a practice in precision.

Print your 100 Days ‘Til Halloween Countdown Activity Cards on card stock, using the free, printable PDF on the linked page: here.

Since there’s no “Find A Grave” database for this abnormal advent, some order will need to be established among the seemingly disorganized distribution. Filling from the back was easiest. Staggering the placement and adding interesting angles keeps the edges from abutting. And cutting along the inner-most boarder allows just enough room to crowd the cards in a zig-zag pattern. Imagine how lovely it would be to meander haphazardly, flitting from stone to stone, in a serpentine stroll, on these ghostly grounds.

Perched in a prominent position, the daily featured card calls for focused adornment with a funerary flourish of a single black rose, and bare, black branches flanking the threshold between two worlds.

White as a sheet, and stiff as a board, little Lenore, lived her past life as a part of discount store garland of skeletons on a string. (One of Lenore’s fellow festooners became Barry Da’Live from A Terrifying Terrarium for Carnivorous Plants.) After a bit of contortion (while chanting “twist the bones and bend the back“, of course), bubbling glue, as hot as Hades, held Lenore’s perpetual position. Once the hold was firm and good, a coat of dragon’s blood was applied to accentuate her antiquity. With eyes of emerald, fixed by glue, she was given a life anew. With not much toil and trouble, a floral pick dipped in glue fused to her spine, and riveted her remains to her mossy dominion. And, when the hurly-burly was done, her reign as Countess of the Countdown had begun.

To replicate this minute memorial that reminds us to savor each day of Spooky Season (relishing it momento mori and mori each day), here are the mundane materials that were transformed into supplies of the supernatural:

  • 11×17 picture frame
  • matte black spray paint
  • floral picks
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks
  • slab of floral foam
  • serrated bread knife
  • 3 – 4 packages of preserved sheet moss
  • Popsicle sticks
  • floral wire (also used in The Mask Tutorial That Saved Halloween from COVID-19)
  • wire cutters
  • bamboo kebab skewers
  • 102 small paper clips (Coincidentally, the paperclip box is the perfect size to preserve and store your Countdown Cards for next year.)
  • floral tape
  • card stock
  • scissors
  • 100 Days ‘Til Halloween Countdown Activity Cards
  • mini-skeleton
  • gems (for skeleton eyes)
  • wood stain (for antiquing the plastic skeleton)
  • black plastic branches
  • black silk rose

Lenore and I are just dying to see which cards get your creative juices glowing, and which ones make your little Halloween hearts go thumpity-bump in the night.

To show your eerie enthusiasm for this countdown chaos, use the Instagram hashtag: #PrettySpookyHalloweenCountdown .

May your cauldrons bubble over with excitement for the next one hundred days of phantasmal fun, and may your Countdown Advent-ures be Pretty Spooky!

P.S. … Stay tuned for a BIG announcement (to be released very soon on “The Gram”, Pinterest, and www.PrettySpooky.Life) regarding how we can all help preserve Trick-or Treating amid this pandemic.