Unwelcome! to All-Spooks 2021!

I’m your tour guide, Uncle Alex Nosferatu!  The 2021 All-Spooks Festival features a new and expanded garden venue, filled with creeps and chills, and Halloween fun for boils and ghouls of all ages.

An assemblage of autumnal and spooky elements greets visitors to the cemetery
Enter the Nazareth Necropolis, if you dare!

The highlight this year is a set of eight homemade tombstones and a gothic birdbath, enhancing the realistic feel of the garden cemetery. They were constructed from foam insulation board, with the help and guidance of my friend Trish Magee.  Trish made some tombstones for her own yard last Halloween, and I was so impressed with the results, I begged her for a tutorial this year, which we did at her Delaware home in June.

The Hilltop Cemetery at Nazareth Necropolis

An 8’x4’ sheet of pink insulation is cut down into basic smaller sizes, then shaped with a jigsaw into the desired outlines.  A black marker sketches out the basic design and epitaph, a wood burning tool is used to “carve” the design into the foam, knives cut cracks and weathered features, and then the painting begins!  A layer of flat black is overlaid with pale grey in a sponge paint pattern to create a marbleized granite effect, bits of moss are applied to add a look of decay and age, then the whole is sealed with clear enamel.  Holes are drilled in the bottom, to fit metal piping which is driven into the ground to stabilize the tombstones when on display.

Several stages in the creation of a tombstone: foam insulation is cut into basic shapes
Embellishments are added and the design cut into the surface with a wood-burning tool
Prepped markers await their base coat
Flat black transforms disparate elements into a unified whole
A top coat of sponge-painted grey creates a granite effect
Finished markers await placement in the cemetery

I made eight tombstones this year, and Trish gifted me with the birdbath, a new project for her this season.  Four are pseudo-markers for actual historic personages:  Giles Corey, who was pressed to death with rocks when he refused to plea to the charge of witchcraft made against him in Salem, Massachusetts during the 1692 witch hunts; Edgar Allan Poe, poet and author of many tales of the macabre; Lizzie Borden, tried and acquitted of axe-murdering her parents in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892; and Mercy Brown, the so-called “New England Vampire”.  Suspected of preying upon family members after her death in Rhode Island in 1892, Mercy’s body was exhumed, her heart removed, burned, and its ashes mixed with water, given to her last remaining relative to spare him from her supposed curse.  He died months later.

Marker for Giles Corey, pressed to death for witchcraft in Salem in 1692
Edgar Allan Poe’s marker, complete with raven
Accused murderess Lizzie Borden’s marker includes a touch of humor: “They axed for it!”
Mercy Brown, the “New England Vampire”, has bat embellishments and an epitaph quoting “Dracula”: “For the Blood is the Life”
The newest addition to Nazareth Necropolis, with markers for historic personages

Together these form the newest section of the “Nazareth Necropolis”, as the garden is known at this time of year.  Nearby is “Dead Lover’s Lane”, with its courting couple canoodling under the bat tree.  In addition to a presiding ghoul, this year the lovers have acquired a peeping Tom, who looks agog at their intimate embrace.

The newest section of the Necropolis, with the markers for historic personages
“Dead Lovers’ Lane”, complete with bat tree and peeping Tom
Closeup of the courting couple
Dead Lovers Lane

Moving on, a pair of spooks, a Reaper and a banshee, welcome you to the “Last Stop Cemetery”, the entranceway to the largest section, where “Our Guests Never Complain”.  This graveyard enclave leads on to the “Bushkill Boneyard”, populated with eight skeletons and another shrouded ghoul.  A pair of skeletons occupies the picnic table, playing with their pet rat and zombie cat, while a bereaved father has brought his twin boys to visit their decomposing mother, strewn about the boneyard, on “Dead Mother’s Day”; and another helpful skeleton is assisting his mate in the difficult crawl out of the grave.  This cemetery also features the “Tree of the Dead”, with dangling garlands of skulls suspended from the birch branches, eerily swaying in the breeze.  Massive webs and huge black spiders have found a home here as well.

The Last Stop Cemetery
The Bushkill Boneyard at Nazareth Necropolis

The set piece of the garden graveyard is the Hilltop Cemetery, with its fine view of the grounds, where a pair of seated skeletons is relaxing in the flagstone seating area, enjoyed a refreshing blood cocktail al fresco.  An obsequious waiter has already served Madame, and Monsieur stretches out a skeletal hand for his own goblet.   This cemetery features the remaining four new tombstones:  a four-foot Christian Cross, a “Memento Mori” admonition to “think of death”, a five-foot Celtic Cross, and another inscribed stone, which reminds the reader of the fleeting nature of life – “As You Are Now, So Once Was I; As I am Now, So Shall You Be.”  As you look about at the dead and dying vegetation, it’s easy to feel you’ve come to the right place, at the right time!

Lit strategically by solar spotlights to create islands of brightness in the gloom, the Nazareth Necropolis welcomes visitors of all ages, for both daylight and nighttime tours.  Open October 13th through November 10th, come enjoy a saunter through the afterlife!

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

5 comments, add yours.

Martin Teplicky Rebecca l Wambold

Pretty cool Alex. I showed to Rebecca . Rain coming , a couple of inches the next few days . Not good for bones.

Lisa Gustafson



Amazing, as always…and love the spiders on the screen.


Wonderful decor with a nice touch of ghoulish humor!


You outdid yourself this year, Alex! You did a great job on the tombstones and nice that you shared how to do them for others to try. I loved some of the little touches like the crows at the birdbath and the crow skeleton and the pet rat and zombie cat! Very creatively done! Thanks for sharing with your visitors and your readers! Happy Halloween!

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