Fall is my very favorite season–not only are there fall festivals and pumpkin carving to look forward to, but there are also plenty of cemetery visits (without the snakes and ticks!). I try to decorate my ancestors’ graves for every season, so expenses could really add up. Over the years, though, I’ve discovered frugal ways to decorate cemeteries…all on a college-student budget. So if you’re ready to discover how to decorate your ancestors’ graves in a frugal and fall-themed way, keep scrolling!
Pumpkin & Gourds – Small pumpkins often cost under $1 at most produce shops and stores, while gourds often cost about half that. This means that both of these fall decorations are also perfect for cemeteries! Pumpkins and gourds will also add a pop of fun and color at the cemetery you’re decorating, making them a unique way to decorate. Plus, after the pumpkins become soft, you may find that birds and other animals begin eating the pumpkin or gourd, scrounging up the seeds in the colder months. This means you’ll be feeding birds that are essential to our ecosystem while also decorating your family’s grave–a win-win! Note: If you’re concerned with the aesthetic look of the cemetery, you may choose to remove the pumpkin/gourd when it begins to decompose or becomes soft.
Scarecrows – Yes, you read that right! Scarecrows on garden stakes make an amazing cemetery decoration! Scarecrows on garden stakes often cost $1 or so, allowing you to feasibly decorate multiple graves without blowing a cemetery decorating budget. What’s more, not only are these scarecrows fun, but they’re also cute!
Wildflowers – Wildflowers are the most frugal cemetery decorating technique because they are FREE! When I walk around my family’s property, I spot plenty of beautiful wildflowers in the fall that I can pick and make into a pretty cemetery bouquet. Even though they’ll eventually wilt without water, they’ll be a sweet cemetery decoration while they last. Plus, you can take pleasure knowing that this cemetery decoration was picked and arranged by you, making it a lovely tribute to your ancestor.
Solar Lights – I can’t say enough good things about solar lights when you’re looking to frugally decorate a cemetery! At around $1 each, solar lights are both affordable AND adorable. What’s more, they’re literally a bright spot at any cemetery. I spotted the above sunflower light at Dollar Tree, but there are other fall solar light options, such as pumpkins. It’s hard to go wrong with solar lights!
Floral Garland – Fall-themed floral garland is a great way to spruce up your family’s shepherds crook this season! Simply wrap it around the the shepherds crook and secure the garland using something such as zip ties. While you may not be able to snag floral garland for $1, it’s still quite cost effective! I found that most floral garland costs under $15, and sometimes I could find a 2-pack of floral garland for around $10. If you keep it up for a short time each season, you may also be able to use it for subsequent decorating seasons, which would enhance the frugality of the item. Score!
Artificial Flowers – Artificial flowers are a good option for cemetery decorating because they are cost effective AND they last since they require no water. What’s more, they’re super easy to place since you only have to insert the stem into the ground. There are tons of fall artificial flower options that cost around $1–from the sunflowers above to leaf and acorn designs, there’s something for everyone!
Seashells – Did you head off to the beach this past summer and bring back so many shells that you’re not sure what to do with them? I’ve got a good solution–use them for cemetery décor! To give these shells a fun fall theme, break out some paints and decorate the seashells. I painted the seashell above in less than 5 minutes using a simple white, orange, and yellow. There are other ways to paint seashells in a fall-theme, though, like doing a scarecrow or pumpkin design! Note: You may find it easier to paint a scallop shell, as the one above (a non-scallop) had deep ridges that made it more difficult to paint a straight line. Also, be sure to look online for more decorating ideas and consider including family/friends in the fun!
As always, it’s extremely important that you follow any specific cemetery decorating rules and guidelines. Be sure to check with the cemetery caretaker about what decorations are–or are not–allowed. Always follow cemetery guidelines!
I hope the tips above gave you some ideas on how to decorate cemeteries in a frugal fall-themed way! No matter what decorating ideas you may choose to implement, know that what’s important is remembering and honoring your ancestors.
Keep the history alive!