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Monday, October 31, 2016


Award-winning author Laurel O’Donnell finds precious time every day to escape into the medieval world and bring her characters to life in her writing. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Halloween has always been a special time of year for me and my family. We love to create our own decorations. Over the years, this has morphed into elaborate decorations for my front yard.

My daughter, husband and I made a crypt. It gets really windy in Illinois and the first crypt we made was smashed when the wind actually lifted the roof off the sides of the crypt, shifted it and crashed it back onto itself, destroying it. We rebuilt it, sturdier and heavier. But we always wonder if another windstorm is going to tear it apart.

In this picture, you can see the crypt in the background. These two pillars in the front are our most recent addition to our graveyard. We built a fence made out of PVC piping and four wooden pillars made of plywood.

When we start decorating the front yard, the crypt goes out first because it’s really heavy and it takes three people to move it. The roof is unattached. We move the sides out first, swinging them back and forth to maneuver them into place. Then, we lift the roof on and attach twenty-five pound weights to each of the corners. I also tie the roof to the sides inside the crypt.

In this picture, we have pounded three stakes into the ground to help the posts resist the wind. We don’t want the posts falling over. You can also see the gates that we’ve begun to put up.

In this picture, the posts and the fence are up and we’ve begun to set up the tombstones. We made all of our own tombstones. They are plywood cut out and painted black. Then we added the words in gray and lightly brushed the wood with gray paint to give the tombstones a weathered look. You can also see that we’ve begun to set up lighting for the graveyard.

The finished graveyard is shown at the top of this post. We made the pillars, the fence, the crypt, and the tombstones. See the ghost in the crypt? We’ve named her Jane. I even made Jane by gluing pieces of cheesecloth onto a Styrofoam head and wire arms. Over time, she became very old and ragged, the perfect ghost! We purchased all of the skeletons to add finishing touches to our graveyard.

See the gate of the fence? It stays padlocked and closed until Halloween when we open it to let the dead wander free!

It takes three-and-half hours to set all of this up. But it’s a lot of fun! My biggest thrill is to see the cars slow down to look at the graveyard as they pass by.

Speaking of ghosts, I have a new boxed set of my Lost Souls series out, including Episodes 1 - 4. Just in time for Halloween! Specially priced at 99 cents for the month of October. 

Lost Souls Boxed Set
Souls who refuse to pass into the afterlife become wandering spirits, trapped between the world of the living and the dead. These are the Lost Souls. Some of these Lost Souls have banded together, uniting to fight against an evil endangering both their existence and the safety of the human world they once inhabited. This evil has taken shape in unholy creatures called the Changed, beings who were once Lost Souls but who are now dark, dangerous and disturbed monsters. The Changed feed on the energy of the Lost Souls, growing stronger with each Lost Soul they drain. The ultimate goal of the Changed is to harness enough energy to return to the land of the living by possessing the body of a human. The mission of the Lost Souls is to stop them.

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