This has to be my most favorite project I have created this year. I really can’t remember how the inspiration came for this one, I have not seen this sort of thing around the Halloween sites that I peruse for ideas. All I remember is thinking “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Halloween sign devoted to sharing scary named places?”. This is a long process so it’s best to set aside a few afternoons devoted to working on this project. You will need the following:
A post for the signs to hang from (we used a huge tree that had fallen behind our office)
Several boards for each place (we used some fencing that was torn down behind our office)
Spray paint (or an acrylic paint) in the colors of your choice. I suggest bright neon colors
Black or White paint for the lettering
Clear spray paint to protect your boards from rain
Hammer and nails (semi-rusty ones are great for this project!)
The very first thing you need to do is decide on which places you want to feature on your sign. I went to Google Maps and would start typing in words like “Scary” or “Devil” and see what I found. I made a list of about 50 places. On top of that, you can use some of the usually known places like Frankenstein Germany. I made a point to also feature a road near my home called “Spooks Branch”.
I also included how many miles the spooky place was from my home. Google Maps is not the best option for this step, I highly recommend a site called Distance From To. I also used a compass app to determine which direction faced where, that way I could figure out which way to place the sign on the post.
The next step was to actually gather the wood. For creepiness, I recommend finding some used wood and a tall tree. However, if you prefer buying wood, that’s fine!
The next step was to clean each and every board we had. Since we were using old fencing, we were able to snap them in half and have more boards available for use. This is extra great in case you make a mistake (and we did!).
The next job was to put a white primer on each board. I had not originally planned to do that but I was advised that the color of the spray paint would be absorbed into the wood and not be near as vibrant. I am very glad I took that advice!
Be advised! This is a very messy job so make sure your clothes are ones you don’t mind getting paint on.
Of course after the primer dries, it’s time to paint. I do recommend using a spray paint as it makes for a much quicker job. I found drying times shorter with the spray paint as opposed to the primer and lettering paints. I also recommend using vibrant bright colors. If you can, get the neon. I opted for orange, purple, and neon green. Feel free to experiment with other colors. Or do it the old fashioned way, no primer and plain white on the board.
Next is the lettering. I highly urge you to do this by hand and without stenciling. It’s super creepy looking that way. Be sure you leave space at the bottom of the board for an arrow you will place later. You will need a good long drying time (at least an hour) after writing out your place. One thing we found out by accident was that the black paint would run. I liked it and it really adds to the creepiness. If you don’t want that paint to run though, be sure to lay them flat to dry.
Here is where I share a lesson I learned. I had left my boards out overnight and because of the dew, the boards didn’t dry. We actually lost a few boards because the paint ran so much from the dew that they were no longer readable. So be sure you bring them inside if you work on them later in the evening!
Now for the super fun part, assembly. The very first part of this is to think about placement of post. We have a fence so we chose to NOT put our post in the ground but to tie it to the fence. That will make for easier tear down after Halloween and make for easier set up next year. If you choose to tie it to the fence, I recommend using a corner post. It’s just easier and for us puts our sign closer to the road. If you choose to put yours in the ground, don’t forget the post hole digger!
So here is the tricky part. Each sign needs to run perpendicular to the direction it is from your home or the approximate spot on your property. It’s okay to fudge this a bit! We simply took each board and figured out which way that one should run. We then nailed the board to the post, then painted an arrow beneath the lettering to point to the proper direction. We had originally tried to do the arrows ahead of time but ran into a logistics issue and waiting worked best for us. Another thing to consider when placing signs is to have them neat and orderly or tilted and skewed. We opted for tilted and skewed. After everything was nailed and arrows painted & dried, we sprayed all the boards with clear spray paint.
And there you have it, your own Spooky Places Sign. It’s really not hard to make but can be time consuming. Including drying times we estimated it took us about 7-8 hours total. However this was with 2 people working on the project. More people will take off some of that time and less people will add to that. Expense-wise we only spent about $50 since we used a lot of what we already had and we only really needed paint and painting supplies.