Visiting a cemetery in the fall is a great spooky activity to get you and your family in the Halloween spirit! Read on for how to prepare and for some ideas for once you get there…
Before you head out
Visit http://maps.google.com to get a list of cemeteries in your area and their street locations. Pack up some oversized paper, tape, and crayons (the chunky ones are best) or simple bring your digital camera, I found it captures the inscriptions nicely as long as the stone is in good condition. Wear comfortable shoes and pants than you don’t mind getting dirty (you may have to kneel down and get close to read some of the older stones). Also, you may want to remind your children to be respectful during you visit.
Have a look around! It can be fun just to explore and read the stones and get a feel for lives long past. You can also have a competition to see who can find the oldest gravestone. We live in a coastal New England community and were able to locate a 17th century stone, 1698 to be exact! It can also be interesting to note popular names from centuries past (we found several women with the first name Thankful), locate your favorite decorative carving or motif, and read and discuss some of the more elaborate epitaphs. Here is a short rather touching example from a gravestone for a 15 month old girl named Kezia who died in 1819:
This lovely bud so young & fair,
Called hence by early doom,
Just come to show how a flower,
In paradice will bloom
So give it a try! It’s something different, gets the family out of the house, doesn’t cost anything, and it doesn’t involve Halloween candy! Best wishes for a Happy and Safe Halloween!