Halloween is coming up … seems like an appropriate time to talk about cemeteries. Cemeteries are mysterious and scary, right?
No!! Cemeteries are beautiful and amazing! Even the old ones!
Kids can have a wonderful time exploring cemeteries with their parents or grandparents. Here are some tips to make your cemetery visits more fun:
- Pick a nice-weather day.
- Pack water and a picnic lunch (or better yet, pick up the kids’ favorite fast-food on the way … they’ll learn to LOVE cemeteries if you make it special like that!) Always be respectful of the cemetery by taking away your trash.
- Bring along stories and photos of the people whose graves you’ll be visiting. Cemetery time should be story time!
- Make a contest to see who can find an ancestor’s headstone first!
- Read a variety of headstones and see what you can learn. Grave markers can teach us a lot, and they’re interesting! Do some math and see if you can find anyone who lived to be 100 years old. Did anyone in the cemetery serve in the military? Do you have the same name as anyone who is buried in the cemetery? What is the most interesting epitaph you can find (“epitaph” means the words inscribed on the headstone)? Are there any special symbols or markers on your ancestors’ stones? Here you can see a gold plate attached to our ancestor Margarett’s stone. It commemorates the fact that she was one of Utah’s original pioneers:
- Observe customs for paying respect to those who have died. If it fits within cemetery rules, bring flowers or pebbles. This is a great hands-on way for kids to connect with those who have passed.
- Always, always treat grave markers carefully. Cemeteries are special places for families to honor and remember their relatives … cemeteries are not for climbing.
Don’t be afraid! Go visit some cemeteries and let us know what fun you have with your family!