Make sure to get permission and notify all the proper authorities in advance of this activity. We used this at least twice with great results. Divide your whole group into smaller groups of 3 – 4 each (mix the “scaredy-cats” with the “bravehearts”), with one adult chaparone per group. In advance of this night-time activity, gather information from a chosen cemetery (such as oldest headstone, youngest/oldest person in the cemetery, most unusual name, name most like your own, most unusual epitaph, someone born on your birthday, etc. Just use your own imagination), and then compile a list of about 25 items to be placed onto paper to be handed out to each participant in each group. Make sure that each person has a good flashlight, a pencil, and wears old clothes. Depending on the size of your group and the size of the cemetery, this activity could easily last at least an hour and a half.
Remember—whatever questions are on the list (and they should all be identical, but listed in different order for each group), the leader or youth director must know all the answers to the questions before the hunt begins. At the end of the pre-determined time limit (stick to it!), bring the whole group back to the starting place (preferably still outside), give them some refreshments, and begin your discussion about death and dying. Many young people have never been to a funeral, a cemetery, have not experienced death in their family, nor do they really relish the idea of talking about these things, but this activity will give an excellent opportunity to talk about this “appointment” called death and how one can prepare for it, in advance of course.Read more