The Wall Street Journal just did a story titled, “To Attract Future Customers, Cemeteries Hold Parties to Die For.”
Cemeteries are holding dances, concerts, barbecues, sky diving contests, anything to get people into the cemetery for an event besides a funeral. From the article:
The goal: to nurture warm feelings about the cemetery, in hopes that folks who come to cheer sky-divers today will return in more somber tomorrows.
“It gets them into the cemetery, but not in a scary way, and if they have a nice experience, maybe they’ll say, ‘I want my family there,’ ” explains William F. Griswold, Jr., executive superintendent of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Conn., which holds regular scavenger hunts.
A few cemeteries have been doing such outreach for years. Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles draws thousands to summertime films projected on mausoleum walls. Michigan Memorial Park in Flat Rock, Mich., has long invited disabled children to fishing derbies held at a serene pond amid the headstones.
In 1986, The Wall Street Journal did a front page feature about Larry Anspach, co-founder of Funeralwise.com, when he ran the Cedar Park Cemetery in Chicago. Mr. Anspach utilized somewhat unconventional promotional events to get folks visiting the cemetery. They included Easter egg hunts, pumpkin decorating contests, tram rides through the graveyard and a cemetery photo contest.
If you’ve got access to the Wall Street Journal archives, look up the full article. It ran on Wednesday, October 15, 1986.