Halloween isn’t just about scaring up sweets from the neighbours. Use the occasion to deck out your haunt with decorations that’ll spook the kids.
Using lights for this event is much like Christmas lighting, except less festive, more frightening! Don’t have them too bright – a simple solar-powered kit is a good option. If you are using plug-in lights, make sure they are rated for exterior use, don’t overload a circuit, and use a power centre that has its own safety switch.
If you are going to make a skeleton or other creepy characters, make them life-size for maximum impact. As they may be out on howling nights, they need to be well made, so use 15mm plywood. This fullheight skeleton is enough to give anyone a scare. It is made from a half sheet of 15mm plywood and the arms and legs are articulated. It’s a simple matter of transferring the outline of the body parts to a grid drawn on plywood, cutting out with a jigsaw, then painting the bones a ghostly white. Once you have Ol’ Bones sorted, try other ghoulish creatures such as ghosts, bats, ravens and spiders. There are plenty of public domain images on the internet.
Gather your supplies
1200 x 1200 x 15mm plywood; jigsaw with normal and scroll blades; sander; .” x 38mm bolts (8); .” washers (8); .” Nylok lock nuts (8); Dulux Weathershield Low Sheen in Vivid White; drill and bits; Skeleton diagram
Step 1 If using a 1200mm square sheet of plywood, draw a square grid of 120 x 120mm on the sheet. For a smaller skeleton, use a 900 x 900mm sheet and use 90 x 90mm grid. To copy shape of body parts onto grid, mark where outlines of shapes cross grid lines, then join them up. And if you are slightly out, it doesn’t really matter. After all, it’s not as if the skeleton is going to give you a ribbing!
Step 2 With parts drawn on board, you could go out on a limb and say they’re not very scary, so you need to cut them out. Use jigsaw with fast-cutting general blade to cut along broad curves. Use this to separate the body parts.
Step 3 With jigsaw unplugged, swap over to scrolling blade to do entire detail cutting. This is because the wider general blade will not get into tight curves.
Step 4 Cut around all detail of ribs and limbs with jigsaw and scrolling blade.
Step 5 To cut out holes in skeleton, first drill an 8mm hole near inside edge of each hole outline, then cut out with scrolling blade in jigsaw. Keep cutting until all components have been cut.
Step 6 Don’t be a lazybones and cut corners! Sand limbs and torso to remove rough edges and smooth out curves.
Step 7 Lay skeleton out on a bench with limbs in correct positions. Bore through each joint with a 7mm bit where indicated. Also bore a mounting hole in top of skull.
Step 8 Test-join pieces with ¼” x 38mm bolt, washer between limbs and locking nut on back.
Step 9 Dismantle skeleton and paint him with 2 coats of Vivid White. Use a mini roller for most surfaces and edges where you can, and use a small brush in tight corners and to brush his teeth. Paint him front and back to protect him against weather.
Step 10 When dry, rejoin limbs with 38mm bolts, washers and nuts, then use a spanner and a screwdriver to tighten joints. Adjust tension of locking nuts so joints are secure but also free to move. After all, Ol’ Bones has enough to deal with without adding arthritis to his woes.
Step 11 Your skeleton will be happy to hang on a wall using a screw or two. Here, a screw was driven into an existing wall plug, leaving Ol’ Bones to hang by the skin of his teeth.