Introduction: Climbing Halloween Skeletons

Picture of Climbing Halloween Skeletons

I started this project, based on the plans at The difference is that I wired the skeleton's joints together inside, rather than gluing them, like he did. Anyway, I know that the prop is fairly effective since I have already had cars slowing down on my street to check it out!

Okay, it's my first instructible, so bear with me a bit.

Step 1: Start With a Cheapo Blow Mold Skeleton ...

Picture of Start With a Cheapo Blow Mold Skeleton ...

I bought this at one of the Halloween super stores that pop up every year, so I probably paid way more than I should have. If you wait until after Oct 31st, you can probably find these for cheap cheap!

It is a simple, 5 foot tall, blow mold skeleton, made from cheap plastic and popped together by inserting a little tab into a hole in the next bone. The problem is that the joints don't bend well, and they pop out really easy.

Step 2: Sewing the Joints Together...

Picture of Sewing the Joints Together...

I poked a hole in the skeleton's hand and threaded some picture hanging wire through the hand and out the tab. I then inserted it through the other bones until I had about 2 or 3 feet hanging out of the shoulder end of the humerous (top bone in the arm).

And then I tied it off around the hand.

Step 3: I Did the Same With Each Foot and Leg.

Picture of I Did the Same With Each Foot and Leg.

I missed the photo of this next step some how but, hopefully, I can describe it:

Each leg thread goes into the hip section at the hip joint, and out through the spine joint. Then it gets threaded up through the chest area.

I needed to use a bent coat hanger to work as giant sowing needle to pull the threads up. It also helped when I was threading the arm wires through the shoulder sockets and up through the top of the neck.

So, if you have done this right, you should have 4 pieces of wire sticking out of the neck of the skeleton.

Tie them off around the neck bone and put the skull on top and you are ready to hang your skeleton where ever you like!

I used some left over wire to hook these guys to my window shutters and the gutter. Word of warning: do not climb ladders by yourself! Get someone to hold the bottom or take you to the emergency room!

In the future, I will use black coated wire, since I am concerned that the picture wire might scratch the paint or rust a bit.

Happy Halloween everyone!


loripaladino made it! (author)2017-07-28

Or...just buy the pose able skeletons and attach to your house with fishing line/nails/zip ties. Much easier and faster. Plus the pose able skeletons look much more realistic.

mckeephoto (author)loripaladino2017-07-28

Looks awesome! Happy Haunting!

conny.buxmeyling made it! (author)2014-10-14

Ok so Ive never done this before but I am posting the witched I made for this years Halloween theme of the "Witch Garden"....

Nicely done!

jpark1 (author)2011-09-23

you could also use fishing line( doesn't rust and cheaper).

mckeephoto (author)jpark12011-09-23

Yes, you could. However, unless you are using firewire, it will stretch when the wind blows.

And, I get more cuts from fishing with firewire every year... ;-)

But, definitely worth a try, if you don't have hanging wire.

The hanging wire I use doesn't seem to actually rust. Weird. Never thought of that!

hitachi8 (author)mckeephoto2014-09-26

some wire are galvanized (zinc), the zinc must go away for the iron to oxydise (rust).

pheaney (author)2011-08-11

I was wondering how to tweek my house for halloween. This is awesome and inexpensive....Will have several of them crawling on my house...Thanks

SeMi_AuToMaTic (author)2010-11-20

We did the same thing to our house, but instead buried it under the busch in our front yard. It looked like the skeleton was trying to climb out of an ancient grave or something!

Love it! Keep on haunting!

Granny_Leah (author)2010-10-27

I never thought of using wire, I use clothesline to tie the skeletons together.
With all the windstorms we get in October they wiggle all over the place.
Wire would work nicely where stability is needed.

frollard (author)2008-10-10

Excellent instructable! 5 from me! pssst...when you're doing the needle and thread thing, its 'sewing' not 'sowing'; the other kind is what you do to seeds in a field :D (step 2 title, and step three writeup) My haunted house should have something like this; perhaps next year.

gormly (author)frollard2008-10-12

This a fantastic and creative instructable! Frollard, there was NO need to correct him. Everyone knew what he meant. This "I am smarter than you" stuff needs to stop on the net. Thanks for letting us know how smart YOU are.

balloondoggle (author)gormly2008-10-12

I would tend to disagree with you, although I think the correction could have been sent in a private message or email. Minor errors like that are best corrected because they detract from the flow of an otherwise great piece of work. Typos and spelling errors are distracting and we can all do better. Without spellcheck, my own comment would be incomprehensible. And now, back to our regularly scheduled Instructable.

mckeephoto (author)balloondoggle2008-10-13

As the subject of your conversation, I have to chime in and say that I appreciate the edit... And the tone (if there is such a thing) that it was delivered. And the spirit of the message. A private email would have been more... well... private and, perhaps, saved a little face on my end. But, what the heck, this ain't brainsurgery (at least not in this instructible). And the error was my fault for not proofing. Thanks to all of you for your support and keeping it real!

feltonite (author)mckeephoto2010-10-27

And your graciousness is very admirable, too.

frollard (author)mckeephoto2008-10-14

Really, quite excellent either way! We usually hang one or two of these from a noose. There's a rather convenient signpost that hangs over our walkway - ideal for stringing these guys up.

frollard (author)gormly2008-10-14

Indeed; it could have been viewed that way. I tried to word that such that it was a friendly reminder; after having introduced as '5 from me' for being awesome. I appreciate your concern but there was no snide undertone. Alas; flat black text shall always twist the meanings of words on the 'intarwebz'.

gormly (author)frollard2008-10-16

true enough.. understood.

mckeephoto (author)frollard2008-10-14

Lol! Frollard, you have it exactly right! No snide tone taken. Happy Halloween!

snafell (author)2010-10-24

Picture wire is usually brass so no need to worry about rust and is also softer than steel.

mckeephoto (author)snafell2010-10-25

Good to know. Thanks, Andy!

jwystup (author)2010-10-14

Awesome! Definitely going to keep an eye out for after halloween sales on these guys. I happen to have one who is falling apart right now...

Lftndbt (author)2008-10-07

Simple and effective, brilliant!! I would love to see these even slighlty animated. Perhaps if even one knee joint would recieve a door hinge it may spookily sway will the wind.. Nice work once again!

mckeephoto (author)Lftndbt2008-10-08

Ooo. I like that idea. A little kinetic sculpture twist...

RetroPlayer (author)mckeephoto2008-10-08

Probably not enough time to implement it before this halloween, but I was envisioning some minor movement in the limbs to draw attention and a reaction to light (like car headlights or flashlight) that would cause the motion to stop and the head to turn towards the light source. The creepiest effect in any halloween display is when people think something is "aware" of them. That kicks in the whole paranoia factor that breaks through the rational, "eh, it's just a prop" defense and makes them feel, even if just for a second that maybe, just maybe, it isn't just a prop and they should run. :) That is, if that is what you are going for.

mckeephoto (author)RetroPlayer2008-10-09
Oo, you guys are sick! I love it!

Of course, it is way over my head for now (gotta read some more instructibles to figure these things out first). And, after tramatizing one of the neighbor's kids one year, I have to keep things under control a bit...

Then again, she is older now.. and you can hardly notice the twitching...

I did a video a couple of years ago when we went "whole hawg" on the front yard. No animatronics yet but you can see it here:

RetroPlayer (author)mckeephoto2008-10-09

One of the nice things about using skeletons is that people immediately know it can't be "a guy in a suit." It's when they can't figure out how the trick works that the irrational fear starts taking over. I think what I like most about this is that I don't live in the greatest area of town and I don't put up any props because they would get vandalized or stolen. These can be put high enough up on the house that I wouldn't have to worry about that. Add that to the fact none of my neighbors put up props for the same reason and it just makes this even more "unexpected" and therefore startling. Heh, maybe I should do it off-Halloween anyway, like when the college kids (not really any children in my neighborhood) are coming back from the bar (double vulnerability!)

Your idea is nifty golifty!!!! Mckeephoto!  10 out of 10!  Glad you won :0)
RetroPlayer, it sounds like we live in the same kind of neighbourhoods.  The police often hide in my driveway to catch drug deals going down  in the back alley...(my husband goes out to greet them and offer them coffee and dougnuts) can you imagine what their first impression would be if they found skeletons climbing my roof? lol! One night, some very intoxicated neighbours were walking their buddy up and down the lane "to sober him up" seems he just couldn't because, well... umm.. he had... "expired"..Shades of "Weekend at Bernie's"

RetroPlayer (author)mckeephoto2008-10-08

Maybe I will pick some of these up "the day after" and try to cobble something together. Seems the thin white plastic would be perfect for installing light sensors inside the head to sense the direction of the light. Turning the neck shouldn't be very difficult, and any limb movement could be simple cable control (no need to be precise, just enough to notice out of the corner of someone's eye and maybe make a little rustling noise.) Heh, maybe even a little whispering between them. One hanging on the side could turn towards the light source, and after some whispering, the one on the top of the roof would pop its head up a bit in a pouncing like stance. Maybe darken the plastic a little so it is not so easy to make out at night other than rough movements and make it easy enough to take down during the day and put up after dark.

brandon83 (author)2009-10-26

how do you attach them to the house? wire?

mckeephoto (author)brandon832009-10-26

All I used was some left over picture hanging wire. Same stuff I used to pull through the bodies to hold them together.

halo99 (author)2008-10-15

omg!! i live right next to you!! cool skeletons...

mckeephoto (author)halo992008-10-16

Thanks Halo99! Stop by on Halloween for some spooky fun!

halo99 (author)mckeephoto2008-10-16

ok! i'll be the zombie!!

albylovesscience (author)halo992009-09-29

lol its a small world

*booom* now its an even smaller world

Valster (author)2008-10-21

Great instructable! I will be looking for them on sale after 10/31. After a few years when this idea gets old you can freshen it up by dressing the skeletons. Vampire or pirate comes to mind. Start a theme! 5 stars*****!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-10-08


Anyways, wow, awesome Instructable! Looks great on your house (hopefully that is your house).

I would like to buy some skeletons, but my mom would be all like A DIGGITY DOW GET TO THE CHOPPAH!!!! I AM DA GOVUHNUR OF CAHFORNYA!!!

Sweet Instructable, I hope your house looks really freaky & cool in the end.

Hopefully you don't live around me...

+5/5 stars.

WAY funnier on a friend's house. when they don't know about it.

finnifog (author)2008-10-10

Is the foot bone connected to the leg bone ... :) Love it! Awesome and inspiring! Thanks for sharing this :)

professorred (author)finnifog2008-10-10

and the red thing is connected to the wrist watch. uh-oh. oops.

yarngeek (author)2008-10-09

This is awesome! I think I'd use zip ties to hang mine, just to avoid damage from the wires. I may just have to have one of these climbing my gutter and porch. You could also use a partial skeleton and have it coming "out of the ground" and climbing up something.

SteveGerber (author)2008-10-07

It would be really creepy if you opened a window part way and made it look like one was starting to crawl into your house!

mckeephoto (author)SteveGerber2008-10-08

The only issue I have with that is that we are in the Northeast and it is hitting 35f at night!

RetroPlayer (author)mckeephoto2008-10-08

Would it be possible to install an insulated box inside the window, like maybe a picnic cooler painted black?

Very Interesting (author)2008-10-08

Very cool! Great job on your first instructable!

Thanks! Got more on deck. Just need a few ... er... hours!

DIYDragon (author)2008-10-07

Nice, reminds me of pirates when they were climbing up the ship in the movie. I think I might make one with a pirate cutlass in his mouth. haha

RetroPlayer (author)2008-10-07

This seems like a great idea... now to figure out how to animate them!

canida (author)2008-10-07

Nice! That looks easy - I'll keep my eye out for skeletons during this year's sales.

About This Instructable




Bio: Commercial photographer with a need for some diy projects with the kiddies!
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