Introduction: Oogie Boogie Halloween Decoration

So...who doesn't LOVE The Oogie Boogie Man?! He'so devilishly lovable we just had to have him. But not many are to be found, so I was inspired by what I saw online and decided to make my own.

Big fans, my wife and I, of Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas" movie, so it was natural for us to want something for our Halloween displays. After a purchase of a Jack Skellington animatronic, I figured, "what the heck, I went and did my best, and by God I really tasted something swell..."

Step 1: Materials: Cost <$80 About 10 Hours Work

7 yards burlap fabric

roll of cotton pillow batting

1 roll chicken wire

1 five-foot tomato plant wire tree

1 six foot planting stake

3 circular metal plant supports or heavy gauge wire that can hold shape

1 small roll steel wire and/or heavy-duty tie-wraps

1 dozen hot glue sticks- (1/2 inch thick or equivalent)

hot glue gun

box of large safety pins

black yarn

heavy duty canvas needle or darning needle & thread needle (curved if possible)

tan thread

2 sq feet black fabric

Styrofoam head

5 foot foam pool float tube (at least 3 inches thick)

assortment of cartoonish insects

at least 2 dozen plastic grocery bags

3/8 inch copper tubing (4 feet)

3/8 inch co-ax cable TV wire (or equivalent) (2 feet)

1 can fluorescent lime spray paint

pliers & wire cutters

2 foam dice (2 1/2 inch square) (Dollar Store) or equivilent

X-Acto knife, matte knife

acrylic paints - red/black

2 snakes

Step 2: Building the Support Frame

I scratched my head a lot (like the professor) and pretty much winged it as I went. There is no one way to accomplish this. I basically tied all the wire forms together firmly, making sure there would be no shifting or movement, adding hoops of wire while keeping in mind the basic shape that I wanted to end up with. I planned to make Oogie's arms and head-point the only bendable features. Foam tubes were added to give bulk and smooth the harsh edges. The chicken wire gave his body form and provided a base for the cotton pillow batting and burlap fabric. The Styrofoam head was spiked onto the extended planting stake to which copper tubing was secured to form the pointy head.The other end of the planting stake touched the floor.

Step 3: Building Boogie's Skin

All seams were hot-glued. Stitching is purely decorative (black yarn) with exception where tan thread was used for camouflaged reinforcement where needed. Arms and head were built from separate pieces of fabric. The body used the bulk of the burlap, starting from the bottom, up and over (hole cut for the head) and down again. The bottoms were tucked and terminated underneath; side seams created by folding inwards and gluing to avoid a frayed edge.

Each arm was formed using two mirroring fabric pieces glued together to create a hollow cone and was slid over the arm forms and stuffed with plastic bags. I used plastic bags in case this guy ever got wet. The last thing I wanted was a droopy Boogie.The shoulder seams are a visual effect made by folding and gluing to keep the illusion that he is held together by one circumferential seam, like in the movie.

Pillow batting was secured to the chicken wire before gluing the side seams. His side seams were pulled just tight enough to allow for fabric creasing, since he is basically a saggy sack of bugs. Feet were formed by stuffing with bags and securing with glue (my picture of the feet could not be up-righted - sorry, I tried).

I used large safety pins as I went, to assist in holding fabric in place until it was secured. They were then removed.

Step 4: Building Oogie's Head and Face

Getting the face right was critical. I figured I could screw up the body, but the face would make or break the whole project. I borrowed some ideas on facial structure from kristylynn84, an "Instructables" favorite who built an Oogie Boogie costume (great job Kristy), and added a few tricks of my own, and I am very happy with the results.

This is is were the sewing and pinning helped tremendously. Take your time as you fold and glue until it looks right. The head-point was built by wrapping the copper tubing extending from the head with plastic bags, tapering to a point, then wrapping the burlap around it,while maintaining a visual seam.

I originally wanted the mouth to have some flexibility as I had wished to make facial changes, but learned that the hollow copper tubing could bend sharply if too much pressure is applied so I decided to leave it undisturbed. The copper tubing was bent into a mouth shape and wrapped in fabric to soften the lips. Black stitching on the lips was pulled snug to give a puckered effect and black magic marker softened its appearance. The eyebrows are simply CATV wire sewn behind the fabric to add some rigidity and form. Once complete, black fabric was cut and glued into place for the inner mouth and eyes.

To avoid the face section from looking like a hood, I glued it flat against the body and blended its ends into the body creases to minimize its impact. I wanted him to look like he was made from a single piece of material.

Step 5: Creative Effects


Haphazard stitching so he doesn't look too neat. "Open" and "torn" seams give the illusion he's bursting open with colorful, non-threatening bugs escaping.


Cut the plastic wobbly snake in half and worked a wire through its center core to create rigidity and to allow manipulation. Pulled it tight from the rear and secured it to the center core.


A silly spider hanging from his head-point was chosen to soften Oogie's angry demeanor.


The spongy foam dice sliced up real easy with utility and X-Acto knives. I followed the movie's lead using their skeleton figures on each side. Their rough hewn appearance allowed for imperfections that in fact make it look better once painted. A small snake was painted and worked through the dice holes reminiscent of a scene in the movie. A thin wire separates the dice to give the illusion of being mid-toss.


I wasn't planning to have him under ultraviolet light, so I gave him his glowing green finish with lime green florescent paint. A slight green appearance sufficed. Glow-in-the-dark paint could have been used but it would have been invisible in normal lighting and was pretty expensive.

Step 6: POSING

Oogie Boogie stands in my home tilted at a slight angle and peering around a door at Jack Skellington. Lighting angles improve his appearance tremendously enhancing his ominous presence. Strobes help even better.

Maybe next year I try my hand at Boogie's Boys hee hee hee hee heee!

Halloween Contest 2017

Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2017