Pumpkin Skeleton From PVC and Pool Noodles



Introduction: Pumpkin Skeleton From PVC and Pool Noodles

About: Purpose is to design cheap and affordable DIY creations, robotics, automated toys, and tools.

Make a lawn Halloween decoration in the form of 8 to 10 ft. tall Pumpkin Skeleton.

I base this design on an awesome pumpkin skeleton at a local hardware store, but they were sold out. Link here. So, I wanted to make my own using a styrofoam pumpkin, electrical PVC piping, and pool noodles.

Plus, the pool noodles and electrical PVC piping are left over from other projects. I initially bought my pool noodles because I wanted to create a Guardians of the Galaxy Groot costume. But after a week walking around on painter's stilts, I realized it would not be fun. So, using it for a pumpkin skeleton is a great re-use of materials.


Pool noodles (QTY 10)

spray paint

1/2 in. x 10 ft. PVC Schedule 40 Conduit (QTY 3)

Heat gun


Steel wire (100 ft. 10 lb. 24-Gauge Galvanized Steel Wire) This can be substituted with twine or cable ties (zip ties).

Wire cutters

Styrofoam Pumpkin

Tape (painters tape is preferred)

Utility knife (long) This can be substitued with scissors or any cutting utensil


Duct tape

(Optional: LED Lights and vines)

Step 1: Bend PVC Piping

Summary: Using heatgun, bend PVC piping into a standing skeleton shape.

  1. Stick one PVC pipe into the ground. It may be necessary to dig a hole and fill around the pipe in order to get the PVC pipe deep enough to support weight.
  2. Using heatgun, bend PVC pipe at 2.5 ft. for knee.
  3. Bend PVC pipe at 5 ft. (2.5 ft. away from last bend) for waist. Try to bend so that center of gravity for the head will be over the knee.
  4. Bend PVC pipe at 1 ft. from end for neck to support styrofoam pumpkin.
  5. Stick second PVC pipe into ground at roughly 3 ft away from first PVC.
  6. Slightly Bend second PVC pipe near ground in direction of first PVC.
  7. Bend second PVC pipe roughly 2 ft from last bend for knee. When bending, try to point thigh toward waist of first PVC.
  8. Bend second PVC pipe so that waist bend is parallel to first PVC pipe.
  9. Temporarily, tie both PVC pipes together.
  10. Bend second PVC pipe below neck bend to form shoulder. When bending, try to cross over the first PVC to form an "H."
  11. Untie the two PVC.
  12. Temprorarily, tie a third PVC pipe to the shoulder bend of the second PVC and then tie to the first PVC where it crosses so that torso forms a triangle.
  13. Bend the third PVC pipe to form arms with elbows.

Step 2: Cut Pool Noodles Into Vine Shapes

Follow the directions and pictures that I provided in this instructible to form the vine shaped arms and legs. Or watch a video here that this person made.

  1. Use tape to mark pool noodles at the base. (NOTE: I also used a strap, but that is optional)
  2. Wrap tape in a spiral around pool noodles. Repeat spiral 2 more times. (NOTE: I don't recommend more than 3 spirals because the pool noodle strips will break.)
  3. Cut along spirals.
  4. Remove tape.
  5. Repeat for each pool noodle to form the arms and legs.
  6. Experiment by cutting spirals as separated or try cutting spirals so that only the middle spreads apart. It may be necessary to cut spirals based on using full length of pool noodle or pool noodle shortened by cutting in half.

Step 3: Cut Pool Noodles to Form Hands and Chest

Make the Hands

  1. Cut pool noodles into short strips.
  2. Cut strips into different lengths to form fingers.
  3. Use duct tape to wrap around and shape fingers
  4. Repeat for other hand. (NOTE: make sure to make mirror image of hand.)

Make the Neck and Rib Cage

  1. Tape off the base of the pool noodle. This part will not be cut.
  2. Cut pool noodle into long strips to form neck and downward ribs of the rib cage.
  3. Cut pool noodles into long strips to use as wrap-around ribs of rib cage.

Step 4: Carve Styrofoam Pumpkin

Summary: My directions are a bit simplistic. If you want a better tutorial, go here.

  1. Use a marker to draw pattern.
  2. Cut out pattern.
  3. Cut a hole out of bottom for the PVC piping. (NOTE: Unfortunately, my pumpkin already had a hole to use for a light.)

Step 5: Assemble Everything Together


  1. Untie PVC piping so that pool noodles can be slid into place.
  2. Slide vines for feet into place with vines toward the ground.
  3. Slide vines for lower leg into place.
  4. Use vines to wrap and hold pool noodle in place.
  5. Wrap one vine around PVC and let others hang for character.
  6. Slide vines for thigh into place.
  7. Repeat for other leg.
  8. NOTE: For variety, unwrap vines and then wrap only the ends of one or two so that it looks like a bulge of vines. Or if a vine is made by cutting only the middle, invert one end and slide onto PVC to create a bulge.
  9. NOTE: As the frame moved, the ground holes widened causing the frame to become unbalanced. I used additional stakes and twine to stake the legs to add more support.

Lower Back

  1. Slide vines for lower back and waist into place.
  2. Wrap one vine around other pipe. This will help make it look natural.
  3. Wrap another vine in the opposite down direction to add a tangled look.
  4. Wrap one vine around other pipe.
  5. Tie frame back together.
  6. NOTE: I used a thicker pool noodle at the lower back to give variety and asymmetry to the skeletal figure.

Arms and Hands

  1. Slide vines into place for arms.
  2. Install hands last. Tape to secure.
  3. Wrap loose vines or let hang for character.
  4. NOTE: I ran out of PVC so I let one arm just hang from the shoulder.

Chest, Neck, and Head

  1. Slide vines onto neck with vines pointing down.
  2. Tape tip of vines together while shaping vines into a rib cage.
  3. Place pumpkin on neck.

Step 6: Paint, Add Lights, and Ready for Trick-or-Treat

  1. Paint.
  2. OPTIONAL: Add real vines. I used real vines for the leaves.
  3. OPTIONAL: Install lights. I used battery operated LEDs.

All hail the Pumpkin King!!


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Pumpkins & Gourds Speed Challenge

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