Outdoor Halloween Decorating with Skeletons

Create a spooky Halloween skeleton display to add bone-chilling excitement to your outdoor Halloween decorations. These Halloween yard decorations will be amusing during the day but frightful at night.

Time to Climb

These gutsy guys don't need to worry about broken bones as they caper from porch to rooftop. Easy to pose and secure with nearly invisible fishing line, the plastic skeletons can withstand the weather and hang out the entire season.

Spooky Stories

Looks like someone got lost in the woods. Luckily these camping skeletons still know how to have fun. Mimic a campfire with red and yellow crepe-paper streamers attached to a box fan. Surround the fan with logs, rocks, and a tent for a skeleton scene inspired by the great outdoors. 

Editor's Tip: How you hang or pose your figures will depend on what types of skeletons you have. Keep in mind plastic skeletons bend more easily, but anatomical model skeletons are more lifelike. Be prepared to improvise!

Worked to Death

These poor construction employees worked themselves to death. Create the scene with roadblock signs made from plywood and spray paint. A pile of loose rocks and construction tools give the skeletons something to do. Chalk lines finish the cracked effect.

Skeletal Sweets

Apparently this ice cream was to die for. Set up a dessert social for your skeleton decorations with enormous ice cream cones and all the fixings. Come Halloween night, swap out the ice cream for candy. 

Punk Rock

Rock on—even once you've passed on—with this punk band skeleton display. Position your skeletons to play instruments, and let them rock the latest fashion trends on your porch. Keep an eye out for used musical equipment at thrift stores, and don't pass on a piece even if it's broken. No one but you will know.  

Quoth the Raven

Reimagine a telling of Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem "The Raven" with this spooky setup. Create a mock library with an armchair, plush rug, and stocked bookcase. Position your skeletons so one is sitting on the chair and reading while the other listens to the story nearby.

Editor's Tip: Instead of hauling out heavy books, wrap lightweight cardboard forms with book jackets or printed book-cover images. 

Power Up

This skeleton pair doesn't fear the electric chair. In fact, they're putting its voltage to good use. Set up a similar scene in your yard with an oversize wood chair and a baking station. A skeleton dog begging for scraps completes the scene. 

Into the Web

Halloween decorating took a turn for the worse when one of the skeletons toppled into a giant spider web. This scene is humorous during the day, but once night falls, the combination of skeletons and spiders is enough to spook any visitor. 

Ride or Die

Someone's enjoying the afterlife. This daredevil skeleton couple braves whitewater without any inhibitions. Create the scene by draping a blue dropcloth over porch stairs, then applying spray-foam insulation to create waves. Make sure to anchor the boats with enough weight so they don't tip forward. 

Squeaky Clean

Clean down to the bone with a bathtime-inspired skeleton display. These not-so-scary Halloween decorations are perfect if you have younger kids. Giant galvanized tubs serve as tubs; clear Christmas ornaments look like bubbles. When trick-or-treaters arrive, turn on a real bubble machine for a fun flourish.

Editor's Tip: Buy clear plastic ornaments instead of glass. Even if they break, the plastic won't be as much of a safety hazard. 

Artsy Bones

These artistic skeleton decorations capture every detail—right down to the bone! Scour thrift stores for a skeleton-inspired painting—or paint one yourself—for this display. Position two skeletons so one's acting as the artist and the other his muse. 

Picnic Pose

Everybody loves a fall picnic—just ask the graveyard shift! Dolled up for their outing in hats, scarves, and ties, these perpetual picnickers are propped up with rebar stakes pushed into the ground. Spread a blanket and top it with a woven hamper, faux fruit, and a Thermos. Fill the Thermos with pebbles, and use ground stakes to hold the blanket in place.

Editor's Tip: If you want your outdoor Halloween decorations to stick around, use weather-resistant props.

Stood Up

Poor chaps. It looks like their dates never arrived! Dressed in simple finery of top hats, silky bow ties, and red carnations, the eerie ensemble of skeletal squires makes guests wonder what kept their dates. Propping up our ethereal escorts is a snap; simply push lengths of rebar through their rib cages and into the ground.

Editor's Tip: Search for inexpensive skeletons at thrift stores, or take your search online. Medical stores will often discount anatomical models that have slight imperfections.

Hide and Seek

Caught climbing trees and burrowing in a pile of fall leaves, these scampering Halloween skeleton decorations prove you're never too old to play outside. Secure these bad boys with lashings of fishing line, and they're ready to make merry mayhem.

Editor's Tip: A variety of skeleton types are available online—some pose, some stand, some bend. Choose the type that meets your decorating needs.

Chilling Croquet

Create the petrified poses of croquet-playing Halloween skeletons by tying them with fishing line to long stakes pushed into the ground. Secure the croquet mallets to skeletons with fishing line. Unwinding with a cool glass of lemonade, the jointed old duffer in the lawn chair is simply propped in place.

Editor's Tip: Strike playful poses with your Halloween skeleton decorations that are easy to alter and will keep neighbors guessing: one day, your skeleton is playing a lively game of croquet; the next day he's raking leaves.

Halloween Hostess

Some hostesses love handing out sweets to trick-or-treaters so much that they can't give it up—even after they've passed on. This sophisticated skeleton decoration on a stand makes a spirited first impression at the front door. Her posable arms provide the brace for a sweet-laden tray hot-glued to her hands.

Editor's Tip: Extend the skeleton theme in other fun ways. Dangle miniature glow-in-the-dark skeletons from tree branches, or prop fake bones in a dirt-filled wagon or wheelbarrow.

Groovy Graveyard

Create a spine-tingling scene sure to entertain guests and passersby with eerie Halloween yard decorations. Use slabs of foam, paint, and readily available props to assemble a family plot full of fun.

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