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The Skeleton Garden Skeletons

Skeletons on the Bench
The 'Mom' and 'Dad' Skeletons on a Bench in the Skeleton Garden
For the 2006/7 It's a Skull World concept of this room, there was supposed to be a skeleton sitting at the base of the large tree with has back against the tree and perhaps one knee up. Like he was resting there or enjoying the scenery or something. He was basically just window dressing - I thought it would be funny to have a skeleton enjoying a garden with skeleton plants and a skeleton tree in it. (It's also sort of odd. Imagine sitting with you back against a tree out of which were protruding arms, legs and heads. But that's not really the point.)

The Skeletons on the Bench

Fast forward to 2013 when I modified the idea from it's original concept into a skeleton garden, I decided to incorporate an homage to a scene in the background of the movie Beetlejuice. This part of the scene was in the background while the Maitlands were talking to Juno, their caseworker. I liked because 1) The poses of the two skeletons was so nonchalant and 2) They were skeletons. What can I say? I like skeletons.

Red and Green Skeleton in the Background
The Red and Green Skeletons in Beetlejuice Who Served as Inspiration
Without side-tracking this page too much (God forbid!), while I was looking for images of these two, I learned that this was not the only time director Tim Burton had stuck these two into the background of his movie. The IMDB page for Beetlejuice says that they are the same as the skeletons used in the movie Mars Attacks! I am going to guess that this is referring to the scene where the aliens zap congress.

Regardless, I wanted to include them in the haunt because I'd always liked them. So the skeleton sitting under the tree became the those two. I needed a bench for them to sit on. My friend John Samyn had volunteered to help with this room and he is very good at making such things, so I asked him to build the bench. He and his son Johnny did so - and it worked out perfectly.

Skeletons on the Bench
Photo: Delan Robbins
Another Shot of the Two in Black Light
Painting the skeletons was simplicity itself. I covered the teeth with masking tape (because they glow in the movie as you see above) and just spray-painted them. I used red fluorescent on the red skeleton and glow paint on the green one. I chose glow paint for the green one because I thought the green one looked sort of normal in the screen cap and I wanted to be faithful. While glow paint looks clear in the light (as you see in the images below center and right), it looks green in black light. So I guess that worked, although glow paint is much more expensive than fluorescent. If I had to do it again, I'd use green fluorescent. Then I sprayed the teeth of the red one with glow paint to mimic the movie.

When we first got the skeletons to the haunted house, I didn't have the reference image, so John's son just stuck them on the bench as you see below center. The next trip, I remembered my reference photo. I couldn't pose them exactly like the movie because I was using cheap blow-molded plastic skeletons which had only limited posability. I tried turning the head of the red skeleton, but it produced some alarming cracking sounds and I decided to leave well enough alone. Then I wired the pair of them to the bench. I liked this so much, I kept it.

Painted Skeletons in Black Light
The Red & Blue Paint Coats
Skeletons in the Wrong Position on the Bench
No...no... They look like two drunks here.
Skeletons on Bench in Proper Positions
Skeletons in the (Mostly) Proper Position

The Girl on the Swing

Skeleton Garden - Girl on Swing
Photo: Delan Robbins
The Girl on a Swing in the Haunt.

The concept for the blue skeleton girl came about when I was sitting on my friend John's porch during Halloween 2012. I noticed a lot of little girls were wearing cutsey pink and purple monster costumes. Monsters had been co-opted by little girl's costume makers! Then it occurred to me that it would be really funny to put a skeleton in a cutsey pink and purple skeleton costume. (Kind in the same way a skeleton resting against a tree full of skeleton parts would be funny, I guess.) So at the November 1st Halloween clearance sales, I picked up such a costume.

The blue skeleton was simple to do. It was another cheap blow-molded plastic skeleton I had picked up on clearance. Getting it into the costume proved to be a bit tricky because, in keeping with the 'cheap' moniker, the joints kept popping out. Eventually I tore the plastic in the torso and I wound up having to wire the arm in place so it wouldn't fall out.

Unfortunately, cutsey pink and purple girl's skeleton costumes are made of something that doesn't iridesce in black light, so I actually wound up painting the colorful parts of the costume with glow paint. It seemed ironic to me. OTOH, it made sure that the blinding fluorescence of clothing didn't overshadow the blue fluorescent paint on the skeleton.

The swing was another matter. I had bought some thick blue and white nylon rope (figuring it would glow faintly - which it did.) Then I took a plank and ran the nylon rope into it, tying knots underneath in the best swing tradition. Being composed of cheap blow-molded plastic, the hands had no joints, so I got out my heat gun and formed them to the rope as best I could.

I then planned to screw her legs down and attach her hands with wires and be done with it. However, try as I may, the skeleton wouldn't balance properly on the swing; it kept trying to tip her off. So I added two balancing ropes to the swing which sort of worked. (And sort of didn't. She still tipped forward.) In addition, I found the support ropes kept slipping on the nylon, so I eventually wound up wiring them into the nylon rope. Even then she tipped forward, but not so much that it looked completely wrong.

The Skeleton Painted Blue
The Skeleton Painted Blue
Skeleton on Swing
The Blue Skeleton on
the Swing
Blue Skeleton Test in Black Light
Test of the Blue Skeleton
in Black Light
The Skeleton Eating Rope
The Blue Skeleton in the Truck - She Wound Up Chewing
on the Swing Rope. (Maybe she thinks me a bad driver

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