| |

DIY Halloween Decorations: Life-Sized Skeleton Bartender


I love Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday! Have I made that point clear yet? It’s the most wonderful time of the year. So every year when a new batch of fun Halloween decorations premieres, I am super excited to see what I might be able to snatch up (if I wait until November 1st for the clearance).

*this post contains affiliate links*
I get a commission when you buy through my links that goes towards the costs of hosting this free tutorial site.
Site operating fees are expensive but my commission costs you nothing. thanks for your support!

The following post contains affiliate links. As an Affiliate Marketing Associate I earn commissions from qualifying purchases. This helps me keep the free content coming.

Thanks for your support! xoxo

This year, my particular Halloween decor obsession is a Skeleton Statue from Grandin Road. The snag? It’s $500! No clearance sale will ever make that affordable. So I decided to make my own. He’s not as sinister as the original, but I think he’s great nonetheless.

halloween decorations - I DIYed my own version of this skeleton bartender


If I had to put a name to my particular style of Halloween decorating, I guess I would call it “Gothic”. I like very neutral but realistically macabre Halloween decor.

Since we throw Halloween parties every year but we also move a lot, it’s important to me that our Halloween decor remains neutral enough to work in any home we buy. It’s also important that I’m able to use the same serving items and seasonal decorations over and over again throughout the year.

Dollar Store Crafts: How I create these realistic gothic Halloween decor DIYs from the Dollar Store #dollarstorediy #craftoween #halloweenparty #halloweendecor #thrillsandchills #gothicdecor

To keep my Halloween home decor cheap, I tend to mix antiques like silver serving trays and bowls in with items I’ve handmade from thrift store finds or the Dollar Store. My general rule is: If I can use it year-round, I’ll spend a little more. If I can truly only use it during the Halloween season, it should cost less than $20 (or $5 for small decor items).

You can see more of my DIY Halloween crafts here: Halloween Decor DIYs From The Dollar Store

Halloween Party Style: I like to allow guests to serve themselves so I fill my table with a macabre buffet and encourage mingling with different drink stations throughout my house. #halloweendecor #halloweenparty #diycrafts

Halloween Cocktail Party Style:

I like to allow guests to serve themselves so I fill my table with a macabre buffet and encourage mingling with different drink stations throughout my house.

Adding my skeleton bartender to the mix is a perfect way to inform guests that they’re welcome to partake in my entire bar’s offerings. It also allows me to actually enjoy the party because I’m not tied to the drink station, serving as a bartender the entire evening.

Halloween Cocktail Party: Encourage guests to mingle by setting up different drink stations throughout the house. #halloweendecor #partydecor #frightnight #macabre #gothicstyle

Life-Sized Skeleton Bartender from a $10 Bag of Bones

Since I can’t justify spending $500 on a single decor item – especially one that only gets used during one holiday a year – I figured out a way to create a similar effect for a whole lot less!

Here’s how I built my own life-sized skeleton bartender using just a $10 bag of fake skeleton bones and a thrift store kid’s jacket.

DIY Halloween decorations - skeleton bartender


bag of bones
hot glue gun / glue
child’s clothing:
suit jacket, dress shirt, bow tie
chicken wire
small dowel
masking tape
wire hanger

Step One: Carefully use scissors or a box cutter to create a small (approx 1/4”) hole in the bottom of the skull, like so:

DIY skeleton life sized


Step Two: Insert a small piece of wood dowel into that hole.

DIY skeleton decor for Halloween

Step Three: Make a hole in the end of the spine and join to the skull’s dowel. Use hot glue to secure. Repeat these steps with two arms and hands.

DIY skeleton for Halloween - only $10 for a skeleton bartender

Lay out the attire you intend to clothe your skeleton in. I found this jacket for $1 at the local thrift store and used an old dress shirt my daughter no longer fits. The bow tie was mine. It’s a long story.

Whatever you use, make sure you have no intentions of ever wearing it again because there will likely be custom alterations required. Don’t worry. There’s no sewing required. I just mean that you’re going to cut it to shreds.

Next, lay our your skeleton pieces and trim the remaining dowel into three sections, one should be slightly longer than the other two. You’re doing to lay these out to mark where your joints need to be. During this stage, trim any excessive dowel, if necessary, so that the entire stick fits within the clothing.

DIY skeleton bartender - tutorial for your own inexpensive halloween decor

Step Four: Make two small holes in the bottom of the spine bone to run the dowel through. Then secure with hot glue then wrap in masking tape.

DIY halloween decor

Step Five: Trim two pieces of thick metal wire (or a metal hanger) to about 8” long. Bend at a 45 degree angle and insert inside the arm bone, leaving half exposed. Secure with hot glue and masking tape. Repeat with the second arm.

DIY skeleton decor for halloween

Step Six: Add a bead of hot glue to one of the remaining dowels, then while still hot, begin wrapping the exposed wire around the dowel to secure at a 45 degree angle. Add more glue. Secure with more masking tape. Repeat with second arm.

DIY life sized skeleton from a bag of bones
DIY skeleton in a suit coat

Step Seven: Lay the jacket out and insert a strip of chicken wire (I actually used a scrap piece of a cubbie system we had laying around – either will work).

Trim to fit, if necessary. Then begin attaching the neck by tying with string. Insert the arms through the jacket and repeat attachment steps.

DIY halloween - skeleton in a suit coat - he's very dapper - and easy to make!

Step Eight: Finish dressing him.

Last-minute Halloween on the cheap - DIY $15 Skeleton Bartender

Step Nine: Hang with command hooks. I recommend using two at the very top of the wire.

DIY Halloween decor on the cheap

Introducing Dem Bones: My Skeleton Bartender

Have you met Demetri “Dem” Bones? He’s a real bag of laughs.

DIY Halloween Decor - Cheap and Fun



Questions about my dining room? See the full home tour here: Our Suburban Home Renovation


1920s California Bungalow Decor


coastal style in a builder grade home


Ready to add some fall + winter vibes to your home? Check out these posts to get you started.


love this style? I do too! here are the decor items I bought to achieve the look.


Ready to DIY the way to your dream home?

Receive Exclusive Access To My Top Money Saving Tips
+ my FREE library of DIY home remodeling and decorating resources

we respect your privacy. we will never spam you. we will never share your email with any other companies or people.
newsletters are sent weekly. you may unsubscribe at any time. xoxo

Thank you!


quick and affordable DIY projects you don’t want to miss



Commenting on this post is disabled so I can focus on our upcoming projects + client designs but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your questions and comments on Instagram by either commenting on my latest post or sending me a direct message. I really love to chat it out!

Similar Posts