In early fall we purchased something that came cushioned between large blocks of Styrofoam packing material. Naturally, I looked closely before throwing all that styrofoam away, and decided to keep the corner sections because they reminded me of low walls.
When we visited my son's family, I took along three "wall" corners and other miscellaneous Halloween items, just in case there was time to work on something and if the kids were interested. Sure enough, almost the first thing they asked when we got there was, "Nana, can we do a project?"
I let them choose from a selection of materials and then we all did a basic graveyard setting to fit in a clear Kleenex box. (I bought every one on that K-Mart clearance table several years ago; now they are about all gone and I wonder where I can find more.)
We glued the styrofoam wall corner to a cardboard base, first wetting its underside so it wouldn't warp. then we painted the entire styrofoam corner with a mixture of brown paint and tacky glue. Next we sprinkled on our usual sand and coffee grounds "dirt" to which I had combined the crumbled bits of dried green spirea that had fallen to the bottom of the cellophane package.
Joseph made a witch's garden, with bones, skulls and eyeballs poking out of the soil. Laura chose a pink skeleton and lots of little witches and pumpkins for hers. "They're having a party in the graveyard," she said. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera so didn't get a picture of their projects. (I am hoping my son will send some later).
The skeleton I had was missing a leg and part of one arm, so I decided to have him partially buried. He also looked too clean, so I gave him a dirty water wash and sprinkled some sand over him. You can see a bit of that styrofoam packaging wall at the bottom right of the photo.
I used a knife to cut out a section of soil to indicate that my skeleton was coming out for the evening. I painted the exposed white styrofoam with a glue and brown paint mixture and sprinkled on a bit of the sand mixture. I placed the skeleton partially into the opening, and replaced the pieces of cut ground.
The tombstone was from a pair of earrings (the other one is just barely visible next to the skeleton's chest where he's pushed it aside coming out); the flower vase is a bullet casing. Apparently, it's been a while since anyone brought fresh flowers to this place.
There is some interesting plant life growing - or dying - here, I notice. Isn't that some kind of strange critter hatching out there in the corner?
My goodness, is that an eyeball coming out of the ground?
I'm not sure if our skeleton was originally a trick-or-treater who got lost, or just somebody who got tired of being alone and decided to come out and join the fun. What do you think?
Here is the completed scene in its clear Kleenex box. We didn't glue the scenes to the box bottom, in case the kids might want to remove their Halloween scene and replace it with another for a different season. You can see the plastic lip of the box bottom above.
NOTE: You can find a tutorial on working with the very inexpensive Oriental Trading Company skeletons here. (These are not as good quality as the one used above, but fun to work with and so CHEAP; how can I complain? lol)
Also, in 2007 I visited Bonerella Skelly's Custom Millinery and met both her and her husband, Scully. You can visit them here, if you like. And, check out Jenna's 2008 Skeleton Beach for more ideas on working with skeletons.