I may be an amateur, but what I lack in expertise, I make up in obsessive enthusiasm.
Over the past few years, I have stumbled onto some simple, inexpensive ideas for creating a Creepy Yard that look uniquely terrific and get a great response from neighbors and friends. I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you!
First, you need inspiration, perhaps a movie, TV episode, a story or just a tone to hold the whole experience together. I start by sourcing inspirational images and ideas on the web:
After I decide on the world or imagery I want to shoot for, I start making the bones out of PVC pipes that I purchase at the hardware store, along with couplings..
I purchase bundles of PVC piping and little PVC coupling adaptors (45, 90 degrees, T and Y shaped, corners, etc.) at the hardware store, then cut the “skeleton” how I want it, assemble it, add fabric, a mask or other head/face.
I secure the joints with black duct tape (if need be) and add support where needed then attach the fabric with medium or large office clips and black duct tape.
PVC couplings can be 45 or 90 degrees, as well as “T,” “Y” or “X” shaped (see bottom of this page). Sometimes I have to special order them if not available at the hardware store.
Green fiberglass lawn stakes help stabilize and give some body to the creatures when covered in fabric.
Always think “pyramid” when making something stable. You will be in an ongoing fight with fighting wind, water and gravity!
Inexpensive color selective LED colored yard lights can be ordered from Amazon, along with fabrics like black table cloths. Halloween supply companies like Fright Catalog and Closed Casket Studios have a nice supply of masks and fabrics and other do it yourself elements
The design and PVC cutting is probably the most time intensive part. Once you get the hang of it, you can knock out these things quickly. This is especially fast if you pony up for a wireless rechargeable PVC cutter- which I would highly recommend. A manual cutter should be as long and large as you can afford. It makes cutting much easier!
Otherwise, you use a manual PVC cutting tool. Use gloves because your hands will get tired!!
I generally used 3/4 inch PVC pipes. For larger creatures like the Mega Demon and the Death Bird with longer arms or wings, I used maybe 1 inch or an inch and a quarter diameter PVC pipes, but you must be sure to support them sufficiently with green garden stakes- the shorter five foot stakes are more steady and can be lashed to the spine of the creature with duct tape and stuck in the ground for stability. You’ll need to acquire PCV couplings that fit the width of whatever PVC you’re working with.
Notice what looks “natural” in the bows of arms or shoulders. Sometimes making a 90 degree angle into a 45 degree makes all the difference, making the silhouette look more natural and less “boxy.” Sometimes shortening the pipe a bit or raising or lowering the head with regard to the shoulders looks better.