When I was in grade 2 or 3 my friend Susie brought her prized possession to school for show and tell. A stuffed bear named Razzmatazz.  Everyone clapped wildly and wanted to hold Razzy.  It was a feel good, Hallmark moment for everyone.  Susie, and her snivelling bear, finally took their seat.  Then I stepped out from behind my desk and walked my little feet up to the front of the class, one hand gripping a plastic bag.  The slightly crumpled grocery bag held my prized possession.

The class was still on a sugar high from Susie’s fluffy, glorified pacifier so I waited for them to settle down. Once the class settled and I knew all eyes were on me,  I reached a hand into my bag and pulled out my prized possession.  A human skull.  An actual human skull. I held it up, perched on the palm of my hand, Othello style and watched as each and every eyebrow in the room shot upwards.  Except for the teacher’s, whose eyebrows went in the opposite direction.

Either my mother didn’t know I was bringing human remains to school or she just didn’t see a problem with it.    No other child brought a stranger’s detached head for show and tell that year but I’m not sure if it’s because their mother’s said no, or because their families kept their skulls in locked showcases at home.

Halloween bone crafts.


The moral of this story is that I’ve always been fascinated with skulls and bones. So it made sense that when I got to decorate my own house as an adult,  I’d want to do it with real skulls and bones. Sadly my human skull disappeared some time after the show and tell. Actually, now that I think about it, I might have throw the skull out along with our Ouiji board just after watching the Exorcist at an incredibly inappropriate age.

I’ve found the easiest way to make fake bones look real, is by not using fake bones.  I’m not suggesting you use human bones. That’s just weird.  But you can save all the bones from your chicken and turkey carcasses throughout the year and use those for Halloween decorating. Which is not weird at all.

Need a skull?  THIS is the best fake skull I’ve ever seen.  I desperately want it.


Halloween bone crafts.


Just clean the bones of any meat (I make my carcasses into chicken broth so all the meat falls off anyway), scrub them and put them in the sink with a little bleach and water.  This lightens them and takes away the yellowish tinge they have.

If you don’t feel like making anything out of them you can just pile them up on a table for a little display of creep.

But if you want to delve a bit further into Halloween bone crafting you can make a Bone Wreath, or this year’s Halloween DIY, The Bone Crown.

The Bone Crown looks nice on a skull or any other head shaped object you might have.  Like a pumpkin.  Or your cat.


Crown of bones

To create the Bone Crown you just need to hot glue the bones together.


Crown of Bones. Halloween.

The one important trick is to form the crown on the skull you want to put it on.  If you form it on a flat surface like a tabletop, it won’t form to the skull head and will just slip off.

Crown of Bones

Just keep gluing bones together until you’ve made a circle. It looks best and is easiest to make a circle if you use shorter bones.

What to do with bones for Halloween

Once you finish the first circle, do another row on top.

chicken bone craft

I really love Halloween decorating. It brings me back to those carefree days of my skull wielding youth.


Crown of Bones

If you have blobs of hot glue don’t worry about it. No one will notice them in real life because they’ll be busy looking at the bone crown you made and assessing your mental state.


Bone Crowns on skulls

THIS is why I told you all to start saving your chicken bones earlier this week.  Don’t be a Snoozy Susie. This year, grab Halloween by the bone.

Have a good weekend!




  1. Kath says:

    You were 8? How do you know it was real?

  2. Lynn says:

    Nice job on the crown , would not have thought of using the turkey and chicken bones . Good up cycling Karen.

  3. dana says:

    Yeah I’m definitely going to start saving bones now. Really I am. I still love your bone wreath. Should I ask where you got a human skull when you were a kid? My hubby went to a garage sale many yrs ago. The man, who hubby described as an odd bird, had human bones for sale. We probably should have notified police. Creepy. I need to start decorating for Halloween like you do. I really only do fall decor.

  4. Thandi says:

    You really get Halloween. It’s a deep appreciation and understanding that I can really get behind. South Africa doesn’t really do Halloween, which breaks my heart every year. I have to get very creative with my DIYs. It’s my favourite holiday and I don’t care that I’m probably one of 63 people in the country that celebrate it!
    Now I’m off to make a blood-soaked Japanese ghost out of a dress form, some rubber gloves, and a very freaky mask.

  5. Paula says:

    The link for the fake human skull is the one that you have used but you have spray painted it gold?

    • Karen says:

      No, it’s just a really great fake human skull. Astonishingly good. My gold ones have always been gold, I didn’t paint them. ~ karen!

      • Cyd says:

        Yeah, but if you WERE going to paint one of them gold, assuming they are the realistic-looking plastic ones that you can get at Target or seasonal Halloween shops, HOW would you paint one gold? What type of paint will likely stick, etc? Asking for a friend 😉

  6. TucsonPatty says:

    O.M.G. I want you inside my head. Well, that was creepy sounding. Sorry, not sorry. You do Halloween like I like it!! I just finished my graveyard out front of my house, dug a child size grave this year. I love Halloween so much. I have cheap-o skulls out front and I’m going to find some gold paint for at least one of them. I’m a vegetarian, so there aren’t any bones at my house, but do you think it would be weird for me to ask all my coworkers to bring their used up bones? I need a wreath, too. I’m going to do it!

    • Alena says:

      Just tell them you need a digit replacement surgery on your left hand and that you are planning to do the surgery yourself.

    • Karen says:

      Not weird at all. The first year I delved into making things out of bones I asked all of my neighbours and friends to save their Thanksgiving carcasses for me, lol. Knowing me, none of them even batted an eye. They just said, Sure! ~ karen!

  7. Sabina says:

    Hmmmm, how many bones can one save in a year? I’ll let you know next October 1st!

  8. Nicole Sparks says:

    I was very amused by the name of the manufacturer of your Dream Skull. 🙂 “Nose Desserts”. I kept waiting for a pun to show up. But no, apparently (which I know thanks to the magic of google) they make incense. And have a whole variety of skull/bone things including a open-mouthed skull candy dish and exact replicas of human arm bones.

    (just keep scrolling down)

    Pretty exciting! 🙂

  9. Jen says:

    I have to know. WHERE did you get a human skull???????????????

    • Karen says:

      It was my grandfathers. And I’m not sure where he got it but I seem to remember something about someone digging up a parking lot? Could have just been a story though ~ karen!

      • Teresa Chandler says:

        Good grief! For a moment I thought you were saying it was your grandfather’s skull, not that he owned it. (Which would have totally worked, coming from you.) now, I’m kind of wishing you had left the explainin’ out, or at least strung us along for a bit -you do that so well- it makes a much better Halloween story that way.

  10. Mary W says:

    We celebrate this Saturday so no skull bones since I just threw them all out – apparently because I knew I would need them within a week. We are going to do Giligans Island out front. Have to make a boat from cardboard boxes, get the creepy smoke machine out and fired up, dress like the crew (I’m the rich old lady with a boa and sunbrella) so no creep in our house. We give out drinks for kids and parents – all the leftovers are used up quickly this way.

  11. Bunguin says:

    I just figured out what I’m going to sell at next year’s Annual Town Flea Market… Bone crafts and bone related items.

  12. Bunguin says:

    Also, human skull for show and tell? Are we related?

  13. Eileen says:

    I so love this! And I can’t wait to see what starts popping up in the ads now that I’ve checked the links to the skull and to that Nose Desserts site!
    I have been saving wishbones for a mixed media work…ever since I saw a strange piece at a vintage store: an old wooden ladder that had wishbones tied to it everywhere with various bits of brightly colored yarn and twine. It was amazing. And showcased probably 150 sacrificial chickens if not more….And way too big for anywhere in my house….

  14. Heather says:

    I like the way you think.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well there are plenty on the “cant’ understand the way you think” side too so I’m happy to have you on the like side. ~ karen!

  15. Alena says:

    Of course I planned to start saving bones right after I read about your wreath years ago, but somehow I forgot. So this year, I will at least wear a little bone necklace.

    P.S. I am surprised you are not planning to spring for the Neanderthal skulls, at $925.83 they are a bargain. I quite like their teeth.

  16. Ev Wilcox says:

    Well OK, bones are OK. They are not scary to me, so I kinda don’t get it. Must have something to do with the Anat/Physiology course at Akron U. Held real sculls in my lap, even baby ones, while learning the different aspects of structure. Halloween time is my favorite time of all. My daughter feels the same way. But since her daughters are pretty young-I went in another direction this year. Tomorrow I will see them and be taking them all their very own sugar scull shirts. I got one for this Grammy also-I will be wearing it whilst handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, most likely in the rain this year. I really like the creepy stuff though- bones and sculls just don’t creep me out! Your decos are awesome Karen. Happy Halloween!

  17. Carolyn says:

    I hope some kid finds my skull, several years from now, and brings it to show and tell. I’d finally get a trophy, I mean be a trophy.

  18. BARBARA H. says:

    About 30 years ago, my husband & I were visiting a guy’s backyard jewelry shop. He mostly worked with silver, and had some really nice creations.

    After choosing a couple of pieces for purchase, I rummaged further to an obscure case with bits & pieces of random stuff.

    I found a box of small carved skulls. They were all around 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches each. I held one up and asked if they were made from real bone.

    He said “Yes. They were carved from the thigh bones of Khmer Rouge victims in Cambodia. Survivors dug the skeletons up and carved the skulls.”
    I was so creeped out that I immediately walked away.

    Long afterwards, I wished that I had bought one. Odd that they had traveled all the way from Cambodia to Florida.

  19. kelli says:

    Sigh. I worry about you sometimes, you know.

  20. Topo says:

    Love that you raise chickens and re-use their bones. Did you make a Cuddles crown? Or a Cheez Whiz crown? Cool. How macabre, how stlylish. Waste not, want not I guess…

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      Those are pets…not just chickens that you eat…would you eat your pets?…Karen is much to kind and sensitive to do that…

  21. Barb says:

    Ah, I can completely sympathize… as I too have a collection of bones; raccoon sculls though. ‘Found pretty clean on my walks with little wiggly teeth. Anatomy studies for life drawing gave me quite the appreciation for bones and how amazingly beautiful they actually are.

    And yes, finding a great beautiful scull is amazing.

  22. Wisconsingal says:

    You know, Shakespeare’s skull is missing. Could it have made the journey across the ocean to end up in a dentist’s possession??????

  23. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Very cool…😎 you know I like your Halloween stuff!

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