How to Make a Creepy Dollar Store Halloween Decoration!

I am hoping that we have more trick or treaters this year than last! I made this easy Halloween DIY last year and will be bringing it out again this year! This is a an easy outdoor Halloween decoration that you can make in just an afternoon! Head off to Dollar Tree and pick up those skulls and have some fun! The whole family can join in making a collection of these guys to line the walkway if you would like!  

black blob that says make a creepy halloween decoration and halloween skulls looking up at the camera

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Supplies and equipment:

  • Urn or pot of some kind for your base
  • PVC pipe
  • plastic skulls
  • Spanish moss
  • plaster of paris
  • chalky acrylic paint
  • waterproof sealer (if your topiary will be displayed outdoors)
  • measuring cup
  • water
  • pieces of wood (used to make sure your pvc is straight in your plaster)

Set up your base:

picture of a brick patio with a grey urn planter, a brown flower pot, a box of plaster of paris, a piece of pvc pipe, some boards, and a mixing container and a measuring cup

Gather your supplies for your base. Here is my decorative urn, a piece of pvc piping and some wood scraps. A bucket and measuring cup and the plaster of paris. You will want to have a paint stirrer to mix the plaster of paris, also. I used a 5′ piece of pvc, but you can make yours as short or as tall as you would like.

overhead hot of a gray urn planter with a brown flower pot sitting in it on a brick patio.  a piece of white pvc pipe sitting on the ground, a paint stirrer, a paint mixing bucket

Here is the plastic urn I used. I use this for different decorations throughout the year, so I did not want to put the plaster of paris and the piece of PVC in the urn permanently. I found this flower pot without a hole in it that fit inside my urn. You can mix your plaster right inside of your urn if you like, or do something similar. Just make sure that whatever container you are using for your plaster is watertight.

three boards on top of a pot around a piece of 3/4" pvc

Mix the plaster of paris per the instructions on the package.  Generally it is 2 cups of plaster of paris to 1 cup of cold water.  You really have to stir it well, making sure all of the powdery plaster of paris mix gets mixed with the water.  Plaster of paris sets up hard in just about 10 minutes.  Set a piece of 3/4″ PVC that is 5 feet long down into the wet plaster of paris.  Make sure your PVC post is level and straight.  You can use boards like I did above to hold the PVC straight until the plaster of paris sets.

gray urn planter with flower pot with plaster of paris in it around piece of pvc and some pieces of styrofoam tucked in around the pot

After my plaster was set, I found my pot wobbled a bit, so I used a few scraps of styrofoam to secure it and keep it from moving.

Preparing your skulls:

three dollar store plastic skulls sitting on brown paper

This is how the Dollar Tree skulls look right from the store. You can buy these individually at the store or order a case of 40 for all of your Halloween decorating projects! I have SO many ideas for things you can make with these! If you order a case, they will deliver them for free to your local Dollar Tree.

label of craftsmart premium chalky acrylic paint

I have always used the skulls just as they came in the past, but wanted to try something different. I recommend using some chalky paint like this to give them a more upscale look. This is not a requirement, but I do think it made them look much better.

three dollar store plastic skulls, two painted white, one natural

You can see the difference above between the painted and unpainted skulls. If you are going to display your decoration out in the weather, you should then spray them with a waterproof sealer.

Time to build:

hand holding a dollar store plastic skull that has been painted with chalky paint and has been cut with and x in the bottom of it

When each one of your skulls is dry (if you decide to paint them). Cut an X in the bottom of each skull as shown above. Next, cut an X in the top of each skull.

plastic dollar store skulls

You can then begin sliding the skulls onto your pvc pipe, one after another. Don’t be afraid to experiment with where you put your X’s in your skulls. Make some toward the front, some toward the back so your skulls are all at different angles on the pvc pole. Slide each skull down so it is snug against the one beneath it. When you get to the top skull, it will only get an X cut in the bottom of it.

plastic dollar store skulls on a pole with spanish moss between them and a door with shutters behind them

I used this chalky parchment colored paint to give my skulls a bit of an upgrade.  IF you are going to use this outdoors, make sure after painting that you give them a spray coat of clear sealer made for outdoors.  Finish off your skulls with some spanish moss, tuck a little bit between each of the skulls and fill in the bottom of the pot with moss.

dollar store skulls looking up from a pot of spanish moss and dollar store skeleton hand reaching out of the pot

Add a couple of pair of Dollar Tree skeleton hand salad servers sticking out of the pot at the base and it looks like the skulls are reaching up for someone to save them! OR…are they trying to grab the passers by?

pot with 8 dollar store skulls on a pole with spanish moss draped on them and spanish moss in the pot at the base and skeleton hands reaching out of the pot. on a brick patio with potted green plants behind it and a white fence behind that

How will trick or treaters feel walking up to your house with this greeting them? Add some lights and sound to really “creep” out your decoration and have fun this Halloween!


pot with 8 dollar store skulls on a pole with spanish moss draped on them and spanish moss in the pot at the base and skeleton hands reaching out of the pot. on a brick patio with potted green plants behind it and a white fence behind that and a sign that says make this easy dollar store halloween decoration

Shop this project:

More Dollar Store Skull Halloween Projects:

part of a picture of a wreath of plastic skulls and a sign that says diy dollar store skull halloween wreath

This easy to make wreath is a great way to keep your skull decor going this Halloween! Go ahead and order that case of 40 skulls and get going on your Halloween decorating!

picture of plastic halloween skulls made into a garland hanging from a mantel.

One of the easy decorations I made with these is this Halloween Skull Garland.  I used this Halloween garland on my mantel, but you can just as easily use this outdoors! The plastic skulls will hold up just fine in all kinds of weather! You can also pop battery operated tea lights inside the skulls!

Looking for more Halloween decor? Look no further:

Similar Posts


  1. I bet your granddaughters get a kick out of you skull topiary Chloe! I love the skeletal hands reaching up and the idea of adding some twinkle lights too. Happy to be hopping with you again. ♥

  2. That is so GREAT! I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like a skull rain chain. I love it when you see a totally original idea. A wreath too? How do you even have room for all the great things you make.

    1. Oh, Andrea, that is fun…a rain chain! I don’t have room! I giveaway or sell locally all of the things I make, or I end up taking them apart and creating something new with them! This year I am taking all of the Halloween leftover decor up to the girls in Maryland! It will be time for all new next year!

  3. Chloe, the sad reality is knowing we won’t have many little ones trick or treating:(
    I’m really going to miss that, but have been cheered up by your fun dollar store skull decor.
    Breaking each skull up with the Spanish moss really made the topiary stand out! And shopping for the supplies at the dollar store wins over my frugal heart:)

  4. Your skull topiary is fabulously creepy, Chloe! I love the hands reaching up from the bottom. I didn’t realize plaster of Paris sets in just 10 minutes. We have urns flanking the side of our front door that I usually stack with pumpkins, but I want to give this a try. My daughter and the kids in the neighborhood would love it! Thanks for the inspiration!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *