Halloween DIY – A Scary Coffin

My wife and daughter thought it would be a good idea if I volunteered some time to build a scary coffin for our front yard Halloween decorations. Evidently, they have big plans for Halloween decorations this year. They asked, and of course, I said “Yes” (what else could I say?). This post will show how I built the Halloween coffin, along with basic dimensions. See my YouTube video for more information on the actual build. Sorry, husbands, hopefully I’m not setting you up for a “honey do” as well!

To see all the Halloween DIY projects, see below:

All kidding aside, it really was a fun project and, most importantly, got to spend time with my Son, while we worked together on the project. So, we made memories, and that’s what life is all about!

Completed Halloween Coffin
Halloween DIY – Coffin Build (staged)

The Plan

The plan, shown below, was pretty easy to visualize but I did vary from some of the specifics as I was building it with what would I had on hand. I used 5/8″ plywood for the base (instead of 3/4″) and the walls were 1″ x 12″ cut to size. The article didn’t mention specific angles to cut so I just improvised and trimmed angles until they matched up pretty close. The reality is the coffin will be lit up from inside so having gaps is what I am looking for anyhow.

Basic plans for Halloween DIY Coffin
Basic Layout that I followed as provided in the Popular Mechanics article.
Cutting the wood to build the Halloween DIY Coffin
Cutting side walls (1″ x 12″)
Cutting the wood to build the Halloween DIY Coffin
Cutting the angles

Assembling Coffin

Assembly was pretty straightforward. You take all the sides and start connecting to the coffin bottom. The only issue was figuring out the angles so the side pieces would fit up good. I used #8 x 1-1/4″ exterior deck screws to put it together.

Constructing the Halloween DIY Coffin

I then used 1″ x 6″‘s, cut up into 3 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ strips on the table saw for the coffin cover. The cross member was just some left over 2 1/2″ strips. I intentionally left some good gaps and put the cross member off level to complete the look. I laid the strips closet to the sides down and marked them with a pencil in order to cut them to follow the shape of the coffin.

Constructing the Halloween DIY Coffin's top


Finishing will happen in a few weeks as we aren’t going to put the coffin out in the front yard until Oct 1 or thereafter. I will likely either stain or paint it, along with distressing some of the boards. What do you think? Please post a comment about whether I should paint it, stain it, or leave unfinished? When we put it out in the front yard, I will put a hinge on the door and a light in it. It will also have a skeleton’s arm pushing out of it. That, combined with the other decorations, will bring our Halloween decorations up a notch this year.

Completed Halloween DIY Coffin
Finished Coffin Construction – Phase 1
In process Halloween DIY painting
Bonus picture of Halloween decoration Amanda is painting. Guess in the comments who you think this will be once finished?

I’ll make sure to post a picture of it in the front yard all staged out. This was a really fun DIY build and didn’t take too much effort to do. Take advantage of the time you can spend together with your family and make memories. As always, don’t forget to enjoy the simple life! Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts.

Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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