How to Build Halloween Silhouettes For a Spooky Yard

Halloween kicks off the holiday season and instead of buying off-the-shelf decorations why don’t you make your own spooky creations. These silhouettes can be used each year and make for a great Halloween scare.


A Witch and Grim Reaper were the perfect scary characters for us to build but a black cat or headless horseman would also work great. Use your imagination and choose a silhouette character you think would scare you and the neighborhood kids the most.

Check out more Halloween Projects on Built by Kids.

witch hat

To build the Grim Reaper and Wicked Witch you need a few tools and materials that are available at any home center.

This project only takes a few hours and kids of any age can help you with it except for operating the jigsaw which we only recommend to skilled teenagers and adults who observe proper safety. A hand saw can be replaced by the jigsaw but it will take a bit longer to cut out the shapes.

grim reaper

As with any do-it-yourself project, the safety gear is as important as the tools. 3M asked if we wanted to try out some of their new 3M TEKK protection products and we jumped at the chance.

In addition to the plywood and stakes that we picked up at Lowe’s we also grabbed the 3M valved respirator and corded earplugs.

Our other favorite DIY Halloween Projects include How to Make Halloween Ghosts and Apparitions and the Best Pumpkin Carving Tools for Kids.

Tools You Need

Screwdriver or screw gun
3M TEKK valved respirator
3M TEKK corded earplugs
Sharpie pen


1 sheets plywood (1/4″) or cabinet backing (each character needs 4’x4′)
6 self-tapping wood screws
2 stakes


Step 1 – Find Your Patterns

You can search the web for silhouettes, as there are plenty available. We found a witch and grim reaper, which we’ve included here. Print both at 5 inches across.

Download the Witch and Grim Reaper patterns we used.

grim reaper

Step 2 – Trace Your Characters

Tracers can be picked up at any hobby or craft stores and make creating larger-scale projects much easier. We set up ours in our garage and placed the plywood against the door and traced the shadow using a Sharpie pen.


Step 3 – Cut out the Characters

Using eye protection, earplugs, respirator and gloves we cut along the outline using our jigsaw. Make sure you have adequate room to turn your wood and be careful not to cut into your table or fingers by always keeping your hands even or behind your cuts and always cut away from you.

Tip – cut out the larger pieces first then go back and cut the smaller details.


Safety Gear

A side note about the safety gear. The respirator protects from breathing in sawdust and dirt particles but the valve still allows you to breathe easier and keeps your face cooler.

What we like about the earplugs is that they are attached by a cord to keep from losing them and they have a convenient case and eye protection is always a must with flying particles and if you don’t want splinters the gloves are also necessary.


Step 4 – Attach the Stakes

If you will be leaning these characters on the floor or against a wall then skip this step but if you’d like to secure these into the ground then attach the stakes to the plywood using wood screws. Make sure your screws aren’t so long that they will go through the back of the stake, which could cut your hand.


Step 5 – Paint

We used Rust-Oleum all purpose spray paint which is great for easy application and is good in all weather. If you’ve got other colors available then go for it! You may want to primer first if you are going with a lighter color so the grains in the plywood don’t show through.


Step 6 – Dry and Setup

Let the paint dry overnight then choose the best location in your yard to create the most scares and setup your characters.

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