Monday, October 3, 2011

Dem Bones - A Side-By-Side Review

Last year we decided it would be fun to have a few skeletons sitting in trees and hanging upside down from limbs so I went on the search for skellies. Since the concept was simple the skeleton didn't have too high a criteria to meet.

This year, however, is a different story. My husband (you know - the one who puts up with my Halloween obsession) wanted skeletons in the yard playing golf. This idea was further fueled when he saw me reading the Skeleton Crew section of Better Homes and Gardens Halloween Tricks & Treats magazine. (If you don't have it yet just get it. It's a great issue.)

So, it's game on! However - finding the perfect specimen has been a bit of challenge. I immediately eliminated Bucky's for a couple of obvious reasons. First, they are pricey and second they are heavy. I needed something heavier than a Blucky (Bucky's younger, less functional cousin), semi-realistic, posable and at a decent price.

I've narrowed it down to two skeletons and that's what we're going to discuss today. This post is pic heavy so hang on!

Target Skeleton (left) and Pitini Skeleton (right)

Name: Glow-In-The-Dark Skeleton
Height: Approximately 5'2"ish (when standing next to all 5'4" of me)
Weight: Approximately 6 lbs
Manufacturer/Distributor: Target
Price: $40

In the box this guy looked promising but let's take a closer look...


Price: At $40 it's a steal compared to the standard $100+ price of a Bucky.
Size and weight: Substantial enough weight making it easy to handle and secure but not too heavy.
Height: Adequate height for realism.
Overall Appearance: Good realistic look.
Quality: Feels nice and solid.


Coloring: It's glow-in-the-dark stark white which isn't terribly concerning. You can always corpse it out a bit.
Construction: Limited mobility. Let me show you some close ups. 

First the pelvis. This is assembled by heavy springs over long screws and because of this the skeleton's knees knock together when sitting causing the calves to cross (see first pic above). Attempts to loosen the screws did not yield any different results but more intensive surgery may do the trick.

Next let's look at the hand. Now the look is right but notice the construction. The hands can only move up and down which limits your pose.

The shoulders are a ball joint which will not allow you to wrap your skellie's arms around another skellie or raise his arms out to the side. The arm just goes 'round and 'round.

The legs face the same problem as the hands. The knees also only move back and forth one way - no side to side. The feet are secured by a screw which you can tighten a bit  to help pose. 

I did manage to hang him up and pose him a bit as you can see here:

One of the arms did stay in the reaching forward position and one knee did stay bent. Of course, if staked in the yard you could form the pose better.

Other Notes: The jaw is pretty much fixed. There are no screws to adjust the amount the skull's mouth is open. The skull is another issue in that there is no way to position it a certain direction - it simply rotates - so expect to come out and find your skellie looking backwards.

Here's our other contender:

Name: 5' Hanging Skeleton
Height: 5'
Weight: Approximately 5 lbs
Manufacturer/Distributor: Pitini Enterprises (found in several stores but we will use here)
Price: $65+

Let's put this guy under the microscope.


Price: $65 still beats the $100+ price of a Bucky.
Size and weight: Fairly light weight but heavy enough for the job. 
Height: Adequate height for realism.
Overall Appearance: Nice realistic look with a weathered, fresh from the grave appearance.
Construction: Allows lots of options for poses. Let's have a look:

First, notice the pelvis here. Super long bolts with nuts on each end allow you to tighten or loosen to attain the look you want. 

Also notice how the interior seam is opened up so you can slide the bolt into several positions, again, allows easy posing.

While we're here notice the knee and how it can be manipulated thanks to the pelvis construction. The foot is secured by a screw that can be tightened to hold a pose. 

The hands offer much flexibility as the construction allows them to go back and forth and spin 360°. 

The shoulders are assembled to allow full movement. This guy can wrap his arms around anything.

Here I have him posed with one arm way over his head. The hand kind of flops but you can tighten up some screws to help remedy that issue. The other arm is tucked into his own ribs but notice how he can bend into himself at the elbow. The knee wouldn't stay bent for me longer than the time it took to take a quick pic. If posed properly with stakes instead of hanging you can make it work. 


Price: Yes, I had price as a "Pro" but it's also a "Con" considering the quality of the plastic and construction. I'd rather not see huge bolts and other obvious metalware in my skellies but it's doable. I think around the $50 mark or under would make me feel a bit more warm and fuzzy about it.
Quality: This guy tends to "flop" around a bit which I think is due to the lower quality plastic and the way he's constructed. This will require you to tighten and loosen screws to get the look you want. But - at least you have the option to do so.
Skull: The skull looks good but is fixed in a forward facing position so no looking sideways.

Other Notes: On my example the jaw is flopped wide open. It is held on by two tiny screws so you might be able to tighten it up and set the jaw the way you want. I liked him this way so I haven't tried that yet.

Overall I like them both for different purposes and plan on incorporating them into the yard this year.

On another note...Walgreens also came out with a lifesize skeleton this year but, of course, my Walgreens doesn't carry it. Never fear! I did find a short video where another haunter compares the Target skellie to the Walgreens version:

Well, there you have it. Two skeletons in our side by side comparison.

Oh! Don't forget to get the BH&G magazine I mentioned for some fun inspiration showcasing skellies!

Haunt on!


  1. Well done! I am really thinking about getting the Glow Skele from Target. Just for the glow effect. I bought 3 Wallgreens skeles already and I have the pricey medical bucky from last year.

  2. Interesting and thorough post! We have one really good skeleton we got half off at the Spirit store last year when Halloween was over. He sits at our piano in the front room. But I'm in the market for a few more. One can never have too many skeletons! :o)

  3. Excellent review! We plan on picking up the same skeleton Wendy mentioned on Nov. 1 when Spirit has their after sale. I know what to look for now, thanks for the post very informative.

  4. Great review. I picked up two of the Targets and I'm going to hit a Walgreens to see if they have any left in stock. I also have a 4th quality Bucky that I'm using.


  5. Wicked - I do like the glow part of the Target skellie for certain things. I was going to snap a pic last night of him in the dark but by the time I got out to do it the glow was gone. I'll try to report back on that to let you know how long the glow lasts.

    Wendy & art bliss - No Spirit store here :( I'm so deprived!!

    Faith - Again, I'm deprived! Walgreens here carries the smaller version (3' tall or so) but not the full size. I hope you're able to get your hands on one.

  6. Pretty good review..and I was just passing buy looking for some pics for my anatomical drawing exam to help me better study the skeleton (since I do not have my own at


Blog Widget by LinkWithin