Skeleton Crew

One NA resident has found endless creativity in a simple Halloween yard-decorating idea.

The skeletons in NA resident Kristin Miller’s front yard change clothes daily throughout the month of October, much to the delight of her neighbors. Featured in this photo from earlier this month is the cast from Seinfeld

Kate Gilliland, Staff Writer

October is notable for being the month of the start of fall, pumpkin-flavored everything, and Halloween. As October 31st draws near, it’s not uncommon for neighbors to go all out and decorate the outside of their houses with cobwebs and spooky decorations. One house in North Allegheny, however, takes a more minimal approach to decorating.

The Miller family household on Richard Road in Wexford is decorated with a single skeleton, or sometimes several, dressed up notable reality TV stars, judges, crime fighting duos, or mystery-solving gangs. 

Kristin Miller started decorating her house with skeletons in 2016.

“On the internet, I saw a bunch of little skeletons invading a house and they looked like they were swarming it, so I took some of our skeletons and it scared my youngest daughter,” she said.

Miller’s skeleton crew started with a couple days of October “wish scenes” of kids playing baseball and putting up Christmas decorations. 

Then she decided to do a scene from the classic horror movie Poltergeist and that’s the idea truly took off.

“I had a skeleton in front of a TV and she was looking at it like in the movie,” Miller said. “A friend was getting rid of a TV, so I borrowed it and had it turned on in the yard. You could see it from the road, and it looked just like Carol Anne in Poltergeist.” 

Working through 31 scenes each day during the month of October, Miller tries to stick to a common thread each year.

“The first thing I do to prepare is determine what my theme is going to be,” she said. “I’ve done two years of movies and a year of music last year, and this year’s theme is TV.”

The TV show theme spans the decades, with skeletons dressed as Judge Judy, Eleven from Stranger Things, Batman and Robin, Mr. Rogers, and Dora the Explorer, to name a few. 

But don’t be mistaken. Preparing for October is a year-long process for Miller. Her elaborate scenes require organization, costume preparation, props, and, most importantly, a host of wigs.

“Everything is in bins and we keep them in the garage all year,” Miller said. “All the shirts are in one bin, and all the pants and wigs are in their own bin. I swear I have probably 100 wigs.” 

With some front-yard scenes including ten full-sized costumed skeletons, Miller’s work certainly does not go unnoticed by her neighbors. But the display’s notoriety stretches far beyond Richard Road. 

One specific admirer was a lady from Philadelphia, who was visiting her brother in the Pittsburgh area. Before the visit, the brother would drive past the skeletons and send pictures of them to his sister.

Shortly after Eddie Van Halen died, Miller dressed up a skeleton like the famous guitar player, who happened to be a favorite of the Philadelphia visitor. Miller was in her yard when the woman drove up to see the skeletons in person. Miller recalls that the woman was so thrilled that she took a picture of herself alongside the Van Halen skeleton.

Miller recalled another story of a woman who came by and asked a picture with one of the skeletons. The problem was, she was a day late.

“When I did Saturday Night Fever probably two years ago with John Travolta, she came by and asked to get a picture with yesterday’s skeleton,” Miller said. 

Miller had already packed away the skeleton but she set it back up for her. The woman came back the next day in her disco clothes with her husband and they got their photo taken. 

So as October draws to a close, it’s anyone’s guess what Miller has in store this weekend.  But one thing is for sure — whatever she chooses for her skeletons, it’s sure to delight.