Say hello to Bob and Betty Bones and their little skeleton family. They have become celebrities around here. I was blessed to be able to sit down with Dawn, one half of the dynamic duo responsible for The Bones Family.
Michelle Bradshaw: What inspired you to use your skeletons to make scenes in your front yard for Halloween? How did it all start?
Dawn: Several years ago, I saw a segment on the Baxter Family Skeletons on a morning news show. I thought that sounded like a fun idea the neighborhood kids might get a kick out of. Living on a military base can be pretty uneventful at times. This year I decided to go for it and planned on starting 13 days out from Halloween. But when it snowed at the beginning of October (18 days out from Halloween), I scrapped that idea and got started early. The weather had given me the perfect opportunity to set up a beach scene. I put Betty and Bob out there in the snow with beach chairs and an umbrella. When the snow stuck around for a second day, we got out the canoe! It kind of just took off from there. I never would have thought they would become as popular around here as they did!
Michelle Bradshaw: So glad you introduced us to the Bones family. It has truly been a highlight of my day to see what they are going to next. How long does it take you to set up a scene each evening?
Dawn: My husband and I reset the skeleton scene every night around 10:00 PM. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to take down the previous night’s setup and set up the new scene. A lot of it also depends on the weather we are expecting. Strong winds mean we need to spend more time anchoring everything down. Or if it looks like it’s going to rain or snow we might end up changing our plan for that night completely.
Michelle Bradshaw: Wow! That's some dedication to your art. I can definitely understand about the weather after living here for over a year. I haven't been in Great Falls long. Do you use Bob and Betty to decorate every year?
Dawn: This is the also our first year in Great Falls and our first year setting up skeletons in the yard. I’ve done something similar in my elementary classroom though. I have a plastic yard flamingo named Frank that has been my classroom pet for a few years. He only changes his clothes and moves around the classroom though! He's a little easier to work with than four life-size skeletons!
Michelle Bradshaw: I can imagine Frank is definitely easier to work with. You will have to send us a picture of Frank. Lol. Do you use Google or Pinterest for your ideas for a scene or do they just come to you naturally?
Dawn: I’ve seen some pretty crazy things on Pinterest! But I don’t think I’m quite to that level yet. What has been funny and unexpected, are the number of people who texted me, emailed me or posted ideas to use on my Facebook page as well. One day I got the same picture from 11 different people! I usually just think about what I do with my family, and what would be funny or would relate to other families nearby. But most importantly, it's usually what I have on hand to work with.
Michelle Bradshaw: I know I'm guilty of posting ideas on your Facebook. Ha ha. Every time I see skeletons I think of you now. How far in advance do you plan?
Dawn: In the beginning, I had planned for 13 days leading up to Halloween, but when it snowed in early October and I got started early, I had to come up with a few extra ideas for what the skeletons would do each day. I also had a few backup ideas just in case the weather took a turn. I think I have around 15 or so ideas that I didn’t use this year and will just have to save for next year. ;-)
Michelle Bradshaw: I can't wait to see them! Do you have any funny stories from people visiting Bob and Betty?
Dawn: Our home is now referred to as the skeleton house. It’s the easiest directions I’ve ever had to give to someone. I’ve seen people take selfies in our yard, lay down on the ground with them, pose with them and all together stop traffic just to grab a picture of them. We have had more vehicle and foot traffic go past our house than I have ever seen on a single street since moving here. We’ve also scared our fair share of neighborhood dogs out for walks. People may not know our name, but they know us as the skeleton family.
Thank you so much Dawn for taking the time to stop by my website and for introducing us to The Bones Family. I truly can't wait to see what shenanigans they get into next Halloween!
Please enjoy the slide show below of The Bones Family. (I have permission from Dawn to share them.)