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No bones about it: Comical, creative 'Baxter Skeletons' rule Halloween

If you pass by a certain porch in the Baxter neighborhood in Fort Mill, South Carolina this month, you're sure to see some rattly inhabitants. They might be enjoying a bubble bath, scarfing down ice cream cones, playing soccer or even carving a pumpkin of their own.

Today
Get that frisbee, Fang! The skeletons enjoy a nice picnic, but watch out for those enormous ants.

They're the "Baxter Skeletons," two plastic dime-store skeletons who change their costumes and backdrop daily in October, much to the delight of neighborhood residents.

Today
Naturally, when you X-ray a skeleton, you see their clothes.

The skeletons, owned by Steve Miller and Tracy Adams, were originally a one-shot joke that began in 2013. Miller and Adams often sat out on their porch, and as the weather got colder, they thought it would be funny to set the skeletons where they used to sit.

Then, when Miller shifted the skeletons' location one day, a neighbor noted out loud, "They move!"

To keep up the game, Miller decided to keep on relocating the skeletons, and when he ran out of places to move them around the porch, he started giving them daily tasks. Now it's a treasured neighborhood tradition.

Today
The skeletons recreate Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."

"A lot of our neighbors thought all this was quite spectacular," Miller told TODAY.com. "We are now known as 'The Skeleton People' and live in 'The Skeleton House.'" 

Those who don't live near the house can follow the bony bunch's adventures on Facebook or Instagram.

Today
The skeletons, and dog Fang, are also superheroes, seen here stopping a robber.

Miller and Adams, both graphic designers, don't just throw sweaters on the skeletons and call it good. They plan out each scenario and work for hours to get them right. For the ice cream day, they fashioned cones using Styrofoam balls covered with spray insulation foam, with colorful rubber bats replacing rainbow sprinkles. There's even a plop of spilled "ice cream" near one of the skeletons' bony feet.

Today
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

A scene showing the skeletons breaking up a sidewalk was Miller's favorite so far this year. He'd originally planned to draw a realistic hole on the sidewalk with chalk, but shifted gears when that didn't work out and instead piled up broken chunks of concrete and drew cracks on the ground. He placed the chalk in a box and invited visitors to sign in. "The sidewalk was soon covered with names of all the visiting kids," he said. "It was the interaction that made it cool."

Today
Neighbors love to stop by and see what the skeletons are up to.

Miller works from home, and enjoys watching the reaction of those who pass by. "The scenes are never gory or macabre," he said. "I love it when we are surrounded by kids and they are all yelling out what their favorite (scenes) were."

Neighbors like to offer suggestions or props — if you're the person who volunteered to loan Miller some kayaks so the skeletons can go paddling, he'd still love to take you up on that. But the work and expense mainly falls to Miller and Adams, who find it worthwhile and plan to continue it every October for as long as they can.

  • Slideshow Photos

    A South Carolina couple keeps October entertaining by staging scenes with two plastic skeletons -- and their dog.

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    Sunny day -

    The Baxter Skeletons, owned by Steve Miller and Tracy Adams, soak up some sun at their Fort Mill, S.C. home. "It's time to get some color on those bones," the couple joked on Instagram.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Bubble up -

    For the scenario where the skeletons take bubble baths, the couple bought a real bubble machine online for $8. But when it didn't push the bubbles out as far as they would like, they hid a table fan behind the tub. Neighborhood kids loved popping the bubbles.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Working for a living -

    Miller drew eerily realistic cracks on the sidewalk for this construction scene, then left the chalk out and invited visitors to sign the sidewalk, which many did.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Up, up, and away! -

    The skeletons, dressed as superheroes, went after a robber.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Dressing up -

    Sometimes the skeletons get fancy.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Happy birthday! -

    Happy birthday to you, you're a hundred and two... The skeletons celebrated the birthdays of pals Courtney, who turned 14, and Colbie, who turned 6.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    In the pink -

    The skeletons have a social conscience too. In this scene, they honored breast-cancer awareness.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Running for a cause -

    The skeletons laced up their running shoes to support a 5K race raising nmoney for Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. Even dog Fang wore running shoes.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    X marks the spot -

    When humans are X-rayed, we see our bones, so surely, when skeletons are X-rayed, we see their ... clothes?

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Snow bunnies -

    It's usually not too snowy in South Carolina, but the skeletons still like to ski.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Kiss the cook -

    The skeletons grill up some dinner.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Happy days -

    The skeletons get their exercise in by hula-hooping and skateboarding.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    When carving goes wrong -

    Miller jokes that this is the most violent the skeletons ever get, carving pumpkins with a chainsaw and butcher knives.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Fly away -

    The skeletons recreate a scene from that Halloween classic, Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Project runway -

    Inspired by Miller's daughter, a fashion designer, the skeletons pose for a photo shoot.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    They're creepy and they're kooky... -

    Here the skeletons play homage to Uncle Fester's ability to power a light bulb with his mouth in "The Addams Family." The electric-chair-seated skeleton is powering the KitchenAid mixer while the other bakes.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    You scream, we scream... -

    Is that ice cream or ice scream the skeletons are enjoying? The tasty treat was made using Styrofoam balls covered with spray insulation foam, with colorful rubber bats replacing rainbow sprinkles. Fang wants some, too.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Rain, rain, go away... -

    The skeletons are prepared for a rainy day.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Off they go -

    The skeletons lace up for a jog.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Pedal power -

    Always wear your bike helmets, kids.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    GOOOOOOOAL! -

    The skeletons enjoy a good soccer game.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Picnic lunch -

    Fang is enjoying some frisbee at the skeletons' picnic -- but watch out for those enormous ants.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller
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    Camp out -

    Even the skeletons like to camp out and roast marshmallows.

    Steve Miller / Steve Miller

"We go out and talk to visitors and they tell us how much they love that we do this," Miller said. "Or that they send (photos) to their son in Afghanistan and to sick children at St. Jude's Hospital. That's what keeps us going. Doing this every day takes its toll, but we just remember how much joy these two little dime-store skeletons bring to people."

Follow Gael Fashingbauer Cooper on Google+.

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