Make a toe-pincher coffin candy dish for Halloween


For some reason I’ve been meaning to make a Halloween candy dish for a long time and never got around to it until this year.

Coffin styles

I decided a coffin would probably make the most sense as a recognizable Halloween design. My first thought was an ornate, rectangular, Dracula-style casket. The biggest problem with that plan is that a trick-or-treat candy box needs to be seen in dark conditions. A vampire coffin could come across as just another box. The solution would be heavy ornamentation and a silky, padded lining.

Then I remembered the classic “toe-pincher” coffins you see town undertakers building in old westerns. That six-sided shape is uniquely identifiable as a coffin. You probably won’t confuse it with a jewelry box!

Making it look rustic

The fun part about building this was making it look as though it had been build by one of those old west undertakers. Individual boards held together with narrower cross braces. To make mine look even more authentic, I used scraps of pallet wood containing splits, stains, and nail holes. Although I glued it all together, I added some rusty coffin nails.

If you would like to make your own, here is the cutting template I made for mine:

You could certainly experiment with the size. Mine is 13″ long by 6″ wide. It seems to hold plenty of candy.

You will also note that I didn’t bother to figure out the angles needed to create the six sides. Since it is rustic looking, I wasn’t concerned with cutting anything exactly. I just sort of estimated the bevels and made them work, gaps and all. If you want to turn this into a fine woodworking project, you would probably want to figure out the exact angles and cut them accordingly.



  1. You might want to try some Weldbond glue for pallet projects like that. It’s white and dries clear so squeeze out won’t be as noticeable. I don’t think it’s for outdoor use though.

  2. Hey Steve, at least recommend the pallet wood be covered with a couple coats of spar varnish.

    You never know ‘just what’ was placed on a pallet – including pesticides, fertilizer, chemicals (toluene, acetone, etc.) – God Knows What.

    I would never use pallet wood for anything that get anywhere near food, or any ‘body parts’ for that matter.

    Buy some cheap rough pine for 80-cents a board foot. Or 2 x12 dimensional SYP and plane it down..

    • You are a little stupid, its more dangerous the fresh air in the city, and stay infront of the computer, i have a better idea for you, buy a entire pine tree and put it in your ass, within the squirrel.

    • I’m confused, is he supposed to but the tree in the squirrel’s ass and then the squirrel in his ass, or just put the tree in his ass with the squirrel in the tree? TIA

  3. Steve sealed the wood with spray lacquer and every single piece of candy was wrapped in its own plastic safety condom wrapper.

    Considering all that, I seriously doubt there is any appreciable chance that any toxins that might have been inside the wood will make it to the candy.

    There is probably a higher risk of Halloween kids getting exposed to toxic paints and dyes from their own costumes than whatever they might get from the candy box.

    Steve? Next week could you do a project where you show everyone how to build a life? It seems that the safety ninnies need one.

  4. Since food is shipped to the grocery store on pallets I thick we should all stop eating anything except what we grow ourselves. Just watch out for the squirrel excrement.

  5. I made mine this weekend. Everyone is calling it “cute” so it definitely did its job for a candy dish. … and it only cost $2 so how could I complain.

    Like Sompopo said earlier, I had a heck of a time making those angles without that info being in the template (and my not having a protrator – lol).

    Also something that worked great was brad nailing the heck out of it. You can’t see a thing with the nail gun putting those little things in so deep.

    Thanks for the plans and the show, Steve. -TxSawdust

  6. Steve, I think the question of cleanliness is a valid one. Anywhere I have ever gotten pallets is not a place I would feel comfortable setting up my picnic. Are some finished capable of killing any vermin on pallets? Ever thought about UV light?


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