So as my adventure in decorating as cheaply as possible continues, I had the luck to notice that a clearly fruit-loving neighbor of mine had put several wooden fruit crates out at the curb. Needless to say, I grabbed one and took it home with me. Needless to say, I now wish I'd grabbed them all. Oh well, c'est la vie.
I forgot to take a picture before I'd cut it, but I'm sure you can use your imagination to envision it whole. It... it was so beautiful, all wooden and splintery and covered with a big blue logo I couldn't translate because I suck at Italian. *sob*
Use a jigsaw or handsaw to cut the box diagonally. If there's a little hole (as can be seen on the far side of the box), make a few additional cuts so you can break some bits of the board to create a hand-hole.
Remove the nail-studded bar from the end using a hammer, going slowly to avoid breaking the slats. Briefly wonder what kind of damage the bar would do to a vandal's feet if you embedded it nail-side-up in the ground in front of one of your props, then look around guiltily and hope nobody heard you thinking. Wrap the bar carefully so it can't hurt anyone and put it in the trash. Briefly wonder how many other people have terrible thoughts too. Briefly wonder if maybe you should just never leave the house again, because although you know YOU would never act on your thoughts, you have no way of knowing if OTHER PEOPLE feel the same inhibitions. Spend some time brooding about humanity.
Paint the whole thing. You'll need to go heavy on the sides to cover any logos, but try to go light on top to preserve any wood grain. Then, if you're a jerkbag parent like me and you have brown paint all over your fingers, you can wail to your kids about how you got diarrhea all over your hands and then chase them around the house trying to grab them. They'll scream a lot and run really fast if you do this. I figure it's good practice for Halloween.
We all know I'm lazy, but even I occasionally do things right. Paint inside anywhere where people might be able to peek in and see bare wood.
I then corpse-ified a Dollarama skeleton hand using a Dollarama plastic drop-sheet and acrylic paint. I won't go into the process here since there are other people's tutorials about that.
Find a good location in your home graveyard. Stick the hand into the coffin with the fingers out. Dig up the ground slightly in a line, then shove the pointy end of your coffin into the dug-up line. Dump a shovel of dirt over and around your coffin so it has that just-emerged look.
In situ. (I know my gravestone isn't too good, I'm still learning. While I am indeed incredibly awesome and the best decorator ever*, even I can't be perfect at everything.) Final cost for just the coffin, assuming you have access to a fruit crate and a handsaw or jigsaw: $1 (for brown acrylic paint). Coffin with hand: $4.50 ($2 for acrylic paint, $1.25 for skeleton hand, $1.25 for plastic drop-sheet for corpse-ifying).
* Assessment made by my children. They have exceedingly low standards and are effusive in their compliments, as long as I'm not chasing them around with paint-diarrhea-hands.