Not sure if you are going to use as a static or moving prop, but it does'nt really matter. I always use spray on polyurethane as a final finish. Yes it will make it heavier but more solid. Taking in that you live on a hill, I would suggest wood. I have several props that the bases for them are wood with a nice coat of the polyurethane and work just fine. I have noticed over the years, It is somewhat windy here in Florida on Halloween night and PVC just wont do it for the weight factor. Falling over is usually the problem. Hope this helps.