How a 12-foot skeleton became the hottest Halloween decoration around


There are two types of people: those who understand the appeal of a 12-foot skeleton ornament, and those who have yet to understand the appeal of a 12-foot skeleton ornament.

Fall heralds the arrival of the Home Depot skeleton, a monstrous Halloween patio decoration that first hit the market in 2020 and has captivated imaginations ever since. The figure known as Skelly is now something of a mascot for those who enjoy the excess of gothic Halloween decorations.

Why so many people identify with this creature – enough to capture entire inventories in hours and create an entire skeleton black market in the process – is a question left to a higher power. Perhaps Skelly is the bridge between the extremes of our human nature; sadness and joy, hunger and excess, the sacred and the profane wrapped in high-density polyethylene.

Or maybe big skeletons are just fun to think about.

“I mean, it’s about time,” says University of Wyoming sociology professor Jenni Tabler. He summed up the Zeitgeist in one now a viral tweet: “To all those celebrating an incredibly happy skeleton season.”

Tabler doesn’t have the same Skelly, but it gets the hype.

“In my opinion, as a sociologist, I find it very satisfying that we all come together in front of some of the small joys in life. And the enormous skeleton is one of those fascinating little joys.’

Jill Troutman of Memphis, Tennessee searched for two years before securing her Skelly. He had an inside contact at the local Home Depot, so when he got a call in September the skeletons… has skeletons – they were back in stock, he ran to the store and quickly pulled one out.

Well, as quickly as possible when the skeleton in question arrives in a box the size of a Manhattan apartment.

“The box was HUGE,” Troutman said. “I wasn’t sure I could get it in my little SUV, but I was going to die trying!”

Many retailers like Costco and Lowes now offer their own Halloween monsters, but the Skelly phenomenon began in Home Depot’s offices in 2020.

Bringing Skelly to life was a labor of love, described Lance Allen, Home Depot’s senior holiday decor merchandiser.

“What our holiday decorating team does is go out into the market, find inspiration and see what we can do differently.” he tells CNN. ” We went to haunted houses to see what they were doing. We watched all the classic horror movies.’

Eventually, the group saw a giant log at a fair, and the gears started turning.

“We really brought the product to market at the perfect time,” he said. “It was in the first year of the pandemic, when everyone had to smile.”

Although the skeleton doesn’t have a name on the box, Allen says people in the office started calling him Skelly and, well, it fit.

Allen’s crew knows all about the culture their incredible idea has created, from the sold-out stores to the indefinable charisma people find in his LED-lit eyes. In response to Skelly’s success, Home Depot has added more outrageous offerings: a giant pumpkin skeleton set for release in 2021, as well as a 12-foot-tall levitating witch inspired by a floating street artist Allen spotted near the Bellagio Hotel. in Las Vegas

Skelly's popularity has spawned other great Halloween offerings, like a levitating witch and a massive werewolf.

This year, the retailer debuted a giant 9.5-foot-tall werewolf figure that looks like it’s on the 18th hole of the best putt-putt golf course in town.

“What this shows us is that customers are passionate about larger-than-life items,” he says.

New Jersey couple Vicky Euell and Glenn Grimstad celebrated their 2021 Halloween wedding with a Skelly altar.

Skelly’s popularity poses a chicken-and-egg conundrum: Does a 12-foot skeleton increase your love of Halloween decorations, or does your love of Halloween decorations increase your chance of owning a 12-foot skeleton?

It’s a bit of both.

Troutman, for example, is giving his new skeleton (named Todd) pride of place among his existing Halloween costumes.

“Whole neighborhoods enjoy coming to see our decorations,” he says. “I have to rethink the whole scheme because now Todd is the star of the show complete with his special lighting.”

When Vicky Euell and Glenn Grimstad of Toms River, New Jersey were married last October, the Skelly home served as the wedding altar.

“This is our favorite holiday, and everyone knows we don’t just have a party. It has to be until nine,” Euell told CNN. The couple’s holiday displays draw fans from the area, and last year they acquired a 12-foot Home Depot witch to add to their collection. (Euell, a popular woman, also has a permanent witch-themed toilet.)

As Halloween rolls around, Euell and Grimstad face another critical phase of the Skelly experience: finding a place to store the 12-foot skeleton.

“Actually, we decorate in autumn, and we leave it during Christmas. Someone even made him a snow suit with a Santa hat.’

“But it’s only for the interior,” Euell says. “I don’t think he would have lasted outside at that.”