How Skelly, Home Depot’s 12-Foot Skeleton, Became a Breakout Halloween Hit – Orange County Register

Home Depot's online listing.
Home Depot’s online listing.

There are two types of people: those who understand the appeal of a 12ft skeletal decoration and those who have yet to understand the appeal of a 12ft skeletal decoration.

Fall beckons with the arrival of the Home Depot skeleton, a massive Halloween garden decoration that first debuted in 2020 and has captured the imagination ever since. Affectionately known as Skelly, the towering figure is now a mascot of sorts for those who delight in the gothic excesses of Halloween decorations.

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

Or maybe it’s just funny to think of big skeletons.

“I mean, it’s the moment,” says Jenni Tabler, a sociology professor at the University of Wyoming. She summed up the zeitgeist in one now viral tweet: “To all celebrating, have a nice, massive skeleton season.”

Tabler doesn’t have a Skelly herself, but she understands the hype.

“I think for me, as a sociologist, I find it very encouraging that we can all rejoice in some of life’s little pleasures. And the giant skeleton is one of those fascinating little delights.”

Jill Troutman of Memphis, Tennessee searched for two years before securing her Skelly. She had an inside contact at her local Home Depot, so in September she got a call that the skeletons – the Skeletons – When back in stock, she ran to the store and quickly snagged one for $299.

Well, as soon as you can, when the skeleton in question comes in a box the size of a Manhattan apartment.

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

Kelly is born

Several retailers like Costco and Lowes are now offering their own Halloween behemoths, but the skelly phenomenon started in the Home Depot offices in 2020.

Listening to Lance Allen, Senior Merchant of Holiday Decor at Home Depot, was a labor of love in bringing Skelly to life.

“Our Christmas decorating team goes to the market, finds inspiration and sees what we can do differently,” he tells CNN. “We went to haunted houses to see what they were doing. We’ve seen all the classic scary movies.”

Eventually, the team spotted a giant torso at a fair and the gears started turning.

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

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

Allen’s teams know all about the culture that produced their enormous brain child, from the store sales to the undefinable charisma people find in his LED-lit eyes. In response to Skelly’s success, Home Depot has added even more massive offerings: A giant pumpkin skeleton, due out in 2021, as well as a 12-foot-tall floating witch inspired by a floating street performer, the Allen near the Bellagio Hotel saw in Las Vegas.

This year, the retailer debuted a giant werewolf figure that, at 9½ feet tall, looks like it belongs on the 18th hole of the city’s best putt-putt golf course.

“It shows us that customers have a passion for larger-than-life items,” he says. His online store sets a limit of one skelly per order; it is currently out of stock.

Skely will never die

Skelly’s popularity presents a chicken-and-egg-type dilemma: does a 12-foot skeleton increase a fondness for Halloween decorations, or does a fondness for Halloween decorations make one more likely to own a 12-foot skeleton?

It’s a bit of both.

Troutman, for example, gives her new skeleton (his name is Todd) pride of place among her existing Halloween finery.

“The whole neighborhood loves to come and check out our decorations,” she says. “I have to rethink the whole scheme because Todd is now the star of the show, complete with his own special lighting.”

When Vicky Euell and Glenn Grimstad of Toms River, New Jersey, married last October, their household served as Skelly’s wedding altar.

“This is our favorite holiday and everyone knows we don’t have an easy party. It has to go to the nines,” Euell told CNN. The couple’s Christmas displays draw admirers from around the area, and last year they acquired the 12-foot Home Depot witch to add to their collection. (Euell, a woman of taste, also has a permanent witch-themed bathroom.) How Skelly, Home Depot’s 12-Foot Skeleton, Became a Breakout Halloween Hit – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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