A number of different companies all try to outdo themselves when Halloween starts to loom over the horizon, with decorations getting more complex and frightening every fall, though The Home Depot emerged as one of 2020’s biggest winners with the debut of their 12-foot skeleton. Arriving seemingly out of nowhere, once Halloween fans witnessed the decorations on display at local retail locations, these props needed to be seen to be believed, as their massive stature immediately established themselves as must-buy items. The popularity of the prop resulted not only in its return for the 2021 Halloween season, but also the development of the “Inferno Pumpkin” variant, allowing those who scored the massive prop last year to add a new pal for the figure.
Not only were owners of the giant skeleton thrilled to display it for Halloween, but they also found clever ways to utilize it for other holidays, dressing them up in a variety of unexpected ensembles to fully honor the impressive decoration. As a result, Home Depot even unveiled new outfits you could purchase to extend the life of the figure.
ComicBook.com recently caught up with Decorative Holiday Merchant at The Home Depot Lance Allen by email to talk about how the skeleton was conceptualized, the reaction to the prop going viral, and what the future might hold for the frightening figure.
ComicBook.com: Whose idea was it to design and release such a large prop?
Lance Allen: We have a small group on our Holiday Team that strategizes and collaborates on new items. The 12-foot skeleton came to life after we were inspired by larger-than-life items walking trade shows and haunted houses. I still remember stating that it needs to be as large as two grown men standing on top of each other and just watching our engineer’s mouth drop, trying to figure out that challenge.
What was the process of the artistic development of the original skeleton?
The 12-foot skeleton was actually one of our easier pieces to design because the blueprint was a human skeleton. The first version was anatomically correct, but we did have to modify it because the scaling didn’t look right on a piece that large.
Was there apprehension about it not being a big seller because it was too big or not as extravagant and intricately detailed as other props?
We knew we designed one of the greatest Halloween items of all time, our only apprehension was how our customers would be able to get it home because of the box size. It is amazing what creative ways our customers have found to get it home.
When did you realize customers were really connecting with it and that it was going viral on social media?
Customers were excited about it when we launched him online, but I don’t think anybody realized how big it truly was until it hit stores. Once it was on display in stores, it exploded overnight. It had its own hashtag, was all over TikTok and even other brands started utilizing it in their posts!
Did you have a favorite viral post or customization of the skeleton that you came across on social media?
I have so many! One of my favorites is still the viral TikTok video by @loud.emma, showing her partner bringing home one “Skelly” on the roof of a Mini Cooper.
Once it sold out in 2020, was it obvious that it had to come back for 2021?
We knew a lot of customers did not have a chance to purchase it because it sold out so fast. So, we wanted to ensure we continued to bring that excitement to our customers this season and also bring some other massive friends that could keep their 12-foot skelly company with our 12-foot Inferno Pumpkin Skeleton and 8-foot Dark Angel.
What was the design process of the Inferno Pumpkin variant, which honors the original skeleton while also giving it a unique twist?
The 12-foot Inferno Pumpkin Skeleton has significantly more artistic work behind it because we didn’t have a skeleton to model it after. We spent months to get the look just right, with the inferno chest/mouth, the LifeEyes, and the attention to details with the branches, vines, and jack-o’-lantern head. We also wanted to ensure it pulled through the haunted midwestern farm theme, where it looked like it could be chasing you through a cornfield.
What was the development and design process of the various extra outfits that can be purchased to extend the life of the skeleton?
The best part of my job is where my team and I work to bring the best Holiday and Halloween products to Home Depot customers. We are constantly following trends and looking for inspiration to create products that people really want. We realized that after “Skelly” went viral, people started dressing it up for various holidays, including Christmas and Easter, and we knew we had to help our customers, so they don’t have to worry about finding large enough clothing for their giant skeleton.
Based on the success you’ve already seen in 2021, can we count on the 12-foot skeleton being an annual tradition at The Home Depot?
The 12-foot skeleton, or as we like to call it, “Skelly,” has made a mark on The Home Depot team. We’re all invested in making people excited for the Holidays and putting smiles on our customers’ faces. We are not quite ready to begin to discuss our 2022 assortment yet, but I promise you, it will not disappoint!
You can head to the official The Home Depot site to secure your skeleton.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.