Several years ago HomeDepot.com burst onto the Halloween scene with the most unusual collection of decor. And lately, they have been offering some of the largest and most awe-inspiring props I've ever seen. Sorry everybody else, you are a very distant second.
This year we got the most impressive, consumer-level prop I've ever seen: a 12-foot Giant Skeleton. This thing is HUGE and heavy (in the box it weighs 93 lbs.). With a metal frame and plastic bone overlay, it's quite solid and must be tied down securely with the included braided wire and supports. Added sandbags are recommended. I can already see the lawsuits from wind pushing this thing over onto windows, cars, pedestrians, etc. It will take two people to assemble this monster and there's even an app to guide you through the process. It's not posable, but the arms do rotate up and down. The head features animated LED eyes that blink, close, look around, and add a lot of life.
I was able to assemble it rather quickly being no novice to the Halloween standee figures. Once I pull him apart, I will labelled each piece for more intuitive reconstruction (lower leg left, upper leg left, etc.) which makes me wonder why they didn't do this in the first place. There's always seems to be a disconnect between the manufacturers and the consumers, which makes me wonder why they don't bring in home haunters for a product testing.
Design/photo by Jeremy Logan
This skeleton has become so iconic that there's already a Facebook group with over 1300 members dedicated to it. Home haunters across the country are modifying the skeleton with new paint jobs (note how shading/highlighting with paint enhances the realism, above), flexible joints for various poses, and even an animatronic head with jaw movement (below). Folks are chatting about how to light it, where to display it, and even how to secure it from thieves. If properly weighted and tied down, I can't imagine anyone would be able to steal it. This is a fantastic group that you should join whether or not you were lucky enough to nab a skeleton.
Sadly, this behemoth is now mostly sold out across the country, no longer available to ship online, and unlikely to be restocked (according to an online sales supervisor). It's surprising the skeleton sold out so quickly considering the hefty $328 price tag. But the heart wants what the heart wants. In the group, there are many discussions of how far people traveled to find one, sad tales of skeletons that arrived damaged or went missing, and the opportunistic scumbags selling them on eBay for upwards of $1395. One seller lists 3 being available so they likely bought out their entire local store. The last remedy is buying the floor model but some stores has a strict policy of keeping display items through the season, even when sold out. I guess this is to punish consumers who weren't quick enough to buy the item? So cruel.
The last item to consider about this 12-foot skeleton is where to store it after Halloween. Some group members plan on leaving it out all year long (maybe add a Santa hat for the holidays?), but the plastic parts are not sealed well and rain/snow will likely rust the inner metal frame and stand. Before assembly, I would coat every inch in several layers of spar urethane to add some protection from the elements. The box it comes in is about the size of a breakfast table which is fine is you have the storage space. Take a picture of each layer of the contents to remember how it should go back in. I have no storage, so I plan to break apart the skeleton and store bones here, frame there, head over there, and display just the torso. Make a treasure map to remember where you put everything.
I look forward to the many photos that will be posted over the upcoming weeks. Home haunters are some of the most creative and resourceful people, and they will unleash the awe-inducing spectacle of this 12-foot skeleton in ways I can't even imagine.
Design/photo by Dawn Ford