Haunts, Howls, Inflatables and a 12-Foot Superstar: 10 Years of Halloween at The Home Depot
Years before The Home Depot began selling Halloween products, company co-founder Arthur Blank wrote in Built from Scratch, “If we can’t be the best in a category, we don’t carry it.” Fast forward to today, where The Home Depot sets the pace for its dedicated Halloween fanbase.
Beyond product, a community of Halloween-loving customers has made this holiday something truly special. These are passionate doers who set their alarm clocks for the wee hours of the morning in mid-July to get first dibs on the latest props when Halloween products launch on homedepot.com. These are also customers who shop in stores, filling their carts with oversized boxes and ultra poseable skeletons. But how did it all begin?
Halloween arrived at The Home Depot in 2013, on store endcaps merchandised with 40+ products. Several of the products were pumpkin-focused, a nod to the company’s previous harvest-themed offerings, and there was an assortment of 42” inflatables. One of the stars of the 2013 lineup was an oversized air blown singing pumpkin that played Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
In response to growing demand, stores were stocked with 120 products and more than 650 were available online by 2015. The company’s exclusive Home Accents Holiday brand expanded its assortment of animated characters, specialty and projection lighting, and décor, in the years that followed. Larger props like a life-sized skeleton horse, an animated skeleton T-Rex dinosaur and a variety of dragons – from inflatable to smoke-breathing – created buzz.
In 2020, amid a global pandemic, there was a turning point. The arrival of the 12-Foot Giant Skeleton as part of the Grave and Bones collection changed the game forever. “Skelly,” as this giant is now affectionately known, became a viral internet and media sensation during the pandemic, with Skelly flooding streets around the country. Customers were aware of The Home Depot’s presence in the Halloween marketplace and took notice. Senior Merchant Lance Allen, the mastermind behind Skelly and many giant props, reflects on the rise of Skelly and the successful growth and innovation of this category.
"For Skelly, we knew the moment we sampled him that we had created one of the best Halloween items ever. To see his massive size and his eyes following you around the room, it left an exciting impression months before he made it to stores or online. Then, he went on sale and the viral videos started happening. We're thrilled that The Home Depot has continued to offer him to our customers with such great quality and incredible value."
– Lance Allen, Senior Merchant of Decorative Holiday
While Skelly may have increased awareness of The Home Depot’s Halloween lineup, there were other factors at work to ensure that customers would keep coming back for more.
“The Home Depot’s success and growth in the Halloween category has a couple of key drivers. The first is the unique approach of our team to design and develop exclusive items. We simply don’t settle for off-the-shelf, generic items for our customers. We partner with the best vendors in the business to create jaw dropping items that push the limits of size, animation, and realism at incredible values,” according to Lance.
“As a company we also lead the market with the integrated shopping experience for our customers,” says Lance. “Customers can not only research and buy the items online, but they can also find them on display with associates happy to walk them through the newest seasonal releases. Our customers trust the quality of our products and they know we’ve spent an extensive amount of time developing them. They have great relationships with their stores, and they go back year after year. Other companies might pop up for a couple of months and then disappear - they know that isn’t the case with The Home Depot.
Keep up with all the latest Home Depot news! Subscribe to our bi-weekly news update and get the top Built from Scratch stories delivered straight to your inbox.