Should You Buy Home Depot’s 12-Foot Skeleton?

Many households — my own included — enjoy decorating their yard a bit for Halloween to provide a bit of extra fun for any children who might be going trick-or-treating. Jack-o’-lanterns, scarecrows, ghosts made of bedsheets and spooky elements are common, and they add a touch of fun to the season.

And then there are other approaches.

Home Depot is currently offering a 12-foot skeleton Halloween decoration with LED eyes for $299. And folks, Twitter is going nuts over it.

While there is a lot to laugh about with the idea of a 12-foot tall skeleton decoration with LED eyes perched in your front yard, the fact is that Home Depot would not have a $300 decorative skeleton in it stores if it didn’t intend to sell quite a few of them this year. This means that there are many people out there buying this spooky seasonal skeleton, and many others considering it.

For many, a $300 plastic skeleton might seem like a completely silly and wasteful purchase. For others, it might seem completely worthwhile. That same split happens with almost any significant purchase someone might make. The same considerations should be applied to a $300 Home Depot skeleton as to any other major purchase, so let’s walk through some questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering purchasing a 12-foot tall plastic skeleton.

In this article

    6 questions to ask yourself before buying Home Depot’s 12-foot skeleton

    How often will you actually use this item?

    A giant 12-foot tall skeleton has a limited time range of sensible use. You’ll likely be able to display it for a week or two leading up to Halloween, with its maximum mileage coming on beggar’s night. After that, it needs to be taken down rather quickly, both to minimize weather damage to the item and because it’s out of season.

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    Unless you love celebrating Halloween year-round, you’ll get two or three weeks per year of use out of the item. The rest of the year, it’s just another skeleton in your closet.

    Where will you store this item when you’re not using it?

    This is a 12-foot tall skeleton. It’s going to take up a lot of space to store it. This item alone would fill up the rafters in many family garages, or eat up a significant chunk of space in a storage locker.

    Not only do you have to deal with storing it, remember that you’re also paying for the place where you store it. If you are using a storage locker, part of that storage locker cost is being devoted to storing a 12-foot skeleton. If it’s in your garage, part of the additional expense of having a house with a garage is going to store a giant plastic skeleton. Those are real costs that add up.

    What effect do you want to have, and will this achieve it? 

    Why are you buying it? What do you want it to do?

    Most likely, if you’re buying this skeleton, you’re buying it for a mix of a good laugh and perhaps a vague fright to a few people. Passersby will see it and get a chuckle out of a tall skeleton with light-up eyes. In other words, you’re spending $300 to give a smile and a small chuckle to the few hundred people who will pass by your door in October, and perhaps a bit of a reputation as “the person with that giant skeleton.” If you’re envisioning a grand effect that’s beyond simply making passersby smile and being “the person with that big skeleton,” is that really likely to happen? Probably not.

    So, is that effect worth $300 to you? Do you want to plunk down $300 to be “the person with the big skeleton” and give passersby a smile? Before you answer that, consider a few other things.

    Are there better Halloween decorations you can get with $300?

    If you were absolutely committed to a $300 Halloween decoration budget, you could almost certainly come up with decorations far more impressive than this skeleton. 

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    If you want some inspiration, there’s an enormous array of creative Halloween decoration ideas, most of which could be achieved within a $300 budget with some time and effort. You could easily make your front yard into a zombie-infested graveyard or turn your driveway into a spooky fog-filled space with grim reapers and witches. The $300 you spend on a Halloween skeleton could also be $300 toward a really cool and original yard decoration.

    What better things could you do in your life with that $300?

    One final thing to consider is the opportunity cost of $300. What other things could you do with the $300 you invested in that skeleton?

    That’s $300 paid off your credit card, $300 socked away in your Roth IRA for retirement, $300 in your child’s college savings plan or $300 put aside in an emergency fund.

    Let’s even say you spent $100 on different Halloween decorations to create a memorable effect. You still have $200 leftover that you could apply to other goals.

    You could simply take that money and donate it to a local charity. $200 or $300 could put a lot of food on people’s plates this winter. Even if you spent it purely on something enjoyable, it’s likely that you could find more lasting ways to spend $300 for your enjoyment.

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    Image Credit: Johannes Schmitt-Tegge/Getty Images

    Trent Hamm

    Founder & Columnist

    Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

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    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik
      Loans Editor

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to,, and elsewhere.