You might think people say the giant, 12-foot-tall skeleton in their front yard is an eyesore.
But you would be wrong.
“Skelly Boy,” the massive, pumpkin-faced skeleton on Alicia Bonanno and Donavan Richardson’s property in Redford has become a popular selfie and local tourism spot since Richardson gifted Bonanno, his fiancé, the monster just before Halloween last year.
“Her favorite holiday is Halloween, so I got it as kind of a surprise for her,” he said.
Unlike those who leave the giant skeletons outside year-round for lack of storage space, Bonanno and Richardson keep Skelly Boy outside simply because people enjoy it so much.
“It was just going to be a Halloween decoration, but then people on Facebook were like, ‘Are you going to dress it up for the next holiday?’ So I was like, you know what? Let’s do it,” Bonanno said. “We anticipated keeping it up just for Christmas but it was so fun, so it’s just kind of grown.”
The display has grown over the months to include colored lights, a seat for selfie-takers and two smaller skeletons added during Christmastime the couple call “Skelves.” Richardson has also made sure Skelly Boy is sturdy and able to withstand storms.
Neighbors, children, a party bus and even a local musician looking for album art have visited their home on Beech Daly, right across the street from Claude Allison Park. They say everyone is welcome and enjoy seeing Skelly Boy be the source of so much fun.
“People are welcome to come and laugh and be loud,” Bonanno said. “We love seeing people happy; it doesn’t matter what time it is. We usually go back on our camera feed to see how much fun people are having.”
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Right now, Skelly is decked out with beer glasses, a red beard and a green top hat for St. Patrick’s Day. On April 1, he’ll don bunny ears and a bushy tail as a nod to the Easter holiday. The couple plans to change his look every month.
It costs roughly $100 to decorate Skelly Boy every month, and the couple has been shocked by the décor, services and money visitors have offered without being asked. The couple doesn’t ask for donations, but is looking for someone to get Skelly Boy on TikTok.
“We have people stop by all the time,” Richardson said. “One lady was walking by today while I was out here fixing it and was like, ‘I just want to let you know I drive by this every day. Keep it going; it’s awesome.'”
People can keep up with updates by joining the Skelly Boy Fan Club group on Facebook, where the couple also holds a photo contest every month. Whether or not they want to take photos for the contest, everyone is welcome to come by and enjoy some spooky fun.
“My number one thing is the joy it brings to the neighborhood,” Bonanno said. “It makes kids happy: People actually use it as an incentive for their kids if they’re good in school. It’s just amazing with all the great feedback we’ve gotten from it.”