The Rear End

THE REAR END: So Many Bones About It

The giant skeletons have finally reached the Valley. Let’s get spooky!

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

A few years back, it started. I began to notice images of the thing out there on the internet. It was tall. Menacing. On sale. 

It was Giant Skeleton.  

Buzzfeed in particular really wanted me to know about this towering Halloween decoration – an oversized oddity one could only obtain from a place called “Home Depot.” Introduced in 2020 by the home improvement mega-chain, it was 12 feet tall. It cost $300.

Last year, the monster was still locked away, confined to sponsored Instagram ads, paid blog posts, and Halloween memes. You could still only see pictures of the thing. But now, for Halloween 2022, Giant Skeleton has arrived in the Chippewa Valley. It’s all over the place. 

Compared to the Valley’s many other front yard skeleton decorations, it really stands out.

Why you ask? We don’t have a Home Depot in the area. So where, oh where can one obtain this boney colossus? 

Amazon, I presume. Upon my last trip to Menards for furnace filters, I didn’t notice Giant Skeleton looming betwixt the inflatable Christmas trees, so the online mega-retailer is my only guess. And after a quick glance, it appears I’m right. Amazon does indeed sell a $460 12-foot skeleton with “LifeEyes,” an unsettling improvement over Home Depot’s offerings. 

So, now that we have Giant Skeletons roaming the city, what’s next? Twenty-foot tombstones? Giant witches crashed into telephone poles? Giant sexy skeletons?

Or how about something local?

Imagine a 12-foot-tall Old Abe skeleton perched atop your house. If my raptor math is correct, an eagle that tall could easily have a 30-foot wingspan. If it tipped over, Old Dead Abe could injure trick-or-treaters and tear part of your roof clean off. How spooky is that?

Maybe a Paul Bunyan skeleton? You could just use the normal 12-foot skeleton, but give it a giant ax and a massive wool beanie. Kids love giant axes.

Maybe a Paul Bunyan skeleton? You could just use the normal 12-foot skeleton, but give it a giant ax and a massive wool beanie. Kids love giant axes.


Or what about the actual skeleton of Adin Randall, the bad boy philanthropist/businessman whose name appears on many a local landmark? His bones gotta be buried around here somewhere, right? We could dig ’em up each October and pose them in front of City Hall, doing wacky stuff like inventing the sheer boom to efficiently shunt logs into Half Moon Lake – an actual, historical thing he really did do.

What about the bones of the historic Kline’s Department Store? Y’all remember that place? No? Well, you sure talked about it nonstop when they ripped it down to build the Haymarket Landing building on South Barstow Street. You could just nail some moldy old timbers together and mimic the building’s iconic two-story outline: a rectangle. This would be great for Halloween since, prior to its demolition, Kline’s Department Store was a true zombie of its former self, shambling into the modern era, its decaying façade a horrific reminder to keep away lest ye be infected with tetanus. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Maybe we could beat Rhinelander at its own game and introduce the Giant Hodag Skeleton. Can you imagine the looks on their faces? They’ll all be slapping their foreheads in disbelief, wondering why they didn’t think of it first. Imagine all the tourism dollars we’ll steal! We’d strut into the next Small Town Cryptozoological Tourism Convention, looking down our noses at their grumpy faces. We’d be invited to Point Pleasant’s Mothman after party while Rhinelander eats alone at the hotel restaurant. So cool.

Also, it wouldn’t be too hard to build a set of 12-foot-tall, animatronic skeletons bearing a remembrance to Ann Landers and Abigail “Dear Abby” Van Buren.* They could stand in your yard, dispensing helpful relationship and homemaking advice to all the lil’ trick-or-treaters. At the end of the night they could literally battle for advice column dominance. Spooky!

Welp, that’s enough for now. If you want more awesome, free ideas for locally themed giant skeletons, you’ll just have to think of them yourself. Happy Halloween!

*In case you somehow didn’t know, Ann Landers and Dear Abby were famous advice columnists with ties to Eau Claire. Creeeeepy!

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