Meet the Georgia Tech grad behind viral 12-foot-tall Halloween skeleton

Home Depot’s 12-foot-tall skeleton decoration, ‘Skelly’, first took social media by storm in 2020.

Since then, around this time of year, the shockingly tall skeleton towers over trick-or-treaters and takes over front lawns across Georgia.

So, who’s behind the phenomenon? Meet Rachel Little, a senior product engineer at The Home Depot and Georgia Tech grad.

Three years ago, Little’s team was responsible for bringing Skelly to life, “so to speak, engineering the 12-foot-tall skeleton from skull to boney toes,” Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine’s Jennifer Herseim writes.

“A lot of the work I get to do is similar to what I did at the Invention Studio at Georgia Tech,” Little tells the magazine.

Before they are manufactured and then shipped to stores, Little reportedly reviews 3D-printed models of Home Depot’s products.

One of the hardest parts of Little’s design process is making the products weather-resistant. “Wind is always the biggest challenge for me,” Little explains.

When Skelly was first released, Herseim writes, the decoration sold out within a few weeks. “It was the perfect storm,” Little says, “It was the first year of COVID and everyone was stuck at home, so people really leaned into doing exterior decorations.”

Skelly has since become a TikTok star, generating its own viral videos across social media.

@mikeyo1414 Still celebrating 1989 era this Halloween season, but had to add some Red after this weekend #swiftok #halloween #taylorswift #skelly ♬ original sound - r & m <33

Little has been at The Home Depot for five years, according to Herseim but before that, she worked in the medical device industry. When Little’s friend mentioned the open position for an engineer working on Halloween at The Home Depot, Herseim says Little jumped at the opportunity.

“I thought, ‘Halloween is fun.’ I get to be sort of an ‘Imagineer’ and stay in Atlanta,” Little recalls. “I felt like it was a bit of a miracle how it happened.”

Read Herseim’s full interview with Little here.

Nicole Bennett

Nicole Bennett

CMG Digital Content Producer





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