A Humerus Display: LaGrange family makes perfect use of 12-foot Halloween skeleton decoration

Published 10:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2022

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There is often a conundrum among homeowners regarding what to do with their collection of holiday decorations once the holiday in question has passed. For those with the space, such decor goes into storage for a year, others may choose to donate items and start fresh the next holiday.

A mother-daughter duo in LaGrange however found the perfect use for one particular Halloween decoration after they realized they had a golden opportunity for a few laughs — and after they realized they would have to add on to the house to store it.

Angela and Sam Royal are the proud owners of Rick R. Mortis, a 12-foot-tall skeleton with a sense of style. Rick R. Mortis lives with the Royals on Country Club Road and is the subject of a lot of head-turns — and thankfully no accidents — for drivers taking the turnabout.

“When someone asks me for directions [to get to my home] I just say you’re there when you see the skeleton,” joked Angela, a Great Wolf Lodge employee. “I’m pleasantly surprised that the response [to Rick R. Mortis’ presence] has been as enthusiastic as it has.”

The Royals bought Rick R. Mortis in September 2021 for Halloween after seeing one displayed in a yard in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As the holiday came and went, the Royals became attached to their unique yard decoration and sought a way to make him a permanent fixture. As Rick R. Mortis’ popularity grew, the Royals decided to give him his own Facebook page. His profile describes him as a retired archaeologist from Boston, Massachusetts. In even better news, he’s single. As of June 3, 2022, Rick R. Mortis has 870 friends and 40 followers. They soon found out they were not alone with this unique demonstration.

“There are all kinds of 12-foot skeleton Facebook groups so we started seeing some of the things other people were doing and we wanted to continue after that,” Angela said, adding the groups share tips and clothing ideas.

Using the inspiration from these groups as well as their own creativity, the Royals found ways to create accessories for Rick R. Mortis so he could be dressed for every occasion. Most of his clothes are bought in the largest sizes the Royals can find. Christmas includes a massive hat and suit onesy and St. Patrick’s Day included a red beard purchased online. For graduation season, Rick R. Mortis was dressed in oversized black trash bags to assemble graduation robes. Rick R. Mortis even donned gear for May the Fourth Be With You, also known as Star Wars Day. Most displays will last three weeks to a month. The disassembling process is a chore, Angela said, and can take her and her daughter and occasionally Angela’s mother as long as several hours to over a day to switch Rick R. Mortis’ outfits.

“Every once in a while if I don’t have time to put him together, I’ll just throw his arms and head in the back seat on my way to work and forget about him,” Angela said. “It gets a couple of looks.”

Recently, Rick R. Mortis was joined by Wolfie, a skeleton dog who shares the skeleton’s festive spirit.

The Royals additionally dress Rick R. Mortis up for specific occasions, such as a visit from the LaGrange High’s Baseball team. In the near future, the Royals plan to use Rick R. Mortis as the star of a fundraising event or two. In August, the Royals plan to participate in the Skeletons for St. Jude fundraiser where they and other 12-foot skeleton enthusiasts raise funds for the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The goal for the skeletons groups this summer is to raise $100,000 for St. Jude’s overall $250,000 goal, Angela said.

They also plan to participate in breast cancer awareness month in October, as well as a fundraiser for Chiari Malformation, which Sam is receiving treatment for. Chiari Malformations is a condition that causes brain tissue to settle into the spinal canal. In Sam’s case, her brain is essentially growing outside her skull, Angela explained. Sam additionally deals with a 20-inch synovial cyst on her back and has scoliosis as a result of the condition. However, her treatment has been well-received and she plans to attend LaGrange High School for her senior year in the fall.

To keep up with the ever-changing adventures of Rick R. Mortis, visit his Facebook page.