Interview with Lance Allen

Lance Allen, Decorative Holiday Merchant at The Home Depot

What fascinates you so much about Halloween and when did your fascination begin?
I grew up in Michigan and always loved trick or treating with my sister when we were younger. As I got older, the trick or treating transitioned to going to haunted forests, hayrides, and houses. The more I went to, the less I got scared, but the joy and entertainment became from watching how my friends reacted and how good the props were.

What’s your greatest memory of Halloween?
As a kid, I loved going to the local orchard. I have such fond memories, picking apples, getting cider, cooking hot dogs over a fire, and picking out the best pumpkin. I still remember, how much fun it was to take them home, carve them and see them light up for the first time.

Do you have any childhood familial Halloween traditions that you continue today?
This ties in with my greatest Halloween memories. I have made sure I’ve carried the tradition of taking my son to pick out pumpkins and then carve them. We also have a lot of fun, putting up our newest decorations for all of our neighbors to enjoy.

What is your all-time favorite costume that you dressed up in for Halloween?
That is a really tough question, it’s so hard to choose. I probably had the most fun the time I dressed up as Buddy the Elf, I made sure I was in full character. I’ve also done a great vampire, Mario Cart, and Minion!

The 12-foot skeleton became a viral sensation as well as a source of comfort for many people during the missed year of Halloween due to Covid. Why do you think it was such a sleeper hit?
We knew we designed one of the greatest Halloween items of all time. We just had no idea; we were doing it for when people would need it the most. It brought a huge smile to everyone’s face whether it was in their yard, their neighbors or they were seeing it in a meme. It was a way for everybody to just say, “take that COVID, one way or another we are going to celebrate Halloween, this year… and then every other Holiday”

As someone on the inside of Halloween decorations and merchandising, what keeps you inspired each year to keep the excitement going?
I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I get to make people smile. I love watching their reactions as they walk into our stores and see that season’s set for the first time.
We have set expectations really high for our customers and it pushes both myself and our team to ensure we are leading the market with items that would have been impossible to manufacture just a few years ago.

What do you hope to pass on to your kids in regard to your love for Halloween?
I want him to understand how it is such a great Holiday because we get to not only enjoy it with our family but also our friends and neighbors. Last year he was 6 for Halloween, there was tons of excitement about our decorations, but he also loved giving out candy as much or more than receiving it when he was trick or treating.

If there is just one misconception about people who love Halloween that you could clear up, what would it be?
I don’t think everybody understands how broad the fanbase is, there are so many people from so many different walks of life that truly enjoy it!

What exactly do you do as the Decorative Holiday Merchant at The Home Depot?
The best part of the job is where my team and I work to bring the best holiday and Halloween products to Home Depot customers. We are constantly following trends and looking for inspiration to create products that people really want. We also get to design the in-store and online experience each season.
The less glamorous part of the job, but just as important is managing the business’s financial portfolio, determining the store assortments, and ensuring the inventory arrives on time.

What’s your favorite Halloween candy to give out?
King size candy bars… Just like my favorite decorations, the bigger the better.