Local woman creates a skeleton extravaganza to raise funds for St. Jude

Mike Wolanin | The Republic A view of Sara Elifritz’s spooky Halloween display at her home on Parkside Drive in Columbus, Ind., Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. Elifritz put up the large Halloween display as part of the Skeletons for St. Jude nationwide fundraising event. She is hoping to raise $1000 for the organization.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The sight of a skeleton might strike some people as ominous. To others, the plastic bones and sleepy smile might seem like a cheesy gimmick, or a cheerful reminder that Halloween is right around the corner.

At one Columbus residence, however, these figures represent something more than just a spooky specter they are the backdrop for a fundraising campaign that is all about saving lives.

Sara Elifritz of 2043 Parkside Drive has gone all out with her Halloween yard display in participation with a nationwide fundraising effort known as “Skeletons for St. Jude.” The effort as a whole is seeking to raise $100,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Elifritz’s personal goal is to raise $1,000.

As of Oct. 17, the Skeletons for St. Jude effort had raised more than $85,000 in 2022, including $240 from Elifritz’s campaign.

“Seeing the enjoyment out of all the kids in the neighborhood and seeing the Skeletons for St. Jude mission to help get more kids out of the hospital so that they can enjoy things like this really is the big thing,” she said. “I think that every kid should be able to go out and find joy in things like this.”

Skeletons for St. Jude started with the Robertson family of Holly Springs, North Carolina, who decided to place a St. Jude fundraising sign in their yard after a local TV station aired footage of their skeleton Halloween display.

“After generating $8,200, in a few short weeks, and meeting several families impacted by childhood cancer, the Robertsons were moved to turn the fundraiser into an annual event,” according to St. Jude.

In 2021, more than 400 homes across the U.S. participated in the campaign, which raised more than $150,000. The goal for 2022 is to raise $100,000 and reach a cumulative milestone of more than $250,000.

Where to see it

Sara Elifritz’s Halloween display is located at 2043 Parkside Drive. The lights turn on automatically at about 6 p.m.; however, certain items have to be switched on manually, which is normally done around 7 p.m. Elifritz expects to keep the display up until the weekend after Halloween.

To donate to her campaign specifically, visit events.stjude.org/SkeletonsOnParksideDrive. She also has a Facebook page about her year-round yard displays titled “The Skeletons on Parkside Drive.”

For more information about Skeletons for St. Jude, visit skeletonsforhope.org.

To learn more, and see more photos, see Thursday’s Republic.