ENDWELL, NY – Boris the Skeleton, named by the New York couple who host him on their lawn, has attracted a global fan base with its variety of costumes and decorations throughout the year.
Beyond bringing smiles, Boris also provides other contributions to the community; the display also helps the couple raise a ton of donations for local charities.
Scott Varcadipane and his fiancee, Samantha Dalla-Verde, sell Boris T-shirts, bumper stickers and other items to raise funds for local charities including the Alzheimer’s Association; Mercy House, which houses the terminally ill; and Willow’s Wings, an animal sanctuary based in the city of Maine. The couple have raised nearly $ 16,000 so far this year, they said.
Boris’ origin story began last year: In January 2020, Varcadipane, an electrician, was working on the ceiling at Johnson City Middle School when he was involved in a serious accident. Luckily, one of the coaches of a school basketball game, Ed Gee, heard her screams for help, ran to her aid, and kicked the ladder back. This disconnected the live wire and saved Varcadipane’s life.
Since then, Varcadipane has undergone nine surgeries as he continues to recover from the accident. Dalla-Verde decided to buy him a 12-foot skeleton for Halloween 2020 and display it outside their home in Endwell. Then the couple, who love to decorate for the holidays, decided to put Boris back in December disguised as the Grinch.
On Boxing Day, the couple received an anonymous letter in the mail claiming Boris had ruined Christmas for one of their neighbors. That’s when the couple decided to keep him awake all year round with a sign that read, “Dear Karen. My name is Boris. I love all vacations now.
They started dressing Boris in different outfits each month and putting up funny signs.
“Dear Karen,” read the Valentine’s Day sign. “I know you don’t love me, but will you be my valentine?”
The popularity of Boris is growing. People started to stop to take pictures of Boris or to pose with him.
“People are reorienting themselves into work just to get past it and see if it has changed costumes,” said Varcadipane.
The couple also launched social media pages for Boris on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Boris has fans from as far away as Mexico, Spain and Italy.
“People all over the world are following its social media pages,” said Dalla-Verde. “He encourages everyone. “
The couple’s mailbox is full of old-fashioned letters and cards addressed to Boris the Skeleton.
“Boris receives more mail than we do,” said Varcadipane.
Besides having fun dressing the skeleton and putting up signs, the couple decided to use Boris to help others. They started selling Boris t-shirts, bumper stickers and other items and donated all the profits to a different charity each month. The many Boris fans help by purchasing the items.
“I am grateful to have had a second chance in life,” said Varcadipane. “This is how I give back to the community. “
The couple choose charities that are meaningful to them. For example, they have family members with Alzheimer’s disease and brain cancer, and have organized fundraisers for these causes.
“We are really trying to keep everything local and help our region as much as we can,” said Dalla-Verde.
Some of the fundraisers benefited the Horace Mann School, where Gee works as a physical education teacher.
“We are eternally grateful to this coach for knowing what to do and saving his life,” Dalla-Verde said of Varcadipane.
Her fiance added, “We wanted to give back to the school and to him.”