In fact, the little boy adores the skeleton so much that his mom, Abigail Brady, often has to pack the 5-foot-tall Halloween decoration in the car to run errands or play at the park. While it isn’t always easy dealing with a toddler and a stiff, Brady loves the way her son’s unusual friendship is making people smile.
“2020 has been probably one of the craziest years in a while and I know it has brought a lot of people a lot of turmoil and a lot of hardship,” Brady, 27, of Salt Lake County, Utah, told TODAY Parents. “My hope is that this can just spread some happiness. Even if it makes someone’s day for a couple of minutes, that makes me so happy.”
The unlikely alliance between boy and bones began on Sept. 15. That day, Brady went down to the basement put the dog in his kennel before she and Theo headed out to the local reservoir to play. She noticed the basement had flooded, so she stopped to clean it up. When she ran upstairs for a moment, she heard something curious:
“Mom, mom, help, help, help.”
She came down the stairs and saw Theo trying to lug the skeleton up the stairs.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh that is so funny.’ So I brought it upstairs,” Brady explained. “(I thought) I’ll just start decorating for Halloween early.”
But Theo wasn’t having it. He wanted the skeleton to join him on the play date.
“He refused to get in the car, just flat-out refused. So I was like, ‘I’ll bring it in the car, it’s not that big, it’s not that big of a deal,’” Brady said.
But when they arrived at the reservoir, Theo wouldn’t leave the car without the skeleton.
“I was like, ‘This is going to be fun. We’ll just bring the skeleton with us and it’ll be a party,’” Brady said. “Ever since then, the skeleton’s been coming everywhere with us.”
Brady’s shared pictures and videos of Theo and skeleton — whom they named Benny after the character from "Halloweentown" — on Instagram and TikTok. Followers see Benny slide down a slide, frolic at the beach, ride in the grocery cart at the store and be fed by Theo.
“It’s funny to see him put food in Benny’s mouth and it just drops down through his ribs,” Brady said. “Theo thinks it’s so funny.”
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Theo is no longer insisting that Benny come everywhere as often as he once did, but he does demand that his skeleton pal sits in his bedroom throughout the night. Seeing the skeleton in her son's room scared Brady at first, and she tried removing him. Then she heard Theo.
“He was like, ‘Skeleton! Skeleton!’ So I put the skeleton back in his room and he just sits on his rocking chair while Theo sleeps,” she explained. “(Theo) loves to give Benny knuckles and high fives and he pokes him in the ribs. It’s cute.”
On a recent grocery trip, Benny rode beside Theo in the cart, much to the delight of store patrons. Brady said she's happy that her son and his bare-bones BFF are bringing such joy to others.
“My biggest thing is just helping to make people smile,” she said. “A lot of people just love it.”