Cardboard creation: Customer keeps ‘spook-tacular’ tradition alive

A moving box, a child’s fort, an oil drip pan.

There are many things cardboard boxes can be before they head to the recycling bin. But Jerry Mincey of Omaha, Nebraska thinks even more ‘outside the box’ than most, using cardboard boxes to give kids a fun scare while remembering and honoring his late grandson.

Jerry has loved Halloween ever since he was a kid.  As an adult, he found another way to enjoy the holiday: building haunted houses for the neighborhood kids.  He built his first one 27 years ago.

For 22 of those years, the haunted house tour was free and even now, you’ll only find a donation bucket.  Those donations aren’t to offset the costs or to make a profit, but instead to help support a scholarship fund in Jerry’s grandson’s name, Skyler Boring. Skyler was tragically killed five years ago and Jerry wants to continue remembering him and honoring him through this beloved Halloween tradition.

“He helped me build these houses when he was a kid,” Mincey said. “He loved building them and I loved building them with him and watching him have fun in these houses and watching him grow to be a great young man. So, I keep doing it just for him.”

Two years ago, Jerry met Lowe’s employee Brenda Campagna.  The shipping and receiving employee learned about Jerry’s story and knew she could help.

“He was telling my son that he needed some large boxes for the haunted house that he builds every year,” Brenda explained. “When my son had told me his story on what he does, I spoke with Mary (Lowe’s store manager) and Kristina (Lowe’s assistant store manager) about helping him and they thought it was a great idea.”

Store Manager Mary Mulvey said it was an easy “yes” when Brenda approached her with the idea of giving Jerry cardboard boxes for the house.

“I am proud of my team and their desire to support Jerry’s haunted house tradition!  This is Jerry’s story, a real labor of love and remembrance,” Mary said.  “It is certainly a special way to honor his grandson.  We just happen to sell a lot of appliances and have a lot of big, empty boxes!  They’ll have Jerry’s name on them whenever he wants.”