Colorful Coffins May Be the Next Big Thing at Funerals: 'It's a Celebration of Life'

"For me, I get so much enjoyment out of making a tragic day a little bit lighter for families," said Ross Hall, who makes custom caskets through his store, Dying Art

dying art
Photo: Dying Art/Instagram

Funerals are going through a transformation, and Ross Hall is here to help.

Hall is the founder of Dying Art, a business out of New Zealand that makes eccentric and wacky coffins for families hoping to add some color to their loved one's funerals. His customers have requested a variety of designs, including everything from donut-shaped caskets to a firetruck, he explained to the Associated Press.

"There are people who are happy with a brown mahogany box and that's great," Hall told the outlet. "But if they want to shout it out, I'm here to do it for them."

Hall told the AP that he came up with the idea of the company when he had to write his will. It was then that he decided he wanted his red casket to have flames on it. But funeral directors around Auckland weren't exactly sold on the idea for their own clients.

"I did up 20 different designs and I went to the funeral directors with a little brochure and went 'Hey, how about this you guys?' and they all thought I was mad," he told RNZ.

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dying art
Dying Art/Instagram

It took some time, but eventually the idea caught on.

"It overshadowed the sadness and the hard times in the last few weeks," Debra McLean told the AP of ordering a cream donut-shaped casket for her husband's funeral. "The final memory in everyone's mind was of that donut, and Phil's sense of humor."

Dying Art's Instagram page shows a variety of colorful caskets, including a LEGO-style one and another covered in pictures of cows. Others feature sunflowers, piano keys and a forest.

"For me, I get so much enjoyment out of making a tragic day a little bit lighter for families," Hall told RNZ.

"We get some fantastic response back from families about what a difference the casket made you know, because when they looked at it they saw their loved one within there and that's what they were all about you know," he added. "They just put a whole different twist to a sad moment."

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Hall told the AP that his caskets are biodegradable, and are sometimes cremated with the deceased or buried. He did keep the cream-donut-shaped one after it was used since it was made with non-environmentally friendly materials.

But, it served its purpose — to bring some smiles to a solemn occasion.

"People now think it's a celebration of life," he told the AP, "rather than a mourning of death."

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