Hilariously located in the actual LA Coroner’s office, (no joke, it's this is directly inside) 'Skeleton's in the Closet' is one of the most unique stores in Southern California, possibly the World. A ghastly trip into the the lighter side of dying, this gift shop is definitely for those who possess a great sense of mortality, and a greater sense of humor.
As stated above, you literally roll up to the LA Coroner’s office to enter the store and it’s pretty awkward when you first arrive.
Unsure if the store was ACTUALLY inside of the Coroner’s office, I sheepishly entered the main building, looking like a tourist with my camera, passing a group of people who seemed to be there for legitimate reasons (i.e. identifying a dead body, probably a loved one). After composing myself, I darted around and finally saw it– a small door hidden in the corner with the name 'Gift Shop' inscribed on it. Let the games begin.
Fans of the macabre will have a field day here, as they have a wide variety of cadaver related goodness for sale.
We're talking chalk outline clothing swag, police tape party favors, plastic skeletons, body bags and teddy bears (aka Freddy the forensic Bear) that lovingly say "LA Coroner Medical Examiner” across the front.
The shop is tiny, but pretty epic, and very nicely organized. I, for one, found great joy in the chalk outline beach towel, which I was told is the #1 seller of the store.
The woman behind the counter, Edna, was lovely and chatty. A crafty 10+ year veteran of the store, she schooled me on some history of the shop and laughed about the reactions she's gotten from the clientele that've stumbled in over the years. She also runs the online store, which seems to bring in some pretty solid business.
Another thing I admired was the collection of shot glasses she had behind her desk, which she explained came from "people around the world bringing her gifts" Godspeed, Edna.
HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN?
Open since September of 1993, I was told the store started as a joke amongst the coroner doctors who thought stamping a chalk outline on T-shirt would be funny. The idea was a hit and the merchandise spiraled out of control (keychains, caps, towels etc.) from there, thus leading to a small gift shop on the first floor.