The image: With his macabre sensibility, director Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands) is often associated with Halloween. But this year, he's got a different kind of "creepy" project in the pipeline: A balloon for next month's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. The balloon will embody a new character called "B. Boy" — or "B." — who comes with his own Burtonian backstory. B. is a Frankenstein-like creature who was created from leftover balloons used at kids' parties at a London children's hospital. Barred from playing with other children because of his jagged teeth, B. instead spent his days in the basement watching The Red Balloon and dreaming of flight. (See a sketch, below.) "There's always been something about balloons," Burton says. "You see them deflated and you see them floating. There's something quite beautiful and tragic and sad and buoyant and happy, all at the same time."
The reaction: Hollywood-types often engage in pointless, annoying side projects (ahem, James Franco), says Mack Rawden at CinemaBlend. "But now and again, a celebrity takes on a side project that feels completely right," and "this is one of those cases." Sure, it would have been fun to see Beetlejuice flying high, says Aly Semigran at Entertainment Weekly. But "I'm really loving B. Boy." Yeah, this Burtonesque creature seems "appropriately somber on the surface," says Shante Cosme at Complex. "But according to Burton's origin story, [he] is actually inspiring." Judge for yourself: