General Etiquette > Holidays

can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?

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(I don't know if this has ever been discussed)

Background - i don't live in the US and I dont' celebrate halloween. I was recently in the States and walking around my sister's neighborhood saw some... shall we say interesting (or ghoulish or creepy) yard decorations - tombstones, corpses, bloody corpses, etc. I've seen decoration that were cute (pumpkins and smiley ghosts), i've seen scary-cute. these were really really creepy.

Obviously, it's a matter of taste (or distaste or tolerance levels) but is there a point where yard decorations cross the line from silly to tacky to *downright creepy please take that down because i don't want my kids to have to see it*? is this an issue in the US?

I vaguely remember there being an issue where someone had used a decoration that was very reminiscent of a lynching which has obvious connotations in the US that would upset people.  I know for sure that there have been people who have complained at the scariness of various decorations. 

For myself, I think anything that is so realistic that it might fool someone into calling 911 should be avoided, anything that is scary due to coming into sudden physical contact with unsuspecting people is not okay, and it is best to avoid having interactive or loud decorations on during the daytime or too far away from the 31st.

My thought is that all decorations, for all holidays, need to be tasteful and cognizant of the fact that a variety of people will see them. So for me, the really gruesome Halloween decorations should be inside your house, not outside.

We had a thread on this last year, which was based on a "Dear Prudie" letter. I have to say I disagree with Prudie's response. If your decorating is such that a child across the street can't sleep at night, having the child help set up the decorations is probably not going to help things much.

Halloween decorations have been getting more and more realistic and more and more creepy/gruesome in the past 10 years or so. It's my feeling that we are approaching the line where the displays are becoming more something people will pay money to see at a Haunted House and less neighbor-friendly holiday displays.

I don't object to people decorating for Halloween. I do object to having to drive by my neighbor's yard, which is currently filled with severed heads and random body parts strewn over the lawn. I see nothing "holiday" in that display. I'm an adult, I know everything in the yard is fake and I still find it unpleasant. The other neighbor, who has ghosts floating from trees and fake tombstones in the yard--that's much more easy to deal with, because it is all so clearly fake.

Of course, I'm in my 50s. I remember when adults didn't really celebrate Halloween, except for the odd costume party here or there. Decorations were made by kids, and featured pumpkins and black cats and ghosts. It was a slightly scary holiday, but you knew that the scariness was fake, really.

The macabre and gruesome element was downplayed. That is the element that seems to have come to the forefront in recent years. It is not enough to be scary anymore, decorations have to gross people out and be as realistic as possible. That's the part I don't like and those are the decorations I wish people would keep out of public displays.

Yes, Halloween decorations are sometimes getting out of hand.  I think it's an offshoot of the increasing violence in popular entertainment. 

It isn't necessarily rude but I consider these displays in poor taste.  Spooky decorations are one thing.  Explicit gore is something very different. 

I personally don't have a problem with gory stuff unless it's so realistic that people are calling the police...

But I think that being a good neighbor is about considering the comfort of other people.  Maybe if you live in a neighborhood where everyone is always trying to outdo each other with crazy Halloween decorations or in an area close to a campus where it's mostly students and few families, it's probably less of a big deal to have the gory stuff out.  But if you live in a place where people don't do that then I venture to say don't do it.

Lawn decorations don't have to be tasteful but there's a difference between tacky distasteful and severed heads distasteful.


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