Author Topic: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?  (Read 6949 times)

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cicero

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can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« on: October 20, 2013, 08:43:55 AM »
(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?


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NyaChan

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 09:22:46 AM »
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.

camlan

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 09:45:58 AM »
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. http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=121208.0

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.
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Thipu1

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 10:18:27 AM »
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. 

flickan

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 10:34:49 AM »
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.

Thipu1

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 10:43:31 AM »
The phenomenon is spreading further.  Has anyone looked at today's Sunday Sweets post at Cake Wrecks?  Some of those things are ghastly. 

flickan

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 10:49:51 AM »
The phenomenon is spreading further.  Has anyone looked at today's Sunday Sweets post at Cake Wrecks?  Some of those things are ghastly.

Yes!  The cake that's the face of the clown from IT is literally the only thing I've seen on that site that can rival the realistic baby cakes in squick factor.

Aeris

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2013, 10:54:23 AM »
The phenomenon is spreading further.  Has anyone looked at today's Sunday Sweets post at Cake Wrecks?  Some of those things are ghastly.

Really? I don't think any of those are particularly bad. The eyeballs on the second cake were *slightly* more detailed than I would have loved, but I certainly don't think any of them crossed any sort of line of appropriateness.

It's Halloween - it's supposed to have corpses, tombstones, zombies, etc. If it looks so real it could legitimately be mistaken for real, or it features a super high level of 'viscera', then I think it could cross that line. But that stuff seems like a very well done version of your standard holiday fare.

camlan

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2013, 11:04:45 AM »
I guess part of the issue is what is considered part of Halloween. Aeris posted that Halloween is supposed to have corpses and tombstones and zombies.

But the Halloween I'm familiar with is more black cats and witches and fog and pumpkins than zombies and severed body parts. More scary than creepy or realistic. Spooky, not gory. So tombstones, because graveyards are spooky. But not bleeding severed limbs or zombies or corpses.

And for the record, I live across the street from a very old cemetery, so I'm not easily bothered by some things that would bother other people --I have a friend who won't visit my house after dark because of the graveyard across the street.

What it comes down to for me is that I don't mind things that *suggest* the creepy and scary, like the fake tombstones and a huge kettle billowing steamy fog. I do mind the very realistic severed limbs and zombies. Suggest the horror, don't shove it down my throat. And don't put it out in places where I can't avoid it.

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Seraphia

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2013, 11:21:41 AM »
I guess part of the issue is what is considered part of Halloween. Aeris posted that Halloween is supposed to have corpses and tombstones and zombies.

But the Halloween I'm familiar with is more black cats and witches and fog and pumpkins than zombies and severed body parts. More scary than creepy or realistic. Spooky, not gory. So tombstones, because graveyards are spooky. But not bleeding severed limbs or zombies or corpses.

And for the record, I live across the street from a very old cemetery, so I'm not easily bothered by some things that would bother other people --I have a friend who won't visit my house after dark because of the graveyard across the street.

What it comes down to for me is that I don't mind things that *suggest* the creepy and scary, like the fake tombstones and a huge kettle billowing steamy fog. I do mind the very realistic severed limbs and zombies. Suggest the horror, don't shove it down my throat. And don't put it out in places where I can't avoid it.

I think that in part, it's a bit generational as to what qualifies as "scary." My mom and I were discussing the kind of scary movies we can and cannot handle, and she made the point that when she was my age, "scary" was things like psychic powers (Carrie), demon possession (The Exorcist) or ghosts. Intangible, skin-crawly, creep-you-out things. Even Jaws didn't show the shark for most of the movie. Now, I think the trend has moved to things that are more tangible and visceral, like zombies and vampires or the Saw series.

In that regard, it makes sense that Halloween, as a holiday about scaring ourselves, would follow that trend in decorating. Whether it's *tasteful* or not is another beast altogether.
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Thipu1

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2013, 11:30:55 AM »
Tombstones are no problem, even with a plastic skeleton hand poking out of the 'grave'.  People here often put jokey epitaphs on them.  Some of them are historical such as 'Sacred to the memory of three twins'

Halloween is a big holiday in our neighborhood and some block associations are holding competitions for outdoor decorations.  Most of them will probably go up this weekend. 

So far, the ones I've seen have been appropriately spooky or goofy.  Of course, you can't go too far overboard when your space to decorate is about the size of an average bedroom.  Also, this is a neighborhood with scads of children and people are sensitive to this. 

Merchants here also decorate for Halloween.  One of the most impressive is a hair salon which features a large head of Medusa in the window. 


kherbert05

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2013, 11:48:54 AM »
If your neighbors are calling the 911 because they think your car fell on you while you were working on it you have gone to far. (Happened this year gory pictures)


If you are chasing toddlers, elementary kids, and their parents off the street with a running chain saw, you have gone to far. (Happened to Sis, Loren, and Brett several years ago. Add in the fact the jerk was 9 sheets to the wind and still had the chain on the saw he was lucky he just got arrested and didn't earn the darwin award)


If you are rigging real live people so they look like they were hung and can come to life you are an idiot, are chancing killing someone, and have gone to far. (If someone is a stunt person, worked stunts in film and/or theatre I'll grant an exception if they follow every single safety rule.)


 


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AnnaJ

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2013, 04:04:36 PM »
The phenomenon is spreading further.  Has anyone looked at today's Sunday Sweets post at Cake Wrecks?  Some of those things are ghastly.

Really? I don't think any of those are particularly bad. The eyeballs on the second cake were *slightly* more detailed than I would have loved, but I certainly don't think any of them crossed any sort of line of appropriateness.

It's Halloween - it's supposed to have corpses, tombstones, zombies, etc. If it looks so real it could legitimately be mistaken for real, or it features a super high level of 'viscera', then I think it could cross that line. But that stuff seems like a very well done version of your standard holiday fare.

I don't see Halloween that way - to me it's kids in costumes going trick or treating, minor scary stuff in public view, and older kids and adults at their own parties...all of which ages me, I suppose  :) .  There are haunted houses and private parties that can be as explicit and gory as they like, I'm just not a fan of putting it out in front yards and other public spaces.

SiotehCat

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2013, 04:16:00 PM »
I love the gore. I love all things scary and I love Halloween. I also don't think I've ever seen a decoration where I thought "now THAT's too much". I do not think decorations are rude. Even grey ones.

With that being said, when I went to the party store to pick up some decorations, I still couldn't bring myself to buy the real scary stuff. As much as I love it, i don't want to scare the little kids that come and trick or treat.

violinp

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Re: can halloween decorations be considered "rude"?
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2013, 04:34:45 PM »
I'm okay with lots of creepy stuff, even massive spiders, which scare me a lot, in a home Halloween display. However, viscera and dismembered bodies is just too much for me, and I love Halloween. I don't think gore is particularly scary; it's just nauseous. You (general) don't need to make people feel ill to celebrate a holiday.

If your neighbors are calling the 911 because they think your car fell on you while you were working on it you have gone to far. (Happened this year gory pictures)


If you are chasing toddlers, elementary kids, and their parents off the street with a running chain saw, you have gone to far. (Happened to Sis, Loren, and Brett several years ago. Add in the fact the jerk was 9 sheets to the wind and still had the chain on the saw he was lucky he just got arrested and didn't earn the darwin award)


If you are rigging real live people so they look like they were hung and can come to life you are an idiot, are chancing killing someone, and have gone to far. (If someone is a stunt person, worked stunts in film and/or theatre I'll grant an exception if they follow every single safety rule.)



 :o No, no, and triple no. Even my neighbors, who make a haunted walkway in their lawn, would NEVER do that to anyone, especially small children. Apart from the inherent - and potentially lethal - danger in that, it's just cruel to traumatize people
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