As a follow up to last week’s post regarding the scary, hairy dog spider prank and strangers being frightened by horrific scenes of death, today’s post will be about the escalation of horror images in public places as Halloween nears.
Last year I was stunned when a younger member of my extended family pinned a particular disturbing image of a Halloween lawn decoration to her Pinterest board. It was an image of a toddler sized skeleton dressed in female toddler sized dress sprawled across the lawn. “Casey Anthony” immediately came to the mind.
Since then, the quality and detail of some Halloween decorations has escalated to the point where the line between fantasy and realism are blurred. It’s no longer titilatingly spooky in a fun way but rather designed for maximum revulsion and a dehumanizing of people as merely dead props. Several websites encourage readers to “take it to the next level” as if it is a competition to see how far one can push the boundaries of not just taste but community good will. Some examples of those “decorations” include realistic flayed (as in all the skin removed) human torsos, hangman’s nooses with bodies in front yard trees, body bags, decomposed decapitated heads, child sized skeletons chained together, bloody hand prints, bodies that appear to have died of extreme torture, humans in the midst of extreme torture, just to name a few. Every one of those “decorations” has a strong connection to recent events worldwide that are so horrific that the news media will not show it on air (or even mention it in some instances) yet the residents of some communities are visually assaulted with this too realistic images on their own streets. An example of some of these decorations that have raised community ire are below…
It’s one thing when people choose to be frightened by buying tickets to haunted houses where the gore level can be quite high. Having been forewarned about the graphic nature of the experience, people have the freedom to choose to see this. That freedom is totally removed when gore scenes are displayed on front yards forcing drivers and passersby to see what they may prefer not to. I’m not a fan of Homeowners Associations but in this instance, I would be petitioning the community to codify new standards of taste in regards to Halloween decorations. With freedom comes an equal obligation to act responsibly and with restraint in the best interests of the community. People lose the freedom to do with their own property as they wish because they fail to apply reasonable restrictions to themselves to avoid offending the community at large. What you display inside your home or a fenced backyard is no one else’s business but splat it across the front yard with the intention of horrifying as many people as possible and you’ve gained the attention of those who will wish to curtail that.