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As with any decorating, certain judgement calls come up when creatively expressing ourselves through our Halloween haunts. I bring this up because I've only been having fun with this for a handful of years, yet I've already run into quandaries. Just in the first and second years in this first-time home there have been two instances where I had to consider taste and politics for my displays.

In 2017, I had found a broken wheelchair and had intended to have my pose'able skeleton in it wearing old lady garb while she watched over my growing collection of zombie babies. But there's a neighbor only two houses up from me who is confined to wheelchair after a wreck with an idiot who was texting and driving. I've never met the guy, but I worked with his wife years ago, and they're good people. So it just seemed wrong somehow to display a skeleton in a wheelchair. So, I settled for my porch chair and was done with that.

Last year, I wanted to have one of my zombie babies in a medium-sized dog cage, with a torn-up teddy bear and some bones surrounding him. But around the same time there was the (continuing) fuss about the border with Mexico and the photos of kids in cages at the detention centers all over the news. Now, the last thing I intend to do as a newbie is introduce a thread where people debate political matters. Those never go well, and we may all have massive differences of opinion about politics, religion, and what-all, but we are all here for our love of one very special night of the year. So, I'm not here weighing in on either side of that argument, and I ask others to please refrain from hyperbole in reply. My only point here is that I do want to scare, but I'm not trying to make any sociopolitical statements with my Halloween displays. So, I weighed things, realized that people on both sides of the immigration conversation could possibly see it as something to get triggered about, and said, "Screw it, I'm doing this one anyway." And thankfully, nothing came of it, and everyone who stopped by seemed to have a fun time last Halloween.

I'm sure everyone has seen news articles about yard haunters who perhaps take things too far. Some purposefully include political components, or have figures dangling from trees (looking perhaps too much like lynchings). There was one item from late September 2018 where someone had decorated with some of those bloody window clings of blood spatters and words that had a neighbor worried enough to call the Law, just in case. Me, I try for more of a creepy, spooky vibe than gory horror, but that's just my own preference.

I don't know, just thought it was curious that I'd run into quandaries like that both years of my first genuine attempts at yard haunting, and would like to hear from others if decisions like that have ever caused them to drop ideas or how they handled things.
 

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Nope. There is nothing I absolutely won't do, so long as it fits in with the theme. Nobody has ever been offended with anything I've done.
 

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I try to limit the gore. This year I dangled 7 or 8 heads from my Tree of Woe. That was a little borderline, but they were kind of hard to notice at night, with everything else going on, and no specific lighting on them.

Props that come with white clothes that are blood covered (like Berzerker Zombie from Spirit, two static little boy zombies) I clothe with stuff from Salvation Army or Burlington Coat Factory. Frankly they are better props that way. I donated (to Salvation Army) several undead lawn jockeys, which I had bought on clearance from Spirit for nothing, that my brother (correctly) pointed out looked a little too much old-school, a little racist lawn jockeys. I won't display my Chin-up Zombie from Spirit for the reason you mentioned in your post (he's hung). Even Hung-Up Zombie (who isn't hanging from the neck, but wrapped around the chest) doesn't go out for the same reason (but I think I would put him out in the right scene).

I definitely agree with your wheelchair choice. Cage not as necessary, but it is definitely to err on the side of caution with what might offend the neighbors. I also made it a point when new people with small kids moved in across the street to invite the kids over, show them that they were just silly toys, let them know they could come over whenever, etc. My kids are just inured and props don't even register with them as scary.
 

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I once did a ground breaker who was flipping "the bird" as a practical joke that I sent a picture of to some buddies of mine on Halloween, but I've never incorporated that as part of my pirate graveyard.
 

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crossfit zombie
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I dont go for gory as much as just creepy.People are just wayyyyyy to sensitive now a days over stuff they havent any reason personally to be.But trust me if I wanted to do something I would.You just have to go with your inner voice of reason.If it feels wrong to you then dont do it.
Everybody is offended over everything anyways so let them be offended...they like to live that way keeping the chaos going.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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When I was younger I LOVED gore in what I did & watched. But now that I'm over 50 now & feeling more mortal every day, I just don't dig gore anymore (though I still will watch some gory horror movies, just not as many as I used to).

I never really did anything else that would even be considered controversial. That wasn't & isn't what the day & displays are about for me but if you wanna push the envelope, go for it just don't be surprised if someone else doesn't like it & voices their opinion on it in some fashion.

So if you're gonna do it, do it & stand behind it just make sure you're doing it all creatively & legally.
 

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A few years ago I decided to do a voodoo theme (inspired by travels to New Orleans and American Horror Story - loved their Papa Legba), but I was a little worried about it coming off as offensive. I decided to take a chance and go for it, and thankfully no one said anything. I thought it was tasteful and spooky all at the same time, plus my Papa Legba came out pretty scary looking as he was 7 feet tall!
 

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The Cackling Cauldron
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I'm not big on gore. I like spooky or eerie myself, but to me it's all about the kids. I never want to go too over the top that they are put off of my favorite holiday.
 

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I agree with the no gore rule, it is a for the children after all. I leave the gore for the professional haunted houses, if people go there, then they know what they-re in for.

I like to do ambiance with a lot of cool lighting and fog, creepy but not too gross.

This year will be giant spider themed and I'm curious if the little ones will be reluctant to come, spiders really hit a nerve with some people.
 

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same here, the only thing I don't do is gore.. we get lots of young kids.. other than a few severed heads :) I stick with monsters and zombies in a scary scene.
ohh and can't do clowns because my wife hates them.. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A few years ago I decided to do a voodoo theme (inspired by travels to New Orleans and American Horror Story - loved their Papa Legba), but I was a little worried about it coming off as offensive. I decided to take a chance and go for it, and thankfully no one said anything. I thought it was tasteful and spooky all at the same time, plus my Papa Legba came out pretty scary looking as he was 7 feet tall!
Love how that all came together! Your Papa Legba is killer, too. I tried for a swampy/voodoo kind of vibe back in 2015 or so, while I was still renting. You pulled yours off way better. Question: Where'd you get those great greenish-blue lights? They look GREAT!
 

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Thank you so much! I really loved doing this theme, it ended up being a ton of fun. I just bought regular green string lights, I believe purchased from Target or Home Depot at the time. And then I bought a green strobe light and green tea lights as well to give it that eerie swamp vibe. I made the Papa Legba structure out of PVC pipe, but the base wasn't strong enough so he kept falling over. I'm debating if I should just buy a mannequin on a stand for this year (doing a jack the ripper theme) of if I should redesign the positioning of the base so my dummy is more structurally sound. 14520376_10154600062499168_5105669804302082270_n.jpg 14484956_10154600062549168_3524938878703957947_n.jpg
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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I restrain myself from displays of gore or violence because we are a trick or treat haunt mainly for the kids. I am trending towards a tad more gore, but no blood soaked gut-fest, just some more rotting things. Political or ethical statements are a definite no-no, you are just inviting vandalism and other headaches. Religion is a grey area for me. I stay as neutral as I can save for religious symbols on tombstones and of course witchcraft/wiccan themed objects. However, if I ever get complaints from anyone on religious grounds I WILL become offensive and up the ante in a heartbeat just out of spite.
 

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I try to keep the front of my yard kid friendly and I’m adding on a back of the yard ( behind the house) display to be more scary. That way I am not overwhelming children walking by the house. Personally I try to avoid anything that could be offensive. I want to keep Halloween as positive as possible , especially when my neighbor’s are supportive of the display. There are just so many cool things you can do with your display without taking the risks to be hurtful. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe people are too easily offended these days, but I don’t want the head aches that come along with “crossing the line”. It just goes out of control too quickly!!!!
 

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My goal is to make sure everyone who comes to our haunt has fun. My one rule is that we do not display any crosses, even on our grave stones. We try extremely hard to make sure everything on display is appropriate for all ages and views. Like to spread the joy of the holiday along with a few harmless nightmares as well.
 

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