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I've offended some neighbors..


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The more I think about it... I agree with all that's been said about them externalizing their grief, and how things like this can get out of hand with the "what if's..." I've been thinking how the Haunted Mansion at Disney World opens with someone hanging themselves. If it's ok for Disney, why not for you?

But then on the other hand, what would you do if a good friend came to you with a similar request? I think whatever you would do in that situation is what you should do here.

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Hang him from his feet. Similar message with a different spin to it while not sending the image of a neuse around the neck. Did I spell neuse correctly?

Around his feet? And call it a Horrible Bungy Jumping Accident? Carrie. I would leave it there. Its part of YOUR display. If they bring it up again, tell them you are sorry for their loss but that this has been part of your display and will continue to be.

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I am genuinely appreciative of everyone's input.

Teen suicide is something I take very seriously, as my family has had to deal with it. My young cousin, who was a sophomore in college, hung himself in the fall of 2006 at school. His room mates found him..in the closet. So the mental images of Mark are fresh in my imagination. And, extrapolating from that, I have to wonder how his mother, one of my closest cousins, would feel if she saw my hanged man. She is a tough woman, but I believe she would associate my scene with her son. A visual reminder of a nightmare she is still dealing with.

My intent was never to cause anyone pain or to add to their sorrow. Last night I looked at the white pages on line. I found 6 families in our town that have that last name, one of which is less than 2 minutes from here. No, they cannot see the scene from their home, but it would be very difficult for them to get to and from their home without passing by because our home is on a main artery.

I had pretty much decided to take him down last night when I posted for opinions. After having slept on it, I will be removing him this morning. But Tim's initial suggestion to repurpose the prop got me thinking.

I will be using him as a ground breaker on one of the graves. I will take his lower body off, at least I hope I can. The PVC framework I built was built to handle high winds, so he won't be easy to take apart. If I can't take him apart, he'll be a zombie or I just might tie him to the tree and be done with it.

To address some of the posts. I do realize my right to express myself. If someone were to object to my nativity, or any other elements of my Halloween or Christmas display, I wouldn't budge, not an inch. But on this issue, I do feel I have to be sensitive to this family's loss. They cannot avoid seeing the hanged man.

My own family went through a nightmare of grief and pain when my cousin killed himself. People have different triggers and associations, to not remove him would be completely selfish on my part and insensitive to their loss. I can't live with that, it's not what I am about. Its only a prop and it can be used in another manner and the show will go on.

Thanks to everyone, I do appreciate everyone's help and advice.

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Based on evrything you posted Carrie I think you made a good call on how you handled it ;)

I would tie him up to the tree and put a birthday party hat on him and a plastic wine glass in his hand so he looks like he is "partying" :)

BTW: I LOVE the "flamingoes of death" LOL!

Edited by terrypowerz
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Carrie, I think your decision to take the man off the noose is the best you could make. Putting him somewhere else would be a lot less offensive. I too had a friend that hung himself in a very tragic circumstance. Unlike most Halloween decorations where people have fun being startled, a noose could bring back painful memories for many people who have lost loved ones. I know your display will be just as good and will be appreciated. You're doing the right thing.

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Your story reminds me of something similar that happened last year not far from where I live.

That person had a large Halloween display that also had a hung man in their front yard.

A person coming to see the display thought that the man hanging was made to repersent a black man and you can only imagine the grief that poor person went through, it was headline news even though in day light it was clear that it was not in anyway made to be a black person.

They apologized to the public for any misunderstandings and took it down.

My opinion I think I would have him climbing out of a grave or something along the lines to avoid any problems or potential vandalisim.

He would work with your song no matter how he was used.

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Carrie -- I'm glad you found my short reply to be helpful. I really do think you'll come up with a way to reuse him, and think you made a good compromise.

One problem with Halloween is that it, by nature, is designed to be offensive. What other holidays celebrate severed heads, hanging men, rotting corpses, etc? Now don't get me wrong I've always enjoyed Halloween, especially as a kid, and still enjoy a good haunted-house scare, but it's hard to compare it with Christmas. At Christmas, the worst you might have is people who don't like the religious content (or lack thereof), the traffic, etc... It's hard to be offended by a Mega-tree :)

That's one of the reasons (but not the primary one) I've stayed away from doing a Halloween display. I do enjoy seeing all the rest of yours, though, and sometimes think it would be cool to switch holidays for a year or so (I'd never have time to do both). But Christmas is my thing, and I'll never switch...

-Tim

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I took him down and he is now tied to the tree, standing up. He still looks spooky and "dead" so the song is fine. Now, if I hear from the neighbors again about it, I think I've given them a good compromise. The noose is gone and he is just another spooky prop for Halloween. If someone doesn't like it I'm not taking him away. There are alot of other displays that are far far scarier than what I have going. Now I wonder, will I get a thank you note?

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Guest Jeff_Womack

Wow, some of the responses here are shocking. I'll be interested to see if any of the people telling Carrie to ignore a nicely presented request have problems this year with neighbors.

We, as decorators who tend to take our displays whether Halloween, Christmas or whatever, to the extreme, have a responsibility to pay special attention to when things go too far. Yes someone can always be offended but people need to realistically look at what someone is offended by. Being offended by red lights is just overboard. In this case it is a realistic thing for some people to be offended by and instead of acting out against Carrie or her display, the family politely asked her to consider removing it because of a legitimate reason.

Way to go Carrie, your removing the item probably made you a friend in that family because you cared.

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hi carrie, newbie here but just wanted to say i think that was a good compromise but like what was said earlier who is too say part of your christmas display wont be a problem for someone else investigate the letter get with your neighbors and just see where this family is located in distance from your house. chris

ps: we met briefly last october in indiana at my mothers house my twin brothers had a graduation party and you know gregg so you know what im talking about and i dont sound weird to you

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hi carrie, newbie here but just wanted to say i think that was a good compromise but like what was said earlier who is too say part of your christmas display wont be a problem for someone else investigate the letter get with your neighbors and just see where this family is located in distance from your house. chris

ps: we met briefly last october in indiana at my mothers house my twin brothers had a graduation party and you know gregg so you know what im talking about and i dont sound weird to you

Hi, welcome to PC. I guess you didn't see my previous post though. I did investigate, these people live less than 2 minutes away, they are for real. But I appreciate your input. And no, you don't sound "weird" to me and I do remember you!

If my Christmas display becomes a problem for someone, so be it. Freedom of Expression on private property..:D

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I took him down and he is now tied to the tree, standing up. He still looks spooky and "dead" so the song is fine. Now, if I hear from the neighbors again about it, I think I've given them a good compromise. The noose is gone and he is just another spooky prop for Halloween. If someone doesn't like it I'm not taking him away. There are alot of other displays that are far far scarier than what I have going. Now I wonder, will I get a thank you note?

Carrie,

I agree with Womack's post above.

I think your action to your neighbors reaction was a good thing. Did you check to see if the story they wrote was true or just assume it was true?

Charles

Edited by Charles Belcher
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Dear Carrie, You are a very impressive "LADY"! Your sense of compassion and extraordinary sensitivity to this situation overwhelms me. It seems to me that you genuinely decorate your home to share with the community and I commend your efforts. Too many times I hear it's my display and that's that! I'm sorry if I offend anyone but we love to hear the praise but are quick to object to criticisms. I understand Halloween has always been about gouls and goblins etc. and I personally love the festivities, but when someone ask you whether personally or via a signature letter to please consider their "MOM" who is grieving the loss of a child I don't think it's about the display anymore. Your actions show me that you are an incredibly "Decent" person! God Bless

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I am impressed with the way you decided to handle this, it says a lot about you as a person (obviously all good). I am disappointed that the offended people didn't talk to you personally, instead of leaving the signed letter. I think a personal talk would make anyone reconsider their display. I am curious though about how many people have been affected by lynchings, are they a problem in your area?

I would have leaned more toward telling the offended people to look the other way when they drive by. That is the way I was raised, so I have to blame my mom for that (and my mom did a great job if I do say so myself!).

My next door neighbors girls (ages 9 and 6) won't come into our yard during October because of one element of our display..... I have a Jason mask from Friday the 13th that I put on the headrest of one of my cars in a dark spot on the driveway with a battery operated black light on the seat that casts a greenish glow in the car -- it scares everyone the first time:eek:! I have been doing this since college. Sometimes I even put the mask on the passengers seat headrest when I am driving alone. On the other extreme, my 7 year old daughter can't wait for me to put "Marcus the Carcus" in the front planting bed every October! We name all the gross elements, so that our kids think of them as less scary. This year we added a skeleton pirate groundbreaker (Capt'n Jack) that is about the same height as my 18 month old and he thinks that is just the best - every morning he goes outside and waves to the Capt'n.:cool:

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Well my thought is always, "If you don't like it, don't look" simple enough, no explanation needed. If people are Johovahs Witness around here, I dont tell them to stop and look at my lights, they can go past without stopping and I dont feel offended. I would just ask a neighbor on each side of you. If they dont have a problem then I say leave it up. People are never happy unless they complain. This seems like its just an excuse to start complaints and neighborhood problems if the letter is true and not kids screwing around.

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