Offensive Halloween Decorations, From Inappropriate To Hate Crimes

When it comes to celebrating the night of ghoulish mystery and magic, do some Halloween decorations go too far?

A family in Fort Campbell, Kentucky was ordered to remove their offensive Halloween decorations after they created a scene of what appears to be a black family being lynched, with a young black child desperately trying to save one of them. Understandably, the offensive nature of these Halloween decorations met with outrage, and local officials ordered the family to remove the Halloween decorations. A spokesperson for Fort Campbell Public Affairs, Brendalyn Carpenter, stated, "Displays of an offensive nature are not reflective of Army values and the family-friendly environment provided for employees and residents of the Fort Campbell community."

This has not been the only incident of offensive Halloween decorations to make national news in recent years. A man in Oklahoma recently made headlines when he offended his neighbor and most of the country with his offensive Halloween decorations which featured an Obama tombstone complete with birther innuendos. People on both sides of the fence found such Halloween decorations offensive, and many said targeting a sitting President that way, regardless of your political party, is just right down un-American.

There is also another type of Halloween decoration that many people are finding offensive, so offensive, in fact, that over the past few years, some have labeled it a hate crime. Images of dead witches, witches in gallows or witches being hung have topped the list of some of the most offensive Halloween decorations by witches and other pagans, as well as by feminist groups who are concerned with the growing glorification of violence against women.

One such incident occurred in 2007, when a modern day witch in a small town in Massachusetts awoke to the sight of an offensive Halloween decoration display that featured a realistic figure of a witch in the gallows. Oddly enough, although the neighbor claims it was not intentional, there were no other Halloween decorations found anywhere on the property. The neighbor, Kelly Lynch, was so offended by this obviously derogatory image that she called it a hate crime, and she wasn't alone. Similar images in both Halloween decorations and Halloween costumes that celebrate the violence that witches have suffered in witch hunts over the years or that depict witches in offensive ways have been a topic of concern. As Wicca, Paganism and other forms of witchcraft see a modern day revival, some feel that their spiritual paths are under attack, and on their own holiday, no less.

So where is that line between celebrating the dead, even embracing our fears of death, and glorifying violence? Is Halloween a legitimate excuse for offensive Halloween decorations or are people just hiding behind the holiday to express their ugliness and offend others? Where do you think that line is between good scary fun and inappropriate images when it comes to Halloween decorations?