Forbes woman removes Halloween decoration after neighbours call police
A NSW mum’s attempt at a spooky Halloween decoration took a serious twist when police were called to her home following multiple complaints.
The American tradition of Halloween has become increasingly popular in Australia with more and more households decking out their yards with spooky decorations ahead of the “scariest” time of the year.
However, one mum’s attempt at embracing the tradition took a serious turn when police arrived at her NSW home which eventually prompted the mum to take down the “zombie” decoration.
Renee Ryan, from Forbes, was excited to create Halloween memories with her son and so she spent three hours making a lifelike figure resembling a “zombie” made from foam, carpet and garbage bags.
But when police arrived at her home twice following complaints from neighbours about a gruesome decoration hanging from her tree, the mum took down the decoration.
She said the display had unintentionally triggered members of the community with their own experiences of suicide, the ABC reported, while apologising and adding it was never out of malice.
“To the person that called the cops again. I know who you are and I appreciate you and I am so sorry for your loss,” Renee wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.
“At the end of the day the Halloween decoration was nothing more than foam, cardboard, plastic bags and sticky tape and if it was deconstructed in front of you it would still be the same.”
Renee went on to say she has learned through personal experience that “triggers” are a “true opportunity for growth”.
“The decoration has caused a strong reaction in many people which says there are still many people hurting from the loss of loved ones. When I lost a dear friend at 17 this way I had so many questions.
“No one can tell you how long you are to grieve for. Least of all me.
“My hope is that you seek the support that you and others need during this, so that in time you are able to carry on with an open heart full of love and are able to remember these beautiful souls for the life they lived and not for the way they left.”
Emeritus professor Rick Sarre, a law and criminal justice expert from the University of South Australia, told the ABC that when it comes to holiday decorations and legal rights, it’s all about context.
He said you can get away with a lot more at Halloween because kids would be expecting to see some funny-looking, gruesome things.
But he added that people also need to be discerning about what it is they’re going to put in their front yard.
“Within the context of private land or property, if an object is displayed for the public to see it is in the police’s jurisdiction to have it removed or for the person to face a magistrate” Dr Sarre said.