Halloween Hanging Displays Allegedly Evoked Lynching, Raised Protests

A Chesapeake, Virginia woman alerted police to the existence of Halloween decorations that she felt were racially insensitive, evoking the practice of lynching. According to WTKR, Lori Brunson saw a figure wrapped in black trash bags hanging from a tree in her neighbor's back yard.

"I saw something swinging from a tree," Brunson said in an interview. "I got closer and it was a replica of a body being hung by a tree limb with a noose around its neck."

The man, who was not named in the report, said he meant no offense with the decorations.

"The heads were down for a reason," he said. "No noose tied, just square knots on the bag, heads down, feet up like monsters."

He went on to say that the effigies were pointed downwards "because we know this is a predominantly black neighborhood. We didn't want anyone thinking it was going in that direction."

Halloween decorations showing victims of hanging have caused controversy across the country because of their implications of racism.

halloween, displays, offensive, lynching,
Some outdoor Halloween displays have come under fire for allegedly being racist in intent. Getty

In New Jersey, police were called about a Halloween display that featured a dark-complexioned figure, hands tied behind its back, on a gallows. A noose had been placed around the figure's neck.

Ryan McDonald of Salem County was told by state police in September that the display was offending and frightening some people.

McDonald told the Courier Post Online, "My whole intention was to make things fun for Halloween. It was never anything due to race. After the fact, it made me feel bad. It made me remorseful that people felt that way."

Nelson Carney, president of the Salem County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told NJ.com, "It's a hate crime is the way I look at it. I know it's Halloween but people should know better."

McDonald has since disassembled the display.

Earlier this month, Emerson Heights, Indiana resident Shane Fischer was evicted from his home after protesters objected to the hanging display he had erected. WTHR reports the protestors associated the Halloween display with lynching.

"This is a part of life that people endured," said Emerson Heights resident Sity Wright. "This doesn't have anything to do with Halloween—nothing. It's scary, but to who?"

In a statement, Fischer's landlord, Alex Tachtiris, said that Fischer had put questionable Halloween displays in front of his home in the past.

"The fact that they would try this again is completely disgraceful and I am notifying them now to not only take the display down immediately, but that I am giving them official notice of termination of their lease," wrote Tachtiris.

The offending effigy in Chesapeake was also taken down after a Halloween party on October 5. But neighbor Lori Brunson was still upset by the display.

"It is not funny, and it hurts," Brunson said. "This is 2019. I don't want to go back to slavery; I don't want to explain this is still happening to children."

Halloween Hanging Displays Allegedly Evoked Lynching, Raised Protests | U.S.