The Halloween decoration of a hanged mannequin in Montreal is debated



Warning: this article contains a photo that some may find disturbing

A Halloween decoration erected outside a Montreal home is sparking a debate over how far is too far, with some critics saying it crosses the line between scary and unpleasant.

Located in the Ahuntsic neighborhood of Montreal, the decoration consists of a human-shaped mannequin hanging from a tree by the neck, a blood-stained pillowcase on her head. Duct tape is wrapped around the model’s ankles, knees, waist and torso, with a garland of tinsel entwined around her form.

A debate ensued after a photo of the installation was shared with a local Facebook group called Montreal Then and Now.

“Horrible”, “inappropriate” and “in bad taste” are some of the words used by commentators to describe what they saw.

“I think people are upset because it looks so real,” one commenter summed up.

Many said the decoration’s allusions to suicide and lynching hit too close to home, while others expressed concern for children who might be unwittingly exposed to graphic images in passing.

A Montreal man’s Halloween decoration sparks controversy because it depicts a hanged man. (photo: Billy Shields / CTV News Montreal)

Speaking to CTV News on Wednesday, owner Matthew Farah, who installed the decoration, gave no indication it would be removed. He said local police came to his house and as a result he added a sign on the display that read “false”.

“It’s fake. It has nothing to do with suicides. It’s just decoration. It’s clearly fake. I don’t know how you can’t know that,” Farah said.

The image was met with more criticism on Twitter.

Others, however, accused the critics of lacking humor.

“People really lack a sense of art and humor. It’s Halloween, it’s supposed to be spooky, weird AND disturbing,” one comment read.

LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: Mathew Farah, Montrealer whose Halloween decoration is controversial, on his screen


Dr. Perry Adler is a clinical psychologist at the Jewish General Hospital.

He told CTV News he was most concerned about the realistic nature of the installation and its potential impact on bystanders.

“I get that Halloween, part of the fun is that we’re supposed to have a bit of anxiety or fear related to ghosts and goblins and macabre things, but usually the images depicted are caricatures – people know that it’s It’s fake. This one is so realistic,” Adler explained.

He said the decoration was likely to evoke deep and painful memories for those affected by topics such as suicide and lynching.

For example, a woman who came across the decoration while walking around the neighborhood told CTV News that her husband died by suicide hanging.

“It’s unfair, I think, to the public,” Adler said, adding that he doesn’t think putting up a sign that reads “wrong” is enough.

“I think it would be very appropriate to remove such a thing.”

– with files from Billy Shields of CTV News Montreal

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