Woman dismantles ‘zombie’ Halloween decoration after filing police complaint

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How scary is too scary?

Spider web houses and “Attention” signs have become quite common curiosities in backyards and more and more children dress up and make treats as Australians embrace the Halloween tradition which is widely adopted. celebrated in America.

WARNING: This story contains an image that some people may find distressing.

But a Forbes household’s attempt to participate in the custom took a serious turn over the weekend when police received several complaints from neighbors about a gruesome decoration hanging from Renée Ryan’s Hills hoist.

The lifelike figure made of foam, pillows and wrapped in burlap pet beds was meant to look like a “zombie,” Ms. Ryan said.

Renée Ryan and her son decided to make their own Halloween decorations this year, but their “zombie” has sparked several complaints.(Provided)

“It was kind of a memento that I was trying to make with my son – he was so excited for Halloween to come,” she said.

After police were called to the house a second time, Ms Ryan removed the decoration and took to Facebook to respond to complaints from neighbors.

“The posting had unintentionally triggered members of the community with their own suicide experiences,” she said.

Children in Halloween costumes hugging orange bags.
All over Australia, children are embracing the American tradition.(Reuters: Joshua Roberts )

Is everything fun?

The situation Ms Ryan found herself in raises questions about the legal rights of owners to holiday decorations.

Professor Emeritus Rick Sarre, an expert in law and criminal justice at the University of South Australia, said it was all about context.

A photo of an older man with groomed gray hair, wearing a dark suit.
Rick Sarre says publicly visible decorations may be subject to police assessment of what could cause an offense.(Provided)

“You can get away with a lot more on Halloween because your kids would expect to see funny and horrible things,” he said.

In the case of Ms. Ryan’s zombie, police are required to assess what they believe might be considered “reasonably” offensive to the general public.

“In the context of land or private property, if an object is displayed to the public, it is the competence of the police to have it removed or to face a magistrate,” said Dr Sarre.

“I think people need to be careful about what to put in their front yard so that it doesn’t affect the kids in any way.


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