Family Who Seriously Committed To Halloween Decorations Gets Complaints From Lame Parents

electricchairThe Reamer family in Vermont, who is notorious for going All Out in their Halloween decorations, has reportedly reached a level of scary that local parents are uncomfortable with. The family’s house, which is positioned along the Midlothian Turnpike, depicts a man on an electric chair. Neighbors are reportedly so freaked that one actually asked if the decorations “violates a county ordinance.”

Leslie “we go big or we go home” Reamer (seriously, she said that while holding up a guillotine) says that her over the top decorations are a big Reamer family tradition.

But one parent reportedly wrote into NBC 12 that the sight of lawn decorations just engenders too many questions in her little ones:

“To any passersby it looks like a dead man,” said the viewer who wished to remain anonymous. “How am I supposed to explain that to my kids while we wait at the red light? I shouldn’t have to. It is tasteless and extremely offensive. I urge you to investigate and see why this kind of display is acceptable in our lovely community.”

Not surprisingly, both the Chesterfield County Public Affairs office and Chesterfield Police said that they can’t do squat about private property. So, no, they won’t be knocking on any doors about taking down flipping ghosts and bats. But Leslie has a suggestion for said concerned parents:

“It’s all for fun,” said Leslie. “Children are easily misdirected. If they go…what’s that? Point at the pumpkin and say look at the pumpkin!”

That or jingle something shiny.

(photo: nbc12.com)

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    • Katia

      Some people don’t know when to stop. Obviously they don’t care about anyone but themselves

    • Paul White

      I don’t know if its appropriate to drag in the law, but that is grotesque and I’d be upset about it.

    • Angela

      There is a house on my street that has zombies dripping with blood and holding chain saws on their lawn. My 4 year old is absolutely terrified of them and since it’s only a few houses down from us it’s not like I can really avoid it. Redirection might work for a kid whose only mildly curious but for a kid that’s screaming and terrified, forget it. He’s had several nightmares about them and it takes me about 10 min to cajole him to get in the car because he knows we’ll be driving by that house. I know that legally they have the right to decorate how they want but it’s hard not to resent it considering how much it’s terrifying my kid.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        DUDE, this is where you take pics and post them here and we zombie shame them.

        They need to add some cuteness for your kid, or move the scary in back and put the fun in the front.

      • Aldonza

        Yeah, I’m into that blend of fun creepy but then something ridiculous to kind of soften the blow. Like, giant spiders all over the lawn, but then give them bunny ears or something. Or mustaches.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        LOVE that, that’s how I am pretty much too. I hate cutesy cutesy like teddy bears who are also pumpkins! I am pretty much more of a Martha Stewart Halloween type, but I do appreciate that ridic OTT houses. But I also have sympathy for little kids who are scared awwww

      • Katherine Handcock

        Can I steal the idea of giant spiders with bunny ears? I have never wanted to decorate for Halloween until this moment…

      • Aldonza

        Haha do it and take lots of pictures.

      • alice

        do you live on my street? :) jk

      • Simone

        How wildly inappropriate. Bringing up the concept of people being mutilated with chainsaws – what a great way to celebrate a fun holiday.

      • Rachel Sea

        Show your kid that it’s fake. 4 is a great age to learn about how to make zombie skin and fake blood. Have him make his own zombie scarecrow.

        When kids were really too afraid of my house’s decorations, I taught them how to control them, and they stopped being scared, and had a lot of fun.

      • Angela

        That’s a good idea but he’s a bit more sensitive to this stuff than most kids. Even the cute skeletons and witches scare him a bit. There’s no way he would touch fake blood or anything like that. I think that while he does know that it’s not real that developmentally he hasn’t quite made that distinction between real and pretend.

      • Erica

        Maybe your kid can close his eyes?

      • Angela

        He does but nothing I say will convince him that they aren’t about to come to life and attack the car.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        See, if he’s that terrified… COUNSELING. Seriously.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Dude, no. It’s your problem, DEAL. Take a different route, teach your kid they’re fake, you know, do some actual PARENTING instead of whining about things being “too scary” for your kid.

      • Angela

        Yes, it is my problem and we are dealing with it. Can’t really take a different route because there is only one way out of our cul de sac. I haven’t complained to the neighbors or demand that they take them down but I’m certainly entitled to my opinion that it’s in poor taste. And not that it’s any of your business but my son actually has been to a counselor who’s professional assessment is that while he’s on the anxious side it’s nothing abnormal for a child his age. But hey, maybe I’ll tell her that Dr Total Internet Stranger disagrees with her so we can get him on those meds you recommend.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I bet these people give out the really good candy

      • thebadlydrawnfox

        In the vid, she says they never have trick or treaters. Gotta question whether your decorations are too much if kids can tell you’re into Halloween, but are too scared to approach.

      • LiteBrite

        Oh heck yeah.

        Kid: “Mommy, why is that man in strapped in that chair with all the electricity?”
        Me: “Who cares! They’ve got freaking vats of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups here!”

    • alice

      Speaking as someone who loves all things scary, and looooves decorating for Halloween, i do agree that there’s something a little off about Leslie’s choice to have a death row electrocution scene. To quote Nina Garcia: I think there’s a *taste* level question here. :)

      Lay that dude out horizontal, and it’s purely frankensteinian!

      Still: major kudos to unique Halloween decorating!

      • Aldonza

        Frankenstein would be awesome! And more “Halloweeney”.

    • Aldonza

      My husband and I are talking about buying a house for the first time. I told him I wanted to be the house people complained about because the decorations were too over the top. Also, that we give out full sized candy bars. Halloween rocks.

      • alice

        YES! my husband and i bought our first house three weeks ago, and all i’ve been talking about is halloween decorating. We’re walking a fine line between being the “cool neighbors” and “creepy childless couple overly obsessed with halloween”

      • Aldonza

        Oh definitely. I’m into more haunted house creepy then…bloody violence for the sake of shock value. I think you can go all out and awesome but not be…eh, nasty, if that makes sense. Happy decorating!

      • Halloween

        LOL
        I am totally the female half of the creepy Halloween child-less couple.
        All we have is a graveyard, no blood or grossness.

      • Erin

        Careful about getting your hopes up. My husband and I bought our first house last year and got all psyched about Halloween, only to get not a single blessed trick-or-treater. Sooo much leftover candy.

      • Paul White

        happened to us too :(

    • Mystik Spiral

      I love everything about Halloween including all the scary decorations that come with it, but this is… just wrong. The death penalty has no place in the best holiday of the year, and that this woman believes someone can distract their kid from such a gruesome scene by pointing out a pumpkin is freakishly ignorant.

      • elle

        I really hesitated on commenting on this post because I didn’t want to necessarily take it to a political place but yes. Spot on. This decoration makes me extremely uncomfortable as an adult due to the death penalty aspect of it which should NOT be a decoration and quite frankly is not something I want to explain to my child at a young age. And I do wonder if she has kids cuz they aren’t that easily distracted.

      • Simone

        I agree, capital punishment is hardly something to be proudly displaying as part of a child-centric holiday. Especially when we consider things like the Innocence Project, which has investigated the cases of numerous individuals destined for the death penalty and found them to be clearly, decisively innocent.

        I’m all for explaining things to kids, but explaining how we state-sanction the murder of another human for dubious reasons is not something I’m keen to rush into.

      • Momma425

        1) Murder is defined as the ILLEGAL killing of a human being. Whether or not you agree with it- the death penalty is NOT murder because it is in fact legal.
        2) I don’t want to start a political argument, but I could not be happier about the man who raped and brutally murdered my childhood friend and 3 other girls as well getting the death penalty. Not because I wanted revenge, but because I am glad to know that monster is dead and gone and unable to do that to ANYBODY else. Some people on death row are very sick, twisted people who are completely incapable of change and undeserving of another chance.
        If the picture above is what the yard actually looks like- I don’t see the bid deal. It isn’t bloody or gory at all- you can’t even see the man’s head. There is no blood, no guts…I don’t get what is even so scary about it. You could easily tell a young child that it’s a headless man sitting in a chair.

      • Shea

        And some people on death row or who were executed are/were innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. That’s not really the point. The point is, capital punishment is highly controversial and it’s a reality. There are lots of other non-politically-charged, fantastical Halloween decoration ideas out there, including the wild and gory. The real-world nature of the decoration is my problem with this, whereas there are no such things as flesh-eating zombies or killer dolls.

      • Momma425

        Well I guess since real world things like this bother you so much, people shouldn’t decorate with witches either. In fact, if you put up a witch in your yard or dress as one for halloween, I find it highly offensive based on the fact that in early America, there were many women who were murdered because they were accused of being witches.
        If they had put the devil in their yard, I’m sure a bunch of religious advocates would have been highly offended and one could say it is a controversial thing to put in your yard as well.
        *eye roll*
        The point is that these people can have whatever they want to in their yard. Some people are offended by the very idea of halloween in general- there simply is no pleasing everyone.
        Little kids who might be afraid of the decorations have no idea about the politics of the death penalty and whatnot anyway, so them being scared about that or a flesh eating zombie display is just arguing semantics.

      • Shea

        My goodness, I seem to have touched a nerve. I never said you have to find it offensive, I said that I do (albeit not horribly so, just rather on the tasteless side), and gave my reasons. You’re free to not be offended by it at all, and even if I lived next door to this woman, I’d not say anything to her, because it’s her yard and she can have what she likes in it.

        No need to go nuclear because someone has a different opinion than you do.

      • Shea

        I’m normally totally on board with over-the-top holiday decorations, but I agree, using the death penalty as a Halloween gag really is offensive. It’s not about THE CHIIIILLLLDREN, it’s about not using a politically and socially contentious issue as decoration for what should be a fun holiday.

        Go make a creepy ventriloquist dummy holding a bloody knife and a front yard full of graves, lady.

    • Momma425

      On the one hand, I get it. My daughter is a holy terror to deal with when she is scared of the neighbor’s halloween decorations. But it’s their yard and they can do what they want. Chill out- it only lasts a few years, then the kids will think it is awesome!

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      How do you explain it to your kid? You EXPLAIN it to your kid! My four year old was scared of some scary zombie lady on tv, so I pulled up the internet and showed her before and after pictures of people in makeup and explained that it is a real person dressed up. I tried to be as positive as possible, and now she’s all about it. Things still scare her a bit, but once I explain the mechanics of the scary object she gets it. Kids are smart. You will never be able to control everything your kid comes into contact with, but you can prepare them for dealing with it when they do come across something like that. That said, I’m a sucker for good Halloween decorations. It’s one of my favorite holidays.

      • elle

        But there is a difference between zombies, which aren’t real and you can show before and after pictures online and they can see the makeup techniques used , and something real aka death by electric chair which is real.

      • Rachel Sea

        But the dummy isn’t real. You can lift up the dummy’s shirt and show the kid the servos that make it twitch.

      • elle

        Yep you’re right. I didn’t even think about that, I guess my mind went straight to the internet. And like I told Alanna I think I would be more offended then my son would be scared…..honestly I’m just not down with people making light of capital punishment.

      • Alanna Jorgensen

        I wouldn’t choose an electric chair myself. In this case I would explain that it is decoration and how it works but probably not get into the full details of what it is portraying.

      • elle

        You are correct of course. And to be honest I think I would be way more offended then my child would ever be scared of it (he loves being scared).

      • Angela

        Some kids are more sensitive to stuff than others. My son is also 4 and when he is scared no amount of explanations help. I have to be really careful because sometimes the explanations can give him new ideas of things to worry about as well.

      • Alanna Jorgensen

        I hear you. The world is big and scary for someone so small. I just get frustrated when people (not you) say they don’t want to have to explain stuff to their children. I generally feel if a kid is old enough to be curious about something, or notice things that confuse or scare them in their environment, I would be doing them a disservice by refusing to at least try to help them understand. I’d rather they know that they can get honest and direct answers from me than get the information elsewhere and possibly be misinformed. I feel this way about pretty much anything, be it scary decorations or gay rights (had to have that talk recently with the ten year old after he heard gay being used in a negative way by classmates) or what have you. I do honestly sympathise with little ones who get scared, but I know your son will be okay in the long run because he knows you are there for him. We can’t protect them from life, but we can help them navigate it armed with knowledge and love.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Oh no doubt! My four year old is obsessed with skeletons. He is both fascinated and a little bit afraid. He keeps talking about how there’s a skeleton just beneath his skin and it scares him! When I try to explain, he just gets hung up on it for longer. This is going to be a tough Halloween.

      • Alanna Jorgensen

        Haha, my daughter was kinda scared about the skeleton under her skin thing for a bit, too. It’s funny how kids think.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Your kid probably needs counseling and meds, because that level of anxiety is simply not normal, even for that age group.

    • Emil

      The main problem I have with this is that it makes me feel lazy. I’m lucky if I get around to putting a pumpkin on my porch.

    • Rachel Sea

      My wife and I used to go all out, to the point where even teenagers dared each other to ring the doorbell.

      Our entire setup was described very aptly by one super articulate 2 year old, who screamed, “NONONONO I DON’T WANT TO GO NOOOO,” all the way to the front door, and then instantly flipped positions with a perfectly enunciated, “Oh, candy? Well! That’s different then,” when presented with a double fistful of chocolates.

      I think Halloween is a time to learn how to face fears under safe, reasonably controlled conditions. If people’s kids are terrified of the display, they should ask the homeowners to give the kids a behind the scenes look. Nothing assuaged fear like knowing you can buy a bucket of your very own glow-in-the-dark maggots, and make your own oscillating fan demon.

      • Aldonza

        That’s an awesome idea! When I was younger, I had some family friends who would throw a Halloween party and do the “put your hands into the bowl of eyeballs” thing. I was super freaked until they let me help make it and I saw how it was all food and then I loved it. It’s letting them in on an awesome “secret”.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        HAHA! You just reminded me that when I took my daughter trick-or-treating when she was maybe 3, there was a house all the kids ran screaming from. I knew they were scaring kids and I tried to get her to skip it, but she was a kid and she was like, duh…we don’t skip houses. So we get there, and the guy is wearing a Jason mask and popping out of his darkened bushes and screaming, scaring everyone off. He does this to my daughter and the other kids around. They run away. She stands there, cocks her head and says, “My daddy has that mask, too.” Scary homeowner looked kind of deflated, but she scored the candy!

      • Roberta

        One place I knew had two options, either get regular candy at the door, or go through the haunted garage of horrors for full sized bars. But that garage was scary as all hell, so you earned your kit kats.
        I am moving to a condo next year, and I won’t have kids trick or treating. Can I hand out candy at someone else’s place? I’ll provide the candy…

    • pixie

      There’s a house on the street that my parents live on that has a a different theme every halloween, one year it was a creepy carnival, another it was under the sea. They Go all out with props and lighting and music and costumes, but they’ve never done anything that’s overly grotesque. They also do it in a really neat way where it’s a fundraiser and they raise money to donate to a charity. They give out really good candy, as well. Families flock to my parents’ neighbourhood just for that house. I think the carnival theme year they also had a cotton candy machine or a popcorn machine.

    • Annona

      Reason #357 that I rarely leave my house and should really give up the internet: “How am I going to explain X to my kids?” Um, I don’t fucking know and it’s not my fucking problem?

      Hooray, people who go all out for Halloween! This year, I will be scaring the shit out of people just like every other year, because that is the true meaning of Halloween. Though that electric chair makes my Victorian coffin feel very inadequate…

    • nzbird24

      So what’s the difference between a human skeleton and a mock electrocution? They are both grotesque, so why draw a line?

      • Simone

        I think the difference is that one represents a natural and inevitable part of the cycle of life and death to which we are all subject, and the other is an illustration of a highly controversial and morally insupportable practice of state-sanctioned murder.

      • nzbird24

        I don’t know many people celebrating the cycle of life with their skeletons and ghouls (that is the original purpose of Halloween right?) Most people just want to be scary and fun. The decorator definitely hit ‘scary ‘. Maybe She is making a political statement …was she in Texas?

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I love huge Halloween decorations! But I don’t enjoy the electric chair… Stick to mythological ghoulies, I think. Celebrate what is pretend and scary, not controversial scary things that really happens to some people.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I immediately discount arguments that start with “How am I supposed to explain that to my kid” because it is not everyone else’s job to censor the world for your child. You had a kid, explain stuff to them and quit being lazy. Granted that is a pretty creepy display, but a simple “It’s a fake guy/dummy they put out to look scary for Halloween. It isn’t real, but it sure looks spooky doesn’t it? They did a good job!”

      http://i.imgur.com/L9bJMKH.gif

    • keelhaulrose

      We used to go all out. I once sat in an old car during trick-or-treating, revving the engine and turning on the lights as soon as someone got too close (lured in by the ‘dead body’ under the car which happened to be holding candy, which we timed perfectly to start screaming as soon as the car started running). Since no one was expecting it, and it looked like no one was there (and the car was freaking LOUD) it would startle people. I didn’t do it for the little kids, but the older ones got a kick out of it.
      We have a neighbor who goes all-out. I explain to my daughter, every year since she was two, that it’s just fun, and none of it is real. She refused to go near the first two years we were there, but she happily went up there last year. It’s our job as parents to explain to our kids the difference between fantasy and reality.
      The display is not my cup of tea, but it’s not my house. I’m not a fan of people thinking they have too much dominion after my own home (I live in an HOA neighborhood, and we have a popular walk-through in our backyard, and we’ve had people complain all the time about features in our yard, private property- not HOA annexed, so it irritates me that they complain the dogs are in the yard, or there’s a giant puddle, or there’s a tree in the middle of the path. Not the same, but it’s irritating that people feel entitled to tell us what do do with our property.)

    • Ginny

      I see no issue with the decorations. Just some special snowflakes swirling up a little fuss.

    • Muggle

      Correction: Midlothian is in Virginia, not Vermont.

      Speaking of Virginia, I’m surprised that anyone’s shocked that this state does in fact have the death penalty (though electrocution hasn’t been used in a long time, if ever, in this state, to my knowledge). It’s a bit OTT for me, but I don’t see how it’s “extremely offensive”. Some drama queen just wants to stir the pot.

      • vicarello

        In January 2013, an inmate requested the electric chair and was put to death via electrocution. Virginia allows death row inmates to choose between electrocution and lethal injection.

      • Muggle

        I totally missed that. Thanks for the correction.

    • Sara610

      This is silly. If the child isn’t old enough to be able to understand “it’s just a decoration, it’s not real” then he is also young enough to be easily re-directed. As numerous others have stated, it’s not the world’s job to censor itself for your child. When you have kids, you take on the responsibility of figuring out what to explain to them and how to explain it.

    • m1970

      This is actually in Midlothian, Virginia. Just in case some readers want to visit!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      I’m torn about this – on one hand, I love Halloween and scary stuff and if you don’t like it, don’t look. On the other hand, what would I think if it was a display of a guy hacking apart female body parts or something? I guess there needs to be some kind of line.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        I was JUST thinking the same thing

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    • kate

      This family can come be my neighbor. I won’t complain. Some people need to lighten up, it’s Halloween Decoration’s. For the person that said how do I explain this to my kid, How about saying it simply Halloween decoration’s for fun….

    • evil stepmom

      We never went all out for Halloween decorations when I was growing up, but I didn’t want to “miss out” even when I was too old for trick-or-treating. So, you know those scary looking zombie-like full-size dummies you can buy? Yeah, I did my hair, make-up, and costume to look like one of those. I sat in a rocking chair on our front porch with a bowl of candy in my lap. (Some of the houses would do that with the dummies so that kids wouldn’t bug them.) I had a flashlight and would talk to the little ones, but I would stay perfectly still for the teenagers until they stuck their hand in the bowl for candy. :) I had a blast that year!

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    • Paul

      This is not in Vermont, it’s in Viginia.

      • Paul

        I meant Virginia.

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