Halloween house 'too gory for kids'

A Stevenage man decorated the outside of his house with skeletons, bloodied corpses and cobwebs in a display dubbed 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'

Kate Ferguson
Thursday 17 October 2013 23:41
James Creighton was told by policemen to tone down his Halloween display after passers-by said it made their child cry
James Creighton was told by policemen to tone down his Halloween display after passers-by said it made their child cry

A man who put up a gory Halloween display of disembowelled corpses outside his home has been told by police to tone it down after a passer-by said it made their child cry.

James Creighton, 25, decorated the outside of his house with skeletons, bloodied corpses and cobwebs in a display dubbed Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The bar owner transforms his house in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, every year to raise money for the Cancer Research UK charity in memory of his grandmother Betty, who died from the disease in 2009.

But he had a nasty shock when two police officers knocked on his door to tell him a parent had complained it was frightening children.

Mr Creighton said: “The police came round knocking on my door. They said they were sorry to disturb me but they had a complaint from a member of the public who walks past my house in the morning.

"Apparently their child starts crying every time they walk past my house.

“I was shocked - more to the point that the parent couldn't come to the door themselves and speak to me personally, but had to get the police involved and waste their time.

"Police have asked me to put black tarpaulin along the fence so the kids can't see it, but why should I do that? It ruins the whole rest of the display for everyone else.

“All the other kids love it. It is just this one who doesn't like it.

"It is a bit gruesome, it's a bit gory, but that is Halloween, it is meant to be fun and scary. It is all for a good cause."

Mr Creighton put the gruesome decorations up outside his home at the beginning of the month to mark Halloween and to support Cancer Research UK.

He creates the display every year in tribute to his grandmother, a Halloween enthusiast who died from lung cancer, and claims this is the first complaint he has ever received.

Last year he raised £1,100 for the charity, and has collected £1,358 so far this month.

The 25 year-old said he was "disappointed" when police told him about the complaint on Tuesday lunchtime because the exhibition is ”just a bit of fun“.

He said: "It is all for a good cause. I've done it for three years and I've never had a complaint before.

“It all started when I was a teenager and my nan and mum threw a surprise party for me and my mates. They decorated the whole of the inside and outside of the house. Ever since then I've got into it. It is carrying on that legacy.

"Halloween is packed with people on my street because of my house. Everyone has been complimentary saying they love it. I've never had any negative feedback.

“I'm very disappointed, I would have liked the person to come and speak to me. I was willing to compromise with the person if they were prepared to come to my door, it would have been a lot easier than getting the police involved.”

Despite the objection, Mr Creighton, who has received donations from as far afield as the US and Mexico, said he is determined to keep the display up and raise as much money as possible for charity.

He said: “I'm definitely going to keep it up, but it has made me think that for next year I might be a bit more wary, which is a bit of a shame.

"But I'm not going to stop. It is something that reminds me of my nan and it is for a good cause."

Inspector Simon Tabert told the BBC that officers had visited Mr Creighton "to discuss the matter."

He said: "We had a complaint (from a parent) that it was so realistic, it was going to upset their children.

“Mr Creighton offered to create a barrier, but it's my understanding we did not ask him to do so.

"We asked him to tone it down, because people were being distressed by it."


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