Early in the Halloween season a group of people complained about a newspaper write-up promoting Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the use of a picture that showed some of the Halloween props being use at the event. The picture featured several severed heads in a pirate themed maze. After the complaints started coming in claiming that Busch Gardens was insensitive to the family’s of people who were being decapitated by a radical group in the middle east, the heads were removed from the park. We asked the In the Loop staff there feelings about these actions.
I honestly think that the idea of censoring a Halloween event is kind of contrary to the whole point of the event. I understand that with current events some subjects may be a little more sensitive than others, however it’s not like those things never happened before. Specifically when it comes to BGW removing heads as guests were upset with them due to recent beheadings and ISIS seems a little silly to me. Yes, I get that the subject is sensitive and that it’s a horrible event that has happened but its not like beheadings never existed or probably don’t occur on a daily basis. This “it’s too close to home” mentality really has to go. If you don’t like what you’re looking at or are offended, fine, but don’t ruin the fun for those that go to Halloween events expecting gore and such.
PR can be a very very touchy subject, I think pulling anything from a haunt is a tough call for a park. While pulling things from a haunt might anger a few nerds on the internet, leaving them in (and the media fury that could come with it – depending on how busy the news week is) could cost the park in whether or not the casual on the fence guest chooses to visit.
severed heads may be offensive to some folks and I can see the absolute complete stretch of thinking its related to Isis although its in a pirate maze. If keeping grotesque dead mutilated heads with ominous stares must be attached to a horrifying severed torso with their intensities pouring out, while an actor pretends to eat said intestines, is the key to keep you from being offended, so be it.
In this day and age, you can’t do anything without offending someone. Theme parks and Halloween events would be no different. It all comes down to a PR thing…always wanting to be in the best light. Parks as of late seem to have gone PC…but then you have The Hanging at Knotts this year which REALLY pushes the limits in my opinion….and is a Cedar Fair park. But at the end of the day…if it was going to put the park in any negative light…usually it’s going to get the axe.
Drew The Intern
Negative pr and press is never a good thing to a theme park. it is unfortunate that someone’s hard work and creativity is deemed offensive by a group of people. I feel it is probably in the parks best interest to remove those things deemed to offensive and insensitive. The few people that will actually notice that the haunt is closed or sets were removed probably would still go to the park anyway but a giant media outcry will probably lead to more haters. It will be the new in protest to boycot a park because of an offensive haunt.
I can see a day in the future where Halloween events at parks will be wire framed pumpkins with twinkly lights on them. Where you run in to family friendly PR friendly characters around the park, and the biggest scare you get is how much it cost you to enjoy this lame ass party. People who accuse and publicly force parks to change something as basic as a severed head are going to take the scare out of Halloween, and that makes me sad. That is the country we live in right now. The type of country where a pregnant person can sue a park, because the teens they allowed in bumped her, causing her emotional distress. I am a guy, so I really cant speak on behalf of pregnant people, but I would think that the stress of bringing a healthy baby in to the world is emotional and stressful. Being pumped by those teens was just one of many stressful moments you will have, and is no reason to sue everyone who puts you in the situation of being stressed. I digress. I hate that this is what America is and is known for. If you don’t like it, don’t go. No need to lawyer up and clam you are offended by a few toy heads hanging from the trees, or to try to make some PR jump that they are insensitive to the family’s of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and died. I feel horrible for those family’s who are going throw this, and feel we may not be doing everything we should to be stopping this.