Halloween decoration removed after circulating social media for controversial display

FITCHBURG, Wis.– A Halloween decoration in a Fitchburg yard came down Wednesday after circulating social media for its controversial display.

The decoration featured a skeleton hanging by a noose on a tree. Online comments said it represented lynching.

Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson said police spoke with the homeowner about removing the hanging skeleton after multiple residents called in, expressing frustration that it was put up in the first place.

The man removing the decoration said he wasn’t the homeowner and denied comment. News 3 Now called the homeowner, but he hung up right after an introduction.

Earlier today, complaints flooded Alder Joe Maldonado’s email and phone.

“This is unacceptable. This isn’t something that should be displayed in our city,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado said there aren’t any policies prohibiting displays like this one, but it can be offensive to the people who live nearby.

“You may or may not see that, but for somebody that has a direct connection to this, it’s incredibly painful,” Maldonado said.

China Miller said she lives down the street from the display, adding that it doesn’t feel like Halloween.

“This is very heartbreaking, and I think that the person who put it up was very insensitive of us Black and Brown people,” Miller said. “That’s just hard to watch, to even keep going over there and looking at it. It just shouldn’t be there.”

Nicholas Schoenick said his neighbor builds a Halloween display every year.

“The collection always seems to change and it’s always something different,” Schoenick said.

Schoenick said he doesn’t think any of the decorations were put up with bad intentions.

“He’s not the kind of guy who’s out to offend people,” Schoenick said. “He’s out to bring joy.”

Two other skeletons hanging by a noose were also removed from a larger Halloween display at the same house.