Woolworths removes Halloween decorations after outcry: 'Too scary'

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Woolworths has removed a controversial Halloween decoration from a Western Australian store, after receiving customer complaints labelling the decoration as "scary" and "inappropriate".

The controversial decoration was a large Grim Reaper skeletal prop, initially seen hanging across the produce section at Woolworths Esperance.

A local mother addressed a post to the Woolworths Facebook page on Friday, asking for the decoration to be removed.

In the post, she wrote that “the decorations are not appropriate”, and said that her son said they were “too scary”.

Skeleton with robe prop with cobwebs hanging from ceiling above store display at Woolworths. Source: Facebook
The woman said that her children were bothered by the display. Source: Facebook

Other Facebook users were quick to weigh in on the woman’s post, with some labelling the decoration as “tasteless” and others claiming that spooky decorations are commonplace in October.

A spokesperson from Woolworths has confirmed with Yahoo News that the decorations have now been removed.

“We want all customers to feel comfortable and welcome in our stores, and appreciate this customer's feedback on the decorations at her local store,” they said.

“We have passed this feedback on to the store team, who have since amended the display.”

A photo from the store without the decoration. Source: Supplied
The woman said that she's glad the decorations have been taken down, and she hopes the staff will 'tone down' their costumes so children are not frightened. Source: Supplied

Speaking to Yahoo News, the mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that Halloween is a tough time for a lot of families.

“I know a lot of people enjoy it, I just feel for the kids that don’t enjoy it and that parents that struggle this time of year,” she said.

“Every year I see my son and my friends’ kids struggle with the decorations - melt downs, telling me over and over how much they don’t like it and how scary it is.

“I think we should let our kids be kids and listen to them, rather than tell them they are being silly when they have a fear - we are here to protect them,” she said.

“I am so relieved and grateful to Woolworths for taking them down.”

How a local mother got controversial decoration removed

The WA woman said she went through quite a few communication channels to get the change implemented.

“I emailed Woolworths asking the decorations to be changed to more kid-friendly ones like pirates or fairies, and they said they would pass it on,” she said.

“I contacted Woolworths again and I got no response, so I decided to post on Facebook.”

“Woolworths responded to my post and another lady also contacted them and by that afternoon it was gone,” she said.

Yahoo News Australia understands that the way that stores are decorated is at the discretion of individual store teams, and that the removal of decorations is not widespread.

Woolworths store (left) grim reaper decoration (right). Source: Getty Images (left), Woolworths website (right)
Many people encouraged Woolworths to 'not give in' to the woman's complaint, however it has been confirmed that the Esperance store removed the Grim Reaper decorations. Source: Getty Images (left), Woolworths website (right)

The woman has since posted “#thankyou for your response to Woolworths” on her initial post.

A Woolworths spokesperson has told Yahoo News that team members are encouraged to get into the Halloween spirit.

“Our store teams enjoy helping customers celebrate a range of events throughout the year and we encourage them to get in the festive spirit by decorating their store in the lead up to celebrations like Halloween,” they said.

Decoration debate continues

Facebook users have been outspoken about their views on the Esperance store’s decorations, in a debate that has escalated since the initial post’s appearance on the Woolworths page.

In a cheeky move, two Facebook users have shared the woman’s initial photo of the hanging decoration with the captions “this is awesome” and “love it, 5 stars” respectively.

Other Woolworths customers have been quick to post their own views in the woman’s initial post’s comments.

“This is definitely scary and not on,” wrote one person.

“These displays are not positive or happy, and I cannot see how they contribute to better mental health,” wrote another.

"Let’s brighten up our shops with livelier themes."

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