10 Halloween Decorations That You Really Shouldn’t Put Up This Year


Halloween is right around the corner. You (hopefully) have your costume picked out already, and you're going to slay, obviously. If you’re really feeling the Halloween spirit this year, you’re probably thinking about decorating your house and yard, too. The houses with Halloween decorations outside usually have the best candy — not a candy corn kernel in sight. And, hey, if there are other houses who've been bitten by the Halloween decorating bug, a little competition never hurt anyone. Are you ready to take Halloween 2017 to the next level?

Alright my friend, not so fast. Just like costumes, some Halloween decorations have the potential to be extremely offensive. You wouldn’t dress up as a slave master, so you shouldn't decorate your yard like a plantation. One night of questionable or downright offensive decorating choices can make your neighbors side-eye you for the next 12 months, and nobody wants that. Simply being mindful of the decorations you choose will go a long way towards helping you have the most fun on Halloween you can. If you find yourself asking why you have to think about whether your Halloween decorations are offensive or not, just remember that Halloween is a holiday for everyone — you don't want to ruin someone else's fun with inappropriate, insensitive, or just plain offensive decorations. Ahead, you’ll find a list of Halloween decorations no one should display this year.

Scary Peeper

A Peeping Tom is just a euphemism for a sexual harasser. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are issues that need to be taken seriously, and decorations that make light of sexual harassment can be triggering to survivors. Don’t use this offensive decoration Halloween 2017 (or ever).

Hanging Bodies

You might be tempted to think that hanging body decorations are just "spooky," but for many people, they're a visual representation of lynching, where innocent Black people were killed, usually by hanging, in order to resolve "some of the anger that whites had in relation to the free Blacks," according to the NAACP. Lynching was a practice in the United States that killed over 4,000 people, and continues to kill people to this day. Why joke about it on Halloween?

Psychiatric Ward

Millions of people in the United States are living with a mental illness, and popular "asylum" haunted house decorations contribute to the stigma that mentally ill people are scary or dangerous — they are not. Don't perpetuate this harmful and dangerous stereotype with your Halloween decorations.


The United States incarcerates the most people per capita in the entire world. Mass incarceration is scary, but it's no joking matter. Find something that doesn't actually affect people's lives to decorate your Halloween party with.

Prison Execution

Whether you’re for or against the death penalty, joking about execution is no laughing matter — especially if you consider that, according to one study, one in 25 people on death row is innocent, and racial bias continues to affect how people are sentenced even today.

Sugar Skulls

Day of the Dead, or día de los muertos, the Mexican holiday known for its colorful sugar skulls, or calaveras, is not the same thing is Halloween. Don’t use sugar skulls to decorate for your Halloween festivities — if you’re not actually Mexican, it’s cultural appropriation.

United States-Mexico Border

Migrant deaths at the United States-Mexico border increased this year, and discussions about Trump's potential border wall create further bias against Latinx and Hispanic people in the United States. "Wall" Halloween costumes or decorations aren't funny, and it definitely doesn’t get me into the Halloween spirit. It's not a tongue-in-cheek political joke — it's a reminder of the havoc Trump's policies will wreak on families all over America.

Decapitated Bodies

The shock value of seeing a decapitated body may seem funny to you, but could be a serious trigger for unsuspecting onlookers — it's not a good look.

Caged Humans

Thinking about using caged dolls as Halloween decorations this year? Don’t forget about this super spooky thing called slavery that actually happened, where humans were actually kept in cages — in fact, it still happens today. There are so many other ways to decorate that won't make light of a horrifying history.


Playing with toy guns can get you killed in this country, at the same time mass gun violence has reached epidemic heights. Guns are terrifying, but they have no place in your Halloween decorations.

There are literally thousands of Halloween decorations that aren't offensive — cobwebs! spiders! cauldrons! — so avoiding the ones of this list should be easy. Halloween should be fun and friendly, not triggering and offensive. Do your part to make sure everyone in your neighborhood has a blast this Halloween by avoiding these inappropriate Halloween decorations.

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