BOULDER, CO—Halloween has long been associated with ghosts, graveyards, skeletons, and jack-o’-lanterns. They embellish haunted houses, spook trick-or-treaters, and buoy profits for Halloween superstores. Many are rooted in unusual traditions from centuries ago. Modern humans embrace them in the spirit of Halloween fun.
But as a homeowner in Boulder recently found out, the plastic skeletons they hung from their front porch in the spirit of Halloween fun were no longer suitable for all audiences.
Determined to be offended by everything, a group of local teenagers claimed the decorative skeletons’ lack of clothing was a blatant violation of Boulder’s indecent exposure laws.
“We couldn’t believe someone would be so insensitive as to hang naked skeletons out in the open for anyone to see,” said the teens. “Not only does this behavior objectify skeletons, it promotes an anti-therapeutic environment for younger generations hoping to enjoy Halloween in a manner that’s emotionally safe.”
After finding a grown-up to drive them to the police station, the kids stomped their feet in the lobby until an officer came around to take their report. They told the officer about how the plastic skeletons made them feel icky. Then they returned to the homeowner’s residence and waited for something to happen.
Appalled by the officer’s lack of action, the teens took matters into their own hands. First, they spent several minutes pouting. Then they threw soup at the skeletons. Finally, they called the local news station to air their grievances. Fifteen minutes later, they were soothed by the arrival of a junior news reporter, who felt their story deserved an audience.
“When I heard about the unclothed skeletons, and how they were offending people, I realized I was offended too,” said the reporter, who graduated from college with a communications degree a year earlier. “I called my mommy to ask her what I should do, but she didn’t answer the phone. So, I decided to march up to the homeowner’s front door and demand they take the skeletons down.”
That conversation didn’t go well. Mostly because it didn’t happen. Before the young reporter could ring the doorbell, it occurred to her that the type of person who would display Halloween skeletons in such an indecent state of undress was the same type of person who would keep old copies of Dr. Seuss books on their bookshelf. Confronting someone like that, she decided, would be an exercise in futility.
Agreeing with her sentiment, the aggrieved teens changed tactics. After sliding a nasty note of protest in the homeowner’s mailbox, they took several pictures of the offensive skeletons and posted them to social media. Then they watched the tidal wave of sympathetic emojis flood in.
Soon, they felt validated.
“The outpouring of support from our peers affirmed our emotions about the skeletons,” said the teens. “It galvanized us into action.”
Guided by their moral compass, they trespassed on the homeowner’s property for at least the third time, yanked the decorative skeletons down from the font porch, and delivered them to city council with a formal complaint.
“Boulder’s indecent exposure laws exist for good reason,” they said. “Corrective action needed to be taken.”