N.C. Spookywoods billboard draws mixed reactions

Spookywoods Billboard Draws Mixed Reaction

ARCHDALE, N.C. -- A billboard for a local haunted house has a lot of folks riled up.

Kersey Valley Spookywoods in Archdale is advertising for the Halloween season with about a dozen billboards across the state.

The billboard depicts a character from their horror attraction, but some people are saying it crosses a line.

One woman wrote to them:

To Whom This May Concern,

I would like to express sincere concern regarding the Kersey Valley Billboard Images in Greensboro.  I think these images are highly inappropriate for our chidlren to see and should be removed immediately.  I am extremely disappointed by the decision made by Kersey Valley to places these magnified graphic images across our city.  I will not be attending Spooky Woods and will be communicating to others as well.  Please remove these graphic billboards.

Sincerely,

A citizen of Greensboro
Lauren

The post has gained a lot of traction after it was posted to the Kersey Valley Spookywoods Facebook Page, including a response from the attraction's owner defending the billboards.

Some are saying the girl portrayed looks too young or that it shows violence, maybe even human trafficking.  But there's also a lot of folks supporting the haunted house, saying it's fitting for Halloween time.

The girl underneath this costume is Sydney Parks, a Kersey Valley Employee.

"Just to assure everyone, I'm 21," Sydney says.  "I'm not being abused or you know, forced to do anything."

Her character is a product of the Spookywoods Lab, run by Matt Patterson.

"She's not a victim, she's a protagonist in the show," he explains. "If you look at the way the makeup is done, she's snarling her face, she's in attack mode."

He says the barbed wire around her face is plastic and that the rest is makeup.  It's a fictional character and the folks at Spookywoods say it's just the nature of the business.

"Unfortunately sometimes children will see it," Patterson explains. " But it's just advertising. Not everything that's advertised is aimed toward children."

He also adds they put it on the public to pick the image on the billboard.  Their social media following voted on the image they went with.

"We are in the industry where we're meant to scare people."

The design was also approved by Fairway Outdoor Advertising before it went up on their billboards.  A representative from the company says there aren't any sort of regulations when it comes to content; they view it as freedom of speech.  They can deny a design if they feel that's necessary.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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