Jacob and Anna Mueller, occupants of a house in a residential area of the town surrounding Penn State, apologized today for a Halloween display that their neighbors deemed "offensive, grotesque, and generally too scary for our kids to see when they walk home."
The Muellers took down the offensive decorations before this publication could obtain photographs, but the neighbors who filed the complaint and wish to remain anonymous gave a detailed description of the display which has been corroborated by several other residents of the lane and a CATA bus driver whose route takes him by the single-family home every day.
The display contained an arresting amount of cobwebs and spiders, and even a fake corpse appearing to rise from one of the many graves in the front yard. But what really upset the neighbors with two young daughters was not the gore-splattered zombie that turned its head whenever someone walked by, but the "Romney/Ryan 2012" sign at the forefront of the display. It was the sign that earned the house the description the bus driver provided: "It looked like a portal to hell."
"It's just... so chilling," said Mrs. Lesher, another resident of the quiet family neighborhood. "I mean, fake guts is one thing; it's Halloween and all. I get the impulse to go all out. But there has to be a limit. For Pete's sake, we all have children here! This is why we don't live downtown with all the students -- who knows what our kids would see on College Ave on Halloween?"
The Muellers offered a sincere apology to the Penn State student newspaper, the Daily Collegian:
We regret that our error in judgment has upset and offended our neighbors. It was not our intention to do so. We are deeply sorry for giving the impression that we are violent people, and worse, that we support the Romney/Ryan ticket. That is absolutely not the case. We only want our television zombies to shamble around haplessly, not our candidates. Again, we are deeply sorry, and we hope that the neighbors who were upset will accept our invitation to the Obama campaign GOTV ["get out the vote"] event we are hosting this Sunday afternoon.
Neighbors expressed gratitude for the apology and for their decision to take down the decorations immediately, and said that they would be happy to forgive their error.
"We all make mistakes," said Charles Schmidt, an adjunct professor at Penn State's College of Liberal Arts who lives across the street from the Muellers with his wife and three young sons. "It's how we choose to rectify them that matters. I think the Muellers realize now that it's scary enough to imagine that the dead are among us on Halloween -- let alone that Romney supporters live in our midst."