Busch Gardens has removed headless figures and severed heads from the Halloween display at its Williamsburg, Va. theme park after some people complained they were a grim reminder of the ISIS beheadings.
The company said the decorations had been ordered months ago, before the videotaped beheadings of American photojournalist James Foley, American journalist Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines at the hands of Islamic State militants.
The theme park issued a statement via Facebook:
We know there will be a lot of opinions on our decision to remove certain props from the park. We stand by it. The horrible tragedy and loss of life for journalists and an humanitarian aid worker in the Middle East is unspeakable and we would not want anything in our park to seem insensitive to that. Changing some of our props will not take away from the Howl-O-Scream experience. We appreciate your support and hope to see you soon for a visit.
Some park-goers backed the decision.
“That’s not consistent with the Halloween spirit at all,” Hartley Bond told WAVY when asked about the heads. "I think it's good that they pulled it. I think it was out of order and insensitive to public sentiment."
But many online disagreed.
"By removing the props you the park are giving in and letting the terrorists win....this is what they want...to disrupt the lives of Americans," a user named Brian Skinner wrote on the theme park's Facebook page.
"If you're trying to avoid offending people, might as well take everything out," wrote Kimmi Jones. "People will be offended by fake blood, severed heads, vampires, nude statues, skimpy-clad nurses, you name it."
There's also an active discussion on the Halloween Forum discussion board.