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Scare the spooks?

St. Louis Zoo officials say it changed a Halloween display of about 10 ghosts with black faces hanging from trees after complaints that it resembled lynchings.

According to zoo officials, they recently heard concerns over the perception of the decorations.

“It was like a complete outrage to me, it was very hurtful,” said Chris Burchett, a zoo patron. “The picture appeared to be African-American people hanging from a rope.”

Burchett saw the photo on the St. Louis Zoo Facebook page. Burchett took his concerns to zoo officials.

The display consists of 10 or so ghostly characters with black faces swaying in the breeze. Burchett says it is no less offensive in person and someone should have realized it before the display went up.

“That’s a no brainer,” he said. “It’s impossible that you could not see that that’s racist you know, there’s no way.”

Zoo officials say an outside vendor who made and installed the zoo’s Halloween decorations created these to look like faceless ghosts, with a light in the head, so at night, that’s all that shows up.

Without the cloak of darkness, the effect of the display is lost and looks like ghosts with black faces hanging from a tree and may give the wrong impression.

Zoo officials say the comments have not all been negative though. Officials stressed that their intention was never to offend anyone.

Do you find the decorations offensive?

KPLR 11

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