A COUNCILLOR who decorated his house for Halloween was asked to remove his ghosts and ghouls as they were ‘scaring children’.
Ashan Jeeawon, 42, who works as a property stylist, was told his floating skeleton displays were causing a detriment to the mental health of the community.
But when he asked the public, neighbours were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the ‘house of horrors’.
He was sent an email that read: ‘Although I respect your opinion to celebrate Halloween, I am sorry to say that I hold a different opinion.
‘It is my belief that the Halloween celebrations are detrimental to the mental health of many people. In particular of children and the vulnerable.
‘There are more than enough things happening in the world to scare people without adding to it with the spectrum of ghosts and witches.
‘I would respectfully ask that you take down the display as soon as possible. It is important that we promote a message of hope and not a message of fear.’
Mr Jeeawon, who lives in Bexhill, East Sussex, with his partner, sister, her three children and his parents, decorates their house for every major holiday including Christmas, Easter, Diwali and Armistice Day.
He said: ‘Being a councillor, everything I do is to support my community.
‘I’m actively involved in every project going on and support with my time. For someone to say that it’s having a negative impact on the community, my immediate reaction was that is the last thing I would want to do.
‘I put a message out on the Bexhill Facebook page as I really wanted to find out from the public as to whether doing these decorations were giving people joy and something to fun look at or whether it was causing a detriment to people’s mental health.
‘If it really was scaring children and vulnerable people, I’d have no hesitation in taking it down.
‘Every single one of the 700-plus comments is positive.
‘Lots of people said their kids have asked them to detour so they can look at the house when they drive past.
‘I think there were 30 people on the page that said they suffered from mental health issues and that it was supporting them as opposed to it being detrimental.’
While he hasn’t responded to the email yet, he is determined to keep the decorations.
He said: ‘I think I will acknowledge the comments and say that I’ve done a test with my neighbours and other people local to the area and actually the support is overwhelmingly supportive so the decorations will remain.’
Mr Jeeawon said he is not actually that big a fan of Halloween, and only has one costume he wears most years.
He said: ‘On Halloween night itself, we have the music, lights and smoke machine on. We’re very busy for trick and treaters stopping by.
‘I normally wear a black cape and a mask from the Scream films. I stand in the front garden, I don’t move at all, and so they think I’m a statue. Once they walk past, I jump at them on the way out.
‘We’re a non-religious family, there’s no specific love of anything. It’s about doing something for the community.
‘It started five years ago, and we’ve just added decorations every year.’
One parent said: ‘My two-year-old loved it. The whole point of Halloween is to be spooky and it’s a nice distraction from parking and all the other moaning.’
And a neighbour said: ‘The amount of people and young children that have actually taken the time to stop and look at it and take pictures is fabulous. They do a fabulous job of decorating the house and put a lot of effort into it.’