Life-sized Halloween decoration causing more than just a scare - WNEM TV 5

Life-sized Halloween decoration causing more than just a scare

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A life-sized Halloween decoration in California is causing more than just a scare. It's stirring up controversy by some neighbors who say it looks too real.  

Natalie Diaz and her dad worked hard creating an elaborate lynch man. The prop is part of a big front yard display, and she says the intent is to scare trick or treaters. 

But ever since they put it up, it's also drawn a lot of strange looks from passing drivers and harsh criticism. 

"My dad and I anticipated different people saying different things so we were ready for it," Diaz said. 

 "It was not to offend anyone at all. It was just all in fun," said Natalie's dad, David Hunt. 

But some don't see the fun at all. 

"I understand it's a Halloween decoration, but in other people's eyes, they don't see that. They see a form of racism," Mary Bailey said.

Bailey contacted us after she and her family saw the prop while driving by the home. She says her kids are biracial, and the lynch man only conjures up horrible images of America's past with racism against African Americans. 

"It hits home because my family is a part of that history," Bailey said.  

Chris Atencio is part African American and not offended at all. 

"It's fun. It's interesting. It's creative," Atencio said. 

But Bailey says as long as the lynch man is up, her kids won't be trick or treating anywhere near it. 

"If you have so many complaints about a particular item at our house, I would think that you would have the compassion just to take it down," Bailey said. 

A city code enforcement officer stopped by the house, asking for the decoration to be covered up.

But Natalie and her dad refused. They say they will not take the decoration down until after Halloween. 

Copyright 2013 NBC. All rights reserved.

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