Church and school leaders protest Busch Gardens Halloween attraction

Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 11:50 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Holly Strader, youth pastor of Ignited Church, said at a news conference Thursday that Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream show, "Revenge Rocks," is targeted at youth and sends the message that retaliation is acceptable. And she sees a parallel between the show, which she says appeals to teenagers, and the real-life problem of bullying.

Read more from The Ledger.

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Monday, October 18, 2010 12:51 PM

"I personally spoke with a 13-year-old who was there without parental supervision.

Sounds like a parenting failure, not a park ops failure.

Monday, October 18, 2010 12:54 PM

Retaliation is not acceptable? Let the bullies win?

Monday, October 18, 2010 1:10 PM

I know right? Are they protesting movies like Carrie, Let me in, Mean girls also? In the words of Betty White, "this sounds like a huge waste of time"!

Monday, October 18, 2010 1:20 PM or TREAT hasn't been a form of bullying all these years, but a Halloween Attraction is?

And seriously? They're okay with Halloween events based on demons, the devil, murder, the occolt, etc., but they have a problem with one themed to a psycho ex girlfriend? Somehow I think Jesus wouldn't approve of any of it...

Monday, October 18, 2010 1:22 PM

While I agree with the point of view (I don't think retaliation is a useful means of justice or the improvement of self or society as a whole, either from a religious or social standpoint), do we really need to protest everything we disagree with? Can't we just let Halloween be Halloween?

Maybe if we starting taking responsibility for our kids and teaching them to separate fantasy from reality and how to make good decisions, it wouldn't matter so much what they are "exposed to." Also, what planet do you live on that you can totally insulate your kid from temptation, violence, sexuality, addiction, or any of the other millions of "unsavory" realities that come with life and on what planet does insulating them from bad messages make them into good people?

Hell, even G and PG rated movies like the Incredibles give the message that the happy ending is when the bad guy dies. You can't keep the kids away from the message. You have to teach them how to evaluate it for themselves.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, October 18, 2010 1:26 PM
Monday, October 18, 2010 1:27 PM

Tekwardo said:
Somehow I think Jesus wouldn't approve of any of it...

I personally don't think Jesus gives a rat's butt about any of it in a world where people are poor, starving, hopeless, desperate, addicted, and depressed.

Monday, October 18, 2010 1:30 PM

Sppoky time: As I clicked on this thread, there were six replies and sixty-six views.

Definitely the work of...could it be....Satan? ;)

Monday, October 18, 2010 1:33 PM

Well, that's really the point. I mean, the basis of Christianity is a belief in Christ and a rejection of the other stuff, but my comment was in response to the youth pastor making sure that she put in the article that she's not attacking Halloween as a whole, when regardless of if she's protesting this one because violence or spiritism, it comes across as hypocritical when you claim to follow a religion that teaches that most of the stuff associated with Halloween is bad, and yet that's long as it isn't promoting bullying.

Monday, October 18, 2010 4:00 PM

Well, I can still see the point in that (as far as I know) the other shows and haunted houses aren't glorifying or idolizing devil worship or the occult or serial killers or whatever...I still don't agree with it, but I can see where that distinction could be drawn.

Monday, October 18, 2010 5:35 PM

If they don't like it than why don't they go spend their money on something else or just avoid Busch Gardens at halloween time if they don't want their kids exposed to some guy dressed up that jumps out and says "boo". It is just for fun people leaving there after all the FUN and thrilling halloween mazes are not thinking I should go be some crazy killer wack job.

Monday, October 18, 2010 6:46 PM

I'm a Christian. But let the folks have fun man. It doesn't mean the people involved are demonic!

Monday, October 18, 2010 7:11 PM

I go to Busch Garden because I love the coasters, the food, the atmosphere, and the beer. Not sure where I think to much about much else. Its an amusement park, where families spend time together.

Monday, October 18, 2010 7:42 PM

Since when does getting revenge on an ex the same as bullying?

Ughh, getting sick of these "do-right" groups saying that everything is wrong. It's not like this stuff is showcased all year.

As an adult, if I want to see evil clowns, insane asylums, and people getting revenge on their ex in Halloween displays, I have that right.

Monday, October 18, 2010 7:59 PM

Personally, I can agree with many of the pastor's points. I'm not even sure how this is a Halloween attraction, based on the description. It sounds more like a plot of Law and Order, one of the spinoffs that not too many people watch. The woman states that she's not protesting the entire event, yet some people have a problem with that. Really? Would you prefer an all-out protest?

Yes these people had the right to do what they did. They're not picketing or calling for a boycott. They sent a letter to the park and to several news outlets. The media decided to write the story to stir up some controversy. Imagine that! The church isn't forcing anyone to do or not do anything. They're simply making people aware of what is contained in one show. Shouldn't we be happy if they tell parents to monitor their kids' entertainment and not drop them off at a theme park unsupervised? Haven't we been complaining about the same thing here for years?

The pastor draws a clear distinction between the heavily made up characters who are obviously not reality-based compared to the "regular looking" people who are part of this show. In the "life imitates art" or vice-versa question, weren't there just headlines about people being tortured in a house in NYC? The accused thought their actions were justified because they were disrespected and wanted revenge. There's all kinds of nastiness out there among kids and adults. Why put on a show saying that it's OK?

What do you think the reaction would be if the story were about a guy who tortured and killed an ex-girlfriend who cheated on him? Probably a lot more than one church and a few school officials. Would anybody here be saying, eh, let them go, it's just for fun?

Monday, October 18, 2010 8:38 PM

True RGB, it isn't your traditional Halloween display, but with the commercials I have seen down here in Florida promoting it, she basically starts to torture the guy which happens with alot of displays in haunted houses, just in a different situation.

The Raven twins which was the star attraction a couple of years ago, also tortured and eventually killed guys because they felt everyone was making fun of their disfigurement.

Monday, October 18, 2010 9:04 PM

I just think that people don't walk out of these haunted attractions saying these creatures are their role models or anything. At the most they are thinking that they are glad they are not these creatures or thinking about all the fun they had that night.These people who want to put an end to halloween attractions don't seem to stop and think that people don't leave the park acting like bad demons. The park also gives enough warning saying that these are made to be scary and kids shouldn't go inside the haunted attractions if they are terrified of these things.

Monday, October 18, 2010 9:44 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
There's all kinds of nastiness out there among kids and adults. Why put on a show saying that it's OK?

That sure seems like a stretch to me. Taking what is essentially a story and translating that as a stamp of approval for "nastiness" is reaching. A lot. My kid will know right and wrong by way of me being a parent, and understand what's fantasy and fiction because we'll talk about it. I don't need these kinds of people "protecting" my kid from stuff.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:08 AM

They have a good point. When I was a teen, most of my major decision making was based on what I saw at Halloween theme park shows. It would be a better if it was about planting trees and holding hands so they'll all go out and do that after the show instead.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:35 AM

Funny thing about raising kids. Even people who think they're doing a fantastic job can end up with unintended results. There are plenty of parents who are surprised what their little angels or perfect children get caught doing.

Stupid remark, Cropsey. It's not just one show. It's repeated and repeated over and over in our society that lack of respect for others is OK and it's actually cool to be vengeful. Where do people get the idea that it's fine to videotape your roommate having sex and posting it on YouTube? Where do kids get the idea that it's OK to pick on other kids brutally? It doesn't just pop into their heads. It's observed and learned.


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