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Graphic Halloween decorations confuse Oklahomans

HalloweenEdgar Allan PoeStephen King

There is a thin line between fantasy and reality, and in parts of Oklahoma, that separation is porous indeed,  especially around Halloween.

A family in Mustang has gone big-time, decorating the yard and driveway with ghosts and tombstones. But the piece de resistance was the fake corpse that appeared to be crushed under a garage door, and a second body later positioned in the driveway, seemingly crushed under a vehicle’s wheel. The display was so realistic that someone called 911 to report the body under the door, and emergency personnel (who probably had better things to do) responded, much to their chagrin.

Johnnie Mullins, the house owner, said his kids wanted to decorate for Halloween. “So that’s what we did. Just trying to scare people,” he told News 9, the local television station.

Fright, of course, is one of the basic emotions that entertain and cleanse at the same time. It can also be very profitable; just ask Stephen King or Edgar Allan Poe (though you probably need a medium for that). Or check out this trailer for the movie Carrie, which left some coffee drinkers breathless.

Halloween, of course, is the holiday that is all about scary stuff and has been for centuries. Beneath the sanitized version of store-bought costumes of the latest superhero and good little princesses timidly asking for candy is the fierce back story of expropriating the souls of the dead who are stuck in purgatory. Think of it as a sort of Christian update of an earlier pagan version of the "The Walking Dead.”

Enter the Mullins family, who sees Halloween as a favorite holiday and just wanted to share the fun with the rest of the town.

While Mullins was getting into the spirit of things (bad puns are allowed around Halloween), neighbor Rebecca Fuentes was more down to earth.

“My heart about came out of my chest. I thought, ‘Oh my God,'" Fuentes told News 9. “If I think it's real, just think of what a child would think?”

Realism was always part of the fun, according to the family.

Jennifer Mullins told the Associated Press that she got the idea for the macabre scene from the social media site Pinterest. Using Johnnie's work clothes and blankets for stuffing, the couple first placed one life-sized dummy at the garage in early October and, the next day, placed one next to the truck in the driveway. A sign above the dummy in the garage door reads, “You're next.” The front yard is filled with spider webs, skeletons, crosses and RIP signs, according to the televised video.

“People think we went too far, and you know, we're devil worshipers and we must not be Christian folk,” the 32-year-old mother of two girls told the news service.  “They've said all kinds of stuff. But we're normal. We love Jesus. We celebrate Halloween.”

As for the woman who called 911, Jennifer Mullins called it “ridiculous.”

“I'd probably put two and two together, seeing the decorations in the front yard and then seeing the bodies and then think, 'Oh, it's Halloween,'” she   said.

A Mustang city inspector came to the house after the complaints, but said the Mullins family had broken no laws. Though the incident was appropriately foul, there was no harm.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

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