A display of New Jersey Halloween decorations is stoking outrage among neighbors, some of whom say one of the ghosts resembles a member of the Ku Klux Klan

The decorations are set up at a home on Toms River Road in Jackson, which also “boasts multiple Confederate flags,” according to WNBC

Among the haunting display is a “ghost” with an unusually pointed hood. Some area residents told local reporters that the Halloween decoration bore an uncanny resemblance to the infamous KKK uniform. 

Locals See KKK in New Jersey Halloween Decorations

“That does look like Ku Klux Klan,” Jackson, New Jersey resident Al Bazel told WNBC of the display. “That’s not right. If they were going to do Halloween, I guess it’d be different […] They gotta get on board with today, they can’t live in the past.”

Other locals said they thought the Confederate flags at the property removed all doubt of the homeowner’s intentions.

“If it was just a ghost, it’d be fine,” Jackson resident Doreen Koptyra told reporters. “But now that you have the flag up, that’s not acceptable.”

“I’d like to think it’s just a ghost, but then you have the head,” she said, referring to the decoration’s suspiciously pointed crown. 

One next door neighbor who told reporters she lived across the street from the home said she took no issue with the Halloween decorations. 

These New Jersey Halloween decorations are stoking outrage among locals, who think they look like KKK members. The Jackson, NJ home also boasts two Confederate flags.
These New Jersey Halloween decorations are stoking outrage among locals, who think they look like KKK members. The Jackson, NJ home also boasts two Confederate flags. Photo credit: WNBC

“It’s Halloween, people put decorations out, it is what it is,” Toms River Road resident Jeannette Benz said. “That’s all […] doesn’t bother me, not at all.”

Benz said she saw no resemblance to the KKK hood. 

“No, I think Halloween is Halloween,” she told Sarah Wallace of WNBC. 

The owner of the home on Toms River Road refused to speak with WNBC reporters. “Get the f— out!” he said in the video, before raising his middle finger to the camera. 

WNBC’s Sarah Wallace was able to get the unidentified man to say that he’s had the Halloween decorations on display for years. 

But shortly after briefly interacting with reporters, the homeowner hopped in his SUV and parked the vehicle perpendicular to the driveway, obscuring the decorations from the cameras.

In addition to the pointed hood, the decoration has a red mark on the left side of its chest. While ghosts are not commonly depicted with any such markings, many Ku Klux Klan robes do bear a red insignia on the left side of the breast, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Also visible on the property in the WNBC report is a second ghost-like figure. That Halloween decoration has no pointed head or red chest marking, but instead appears to be wearing a small black skullcap. 

New Jersey Halloween decorations that some neighbors say look like KKK members are causing outrage in rural Jackson. This decoration has no pointed hood, and instead appears to wear a small skullcap.
New Jersey Halloween decorations that some neighbors say look like KKK members are causing outrage in rural Jackson. This decoration has no pointed hood, and instead appears to wear a small skullcap. Photo credit: WNBC.

NAACP Criticizes the ‘Ghosts

Members of the Toms River-area chapter of the NAACP told the New York Post they were looking into the New Jersey Halloween decorations on Tuesday.

“I think it looks like a KKK outfit rather than a Halloween costume,” said Bahiyyah Abdullah, president of the NAACP chapter, in a phone interview. “Having the [Confederate] flag above it just added to it. It’s very unfortunate that a holiday that is celebrated by so many appears to be tainted in that way.” 

Similar Issues in Recent Halloweens

Whether or not the owner of the New Jersey Halloween decorations intended to invoke the KKK, several holiday displays from recent years have unwittingly carried racial undertones. 

In 2019, a Brooklyn woman issued a public apology after social media users call her decorations — featuring brown cardboard children hanging from nooses — racist and “creepy.”

It also isn’t the first time in recent memory that the infamous KKK was invoked in the name of Halloween.

The same year, two young women in Los Angeles were accosted by a crowd for wearing KKK robes as Halloween costumes. The incident, caught on video, ended with the women removing the robes at the behest of the crowd.