This Woman Is Waging A War Against Halloween Costumes Showing Children Wielding Knives
Halloween is the one time a year culture's scariest icons get their pedestal.
Vampires, witches, skeletons and zombies reign supreme on trick-or-treating night while people are increasingly choosing to dress like pop culture stars: Freddy Krueger, Pennywise and Chucky are some spine-tingling examples.
And each year with it, our costume providers are getting far more sophisticated with their offerings - not least for children.
But are terrifying bloody-covered, knife-welding costumes merely in the spirit of Halloween, or are they normalising, or worse, elevating, knife and violence culture?
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It's an argument Linda Taylor is currently waging. The 63-year-old grandmother believes children's costumes featuring knives and blood don't have a place in fancy dress shops.
Linda had been shopping in Bluewater Shopping Centre with her 10-year-old granddaughter when she was horrified by the amount of kid's costumes that feature bloody blades.
"In today's world of knife crime, displaying photos of kids holding knives is completely inappropriate," said Linda, from Welling, Kent.
"If the costumes are for adults, obviously that's fine, but these are clearly aimed at children."
Linda said she spoke to a shop assistant and a security guard who said the hair-raising costumes - which include a 'psycho clown', 'zombie clown' and 'possessed doll' - were selling.
"These costumes are being sold nationwide. If you wouldn't want to see a child knifing someone, why would you want to see that as a costume?," added Linda.
"I work in child protection services. I know all about the horrors of knife crime.
"Can you imagine your son or daughter died from a stabbing and seeing a 5-year-old wearing that on Halloween?
"It's so horrendous. Why would you put that on a child? Why would you be promoting that?"
Linda said she worries the costumes - on sale for three-year-olds and upwards - could even lead children to pick up a knife at home to imitate the photo.
"It really unnerved my granddaughter. Even she asked why a shop would sell costumes like that to children her age," Linda added.
Halloween HQ, based in Ireland, occupies a retail space in Bluewater for the month of October each year.
A spokesperson for Bluewater said: "We cannot speak on behalf of an individual retailer, give information about their specific stock, or prohibit items being sold in-store that adhere to trading laws."
With knife crime at an all-time high in the UK, it's fair to say we need to pay attention to possible damaging influences our impressionable youths are being exposed to.
We could ban knife-wielding Halloween costumes just as parents might ban their kids from gaining access to certain TV shows or video games, but is a child seeing a scary clown with a knife on Halloween really going to lead to imitation?
Instead of culling certain costumes on Halloween, isn't it the job of parents and schools to teach kids the difference between right and wrong for the 11 months of the year?
On a day designed to spook, terrify and thrill, should a plastic prop really be the focus?
It's an argument that has proved divisive already.
Commenting on the story, one Twitter user wrote: "I totally agree with the grandmother. The costumes are so shocking considering all the knife crimes across the UK. Totally unnecessary. I'm shocked Bluewater allowed the retailer to sell such costumes."
However another user called it simply one person's "emotional reaction" to seeing the costumes, adding they're "meant to be scary".
Halloween HQ has been contacted for comment.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS