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Gallery: ‘Creepy’ Castle Goes up Downtown

Decoration at Waukegan and Deerfield Roads is hand made by a Chicago artist.

Someone looking for a placed all dressed up for Halloween need go no further than the southwest corner of Deerfield and Waukegan Roads.

For the last 10 years, Diane Dreksler-Sturck of Diane’s Art Studio in Chicago has built the Halloween display at that corner for the owners of the Deerfield Square shopping center. It is not an easy thing to do.

Earlier: Halloween Fun Roundup: Event in and Around Town

“Everything is attached in some way,” Dreksler-Sturck said. “They’re nailed, fastened or stitched. They have to endure the elements, the wind, the rain and (everything else about) Chicago.”

All the characters and scenes are made by Dreksler-Sturck or her partner, Eve Butz. The display itself came out of Dreksler-Sturck’s imagination. “It’s a medieval castle, haunted, creepy scene,” she said. “I love the gypsy,” she added referring to a woman with a crystal ball.

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J.Lyn October 19, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Several nice touch-ups and additions this year...but the general theme is getting tiring...perhaps something different next season???
Courtney Lorentz October 19, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I have started a petition to see this display changed and made more "family friendly." There are two preschools within sight of the display, and children, who are eye-level with the bloody, severed legs everywhere, must walk past it all the time. The current display is too frightening and inappropriate for young children and offends many in this community - which is Deerfield, not Chicago. If you agree, please post your name and zip code here, and I will add your name to the petition, to be sent to CRM Properties and the Village of Deerfield once there are enough signatures.
Caryn Zelinger October 19, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I find the display offensive. If the Deerfield Square Management would like to spend their money on an Autumn theme it would be better than the very dark and bloody Halloween specific theme. Caryn Zelinger
Courtney Lorentz October 19, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Can I add your name to the petition, Caryn?
laurie October 19, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I agree that this display is offensive. Have you seen how Highland Park decorates? Their display is creative, tasteful, artistic and truly celebrates fall. Please add my name to the petition - Laurie Lederer, Deerfield -60015
Courtney Lorentz October 19, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Thanks. Please spread the word. : )
Deerfield Mom October 19, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Thank YOU!!! I think the display is totally tacky and unattractive. We won't let businesses in the village have neon signs, or too many signs, but we happily allow a headed (and last year headless) horseman drag a bloody, dismembered body through our downtown for 2 months every year - REALLY and the board is worried about signage in a businesses window. I am SO glad that someone is taking the lead on this. Can you also work on getting the holiday display to be less tacky too? The giant, scary jack in the box is getting quite old - along with the rest of the Christmas display - and yes, it is a Christmas display and not a holiday display.
Courtney Lorentz October 19, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I have been very pleased with the support I have been receiving for this petition. May I add your name, too?
RB October 19, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Good luck. This is the shopping center with the permanent white children's sculptures in front of Barnes and Noble, not a single child of color or ethnicity. At the December Holidays, the decorations never change from year to year. Why they pick Holloween to add more gore gets me when they could do so much better than the clown jack in the box and gift boxes that they do every year.
Amy Charlson October 19, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Thank you, Courtney, and other Deerfield residents. I have been offended by the disturbing Halloween display in its different iterations over the years, and am glad to see that others support an effort to call for change. I agree that Highland Park's Halloween display (and all of their other seasonal displays) are done in lovely, family-friendly taste. Deerfield's winter/holiday displays could be re-adressed as well—they are too gift- and religion-centered and could simply be about the beauty of the winter season. The residents of Deerfield do not need to look at tacky, culturally generalized displays for weeks on end each season—how about rethinking this "art" with a truly artistic, aesthetically-pleasing sort instead? Please add my name to your petition. Amy Charlson, 60015
Deerfield Mom October 19, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Lisa Schurgin 60015
APPRVD October 19, 2012 at 11:41 PM
WOW!! Relax folks. It's a Halloween decoration.
RonnieTheLimoDriver October 21, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Seriously??? Lighten up! You can't protect your children from everything and I am not sure why the rest of the world needs to suffer because your kids got scared. I think you are missing out on the obvious teachable moment. "Its just pretend, dear."
Karen Sus October 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Are you going to petition the houses that have decorations up too! This is what Halloween is about.
J.Lyn October 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Courtney...Apparently you do not walk the residential streets of DF this time of year. There are homes all over this town that have more grueling depictions than the castle...homes, I might add, that have children in residence. I might also add that I live very near that corner...and I rarely see anyone...let alone pre-school children...walking along the display "all the time". Mostly parents bringing their children there to see it up close. While I think the display has gotten stale over the years...I have no problem with a scary...creepy Halloween depiction. As Karen said...that is what Halloween is all about. Frankly, I don't think your concern is for the children...I think you have a personal agenda...religious in nature perhaps...that you want to foist upon others. Happy Halloween....BOO!
Courtney Lorentz October 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Obviously, not. There is a difference between a display in an essentially public space and that on a private lawn. I also believe that there is enough violence, gore and ugliness in this world that we do not need to glorify it - even if it is pretend, and even on a day like Halloween. As I state in my full petition: What would be wrong with some black cats, ghosts and witches? Halloween can be spooky without the gore. I stand by my position: bloodied, severed limbs are obscene, and obscenity is generally not tolerated in a public space where children are present.
Courtney Lorentz October 22, 2012 at 01:11 PM
You're right: I do have a personal agenda, but it is not religious in nature. I have two young children that walk by the exhibit all the time. But, if the majority of Deerfield likes the exhibit, than so be it. I will concede defeat. So far, however, I have received a lot of support from others in this community.
Courtney Lorentz October 22, 2012 at 01:33 PM
(Typo in last post: "...THEN so be it.") One more thing: I hope my fellow neighbors know that I do not wish to be contentious about such a trivial issue as a Halloween display. And I also hope that if we can't see eye-to-eye about the offensiveness of the display, that we can then agree to disagree. I honestly just thought (perhaps naively) that others would find the display to be as grotesque as I do and would prefer to see something less bloody in such a prominent venue. I will not be posting further about this, because it really is too small of an issue to be deserving of any more of our time. I just wanted to clarify my stance.
DeerfieldResident October 22, 2012 at 02:24 PM
My issue with this display is not the gore. It's just plain ugly. I've hated it for years. It wouldn't be too hard to come up with an attractive fall/Halloween display. Might even cost less. Hope to see something fresh next year.
MR October 23, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Well this explains the poor Halloween taste: I heard this was decorated from somebody from DES PLAINES. Can you believe it? Almost as bad as Chicago...
Courtney Lorentz October 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If you want to sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/crm-properties-group-ltd-and-the-village-of-deerfield-change-the-halloween-display-at-the-corner-of-deerfield-and-waukegan-3

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