LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A Halloween display in a Florida neighborhood has raised eyebrows in recent years: It’s comprised of about 100 bald, unclothed dolls that dangle from a tree in resident Kenneth Cain’s front yard.
“It does freak some neighbors out,” Kenneth Cain said. “But I’m right here if they want to ask. I’ll be more than glad to tell them.”
Cain said it’s a reference to “The Island of the Dolls” in Mexico. Legend has it that a man who lived in isolation found the body of a young girl floating in the water. In honor of her, he collected dolls.
“[It is in] observance or attention to child neglect, child abuse, child abandonment, child slave labor,” Cain said. “Anything to do with kids that’s wrong or bad.”
But neighbor Mack Milner, who contacted WFLA News in Tampa, said he’s concerned the display “is promoting this kind of violence and crime.”
Milner said he tried to get officials to force Cain to take the dolls down. He intends to propose changes to ordinances in the future.
“These dolls are naked,” he said. “They’re little children and they’re showing scenes of torture.”
Kevin Smith, another neighbor, said the dolls are “kind of creepy.”
“It’s very unpleasant to drive by and look at that,” said Smith. “I’m just glad he lives toward the back of the neighborhood so I don’t have to drive by it every day.”
But Cain said he still gets plenty of trick-or-treaters on Halloween and other visitors.
“This was the goth girl selfie station,” he said.
He said this year is the last time that he will be doing this display.
On Nov. 1, a box full of dolls will be left at the end of his driveway for neighbors.
There could be a whole new display next year.
“It hits me when it hits me, but last year I did skeletons on stripper poles so maybe that’ll make a comeback next year,” he said.
A spokesperson from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the office does not know exactly what is on the display but said freedom of speech allows for a lot.