'Scary characters' denied from parade - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

'Scary characters' denied from parade

Posted: Updated:
The Sinister Tombs Haunted House in Eastview says they haven't been able to take part in the parade that kicks off the festival since 2011. The Sinister Tombs Haunted House in Eastview says they haven't been able to take part in the parade that kicks off the festival since 2011.
One of the rooms inside of the haunted house. One of the rooms inside of the haunted house.
Marvin Skaggs Marvin Skaggs
Sinister Tombs in the 2011 Heartland Festival. Sinister Tombs in the 2011 Heartland Festival.

HARDIN COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - When you think of parades, floats, bands and fancy cars probably come to mind. A Hardin County man claims his group wanted to be a part of the Heartland Festival in the Park Parade in Elizabethtown this weekend but was turned away because they don't fit the festival image.

The Sinister Tombs Haunted House in Eastview says they haven't been able to take part in the parade that kicks off the festival since 2011. One of the main ways he gets the word out that his haunted house exists is through parades.

"We try to get in every parade we can," said Sinister Tombs Haunted House operator Marvin Skaggs. His haunted house has been around since 2001.

The Heartland Festival in the Park in Elizabethtown has been around for more than 30 years. The family friendly event draws thousands to Hardin County.

Skaggs says he promoted his haunted house at the parade from 2001 through 2011. He says his people have been dressed in their spooky costumes for years. In 2010, he said parade officials told him to tone down the scariness because some children at the parade got scared. He says he did.

"We had the devil riding back in the hearse and the undertaker that was the only scary costumes we had," said Skaggs.

Last year when Skaggs tried to take part in the parade, he says he was told he couldn't and the same thing happened this year. He shared a letter from parade officials that says his entry is too scary and doesn't promote the theme of the festival.

Skaggs says it's upsetting to him because money generated from the haunted house goes to upkeep and he gives back to local charities.

"We were down 500 people last year compared to year before," said Skaggs.

WAVE 3 News contacted Elizabethtown Events Coordinator Sarah Vaughn, she sent the following statement:

"The Sinister Tombs' parade entry was part of the Heartland Festival Parade in 2011. However, after the parade, the committee received several complaints from patrons that the entry scared children and many did not feel it was appropriate for a family friendly event held outside of Halloween. Therefore, in 2012 when the entry was received, the Parade Committee decided that the entry should be denied because it is too scary for a family friendly, non-Halloween, themed parade. We also ask our entries to coincide with the theme of the parade and this year's theme is "My Hometown." The committee and the City of Elizabethtown do not feel that this entry coincides with the theme. To my knowledge, the entry could be flexible with changes to be accepted, however, they would still include the scary characters or some type of tie-in to their haunted house in which they are promoting. The City of Elizabethtown offers Halloween themed events in October that the Sinister Tombs can be a part of." 

Skaggs says he even offered to have his group be dressed as super heroes and leave the scariness behind to be a part of the parade. He plans on appealing the decision.

To visit the festival's website, click here.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.