October 12, 2016 – Canada’s Home Depot stores were feeling the wrong kind of Halloween spirit according to one Toronto-area resident who found something disturbing on a recent trip to the home improvement giant. A $29 window decoration called the “Scary Peeper Creeper” consists of a ghoulish face that adheres to the surface of a window as it peers through the glass. The mother of two, Breanne Hunt-Wells, was not amused. She told a local news reporter she found the display distasteful, charging that the product: “makes light of predatory behavior against women.” She went on to argue:
“Racial jokes, cultural jokes. It takes some talking and thinking to realize that maybe we need to be more sensitive. The people that commit this crime are not harmless people.
In response, the retailer apologized to Hunt-Wells and issued a public statement expressing regret for its decision to offer the product:
“We agree that this is not in line with our core values, and when we heard, took immediate action and are currently in the process of removing this product from our assortment.”
The North Carolina-based husband & wife manufacturers of the Halloween-themed item expressed similar feelings of remorse saying to Fortune magazine:
“Our intention for this product is for it to be used as a fun-spirited prank. We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who has been offended by our products, and certainly, to those who have been victimized by voyeurs.”
The Peeping Tom-plaything struck a cord with some Canadians, evoking an infamous serial murderer. Despite the eerie connection, some on social media felt the recall was an overreaction.
Controversy notwithstanding, the makers of the decoration insist the response has been overwhelmingly positive:
“The support we have received from all around the world has reinforced that the vast majority of people see and use our products as intended. We cannot stress enough that there is absolutely no malicious or ill-intent on our part.”
While the complaints resulted in the product being pulled from shelves in Home Depot’s Canadian outlets, the Scary Peeper Creeper is still available for sale online and at the store’s other North American locations.