“It’s going too far!”, A stabbed doll in a Halloween toy store

The scene shocked. In a store in Denderleeuw (Flanders), a doll representing a bloodied and stabbed child appeared at the entrance of the sign. The goal for ‘Dreamland’: to immerse customers in the Halloween atmosphere. But faced with the grumbling of some customers, the store backed down.

“We have no words for this image that can be seen at Dreamland. Plus, it’s a great store for children!”, writes an alerter via the orange Alert us button. He joined us to this message the following photo.

A doll of a child stabbed in the back. This is the decoration imagined by the ‘Dreamland’ toy store. The Halloween tradition comes from the United States. It is more and more visible in our stores. The creation imagined by ‘Dreamland’ aimed to immerse customers in the Halloween atmosphere. But the scene was viewed negatively.

Does it really exist? Is it really a showcase?

When we take the cliché in the streets, the reactions are almost unanimous. “Honestly, it’s a little creepy“, loose a woman in the streets of Namur. A passer-by adds:”We are doing more and more. What’s embarrassing is that he’s a kid with a knife stuck in his back.“A mother deplores:”It’s morbid for morbid. It goes too far. “Finally one last wonders: “Does it really exist? Is it really a showcase?”

Faced with strong reactions from several customers, the brand backed down. She reacted by press release:

“We allow and even encourage our sales associates to decorate the store in order to immerse customers in the mood of the moment, Halloween in this case. And although we have quite a few rather gloomy products on our shelves – that is is the very principle of Halloween – we have to admit that the decoration of the Denderleeuw store was not appropriate. We asked our collaborators to modify it. We naturally apologize to all customers who could have been shocked by the scene. The intention was good, not the manner. “

Verification done, the stabbed doll has been removed:


Playing on violence and fear for Halloween seems like a habit. Jean-Claude Jouret holds a doctorate in communication and a professor of marketing at Ihecs. He analyses : “By dint of going further, we arrive at a moment when we exceed the limits. It is a little bit the problem of advertising communication to retain the attention it is necessary to surprise, but since we are invaded by advertising publications. The surprise comes from trying to go a little further each time. “


The Dreamland brand had already been pinned in 2017 for another advertisement.


A reservation notice had been issued by the Jury of Advertising Ethics. Jean-Claude Jouret adds: “The context of Halloween does not explain or excuse this type of communication. You have to have a communication, much deeper before getting into it. Even if we know that Halloween sometimes unleashes inordinate passions. You really have to put it in context. Halloween okay, but we talk to kids. You have to be careful..”

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