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Halloween Display Catching Family In Web Of Controversy

COLLEYVILLLE (CBSDFW.COM) - The election season and Halloween have been joined together in a yard display that is drawing attention in Colleyville.

The display features spiders big enough for a human to ride on. Spiderwebs cover much of the front yard. The scariest element though, may be the political and racial overtones some are conferring.

This is the sixth year Melissa Cruson and her husband Glenn have built an elaborate display for Halloween. And this year they decided to include what they called a political and financial circus.

Caught in a giant spider web strung between two trees are likenesses of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is wearing a clown suit and Obama has a red nose and large bow tie.

Colleyville Obama Hanging

Signs with national debt settlement numbers are posted around the web. Mitt Romney appears on the back of a giant spider. He's the man the Crusons say they hope can lead the nation out of the political and financial circus they are trying to portray.

"It has nothing to do with the office, the person that's in the office of the president; nothing to do with the color, anything like that," said Melissa Cruson. "It's just the whole arena is just out of control."

But reaction has been more critical in the three days the display has been up.

Some people have commented the president appears to be hanging, but Cruson said he's just caught in the web.

The family said while no one has contacted them directly, they've seen emails and blog posts that perceive the display as disrespectful and that there is a racial element to the display because the president appears to be hanging.

"It's the web," Cruson said. "It had nothing to do with the tree at all."

The family started building display like theses because they thought it would be entertaining to kids who attend Colleyville Elementary across the street. It has included other popular topics in past seasons, including a crashed car referencing texting and driving, and the popular mobile phone game Angry Birds.

The Crusons hope is the display entertains and sparks conversation, something they feel people are reluctant to have anymore.

In 2008, Obama was also featured in the web, along with Hillary Clinton. Joe the Plumber made an appearance too, with a sign that referenced a 'Web of Lies.' It didn't receive the criticism that has been leveled this year. The attention Cruson said has turned what started as entertainment, and a political statement, into a free speech issue now too.

2008 Colleyville Display

"I just think it's important to show it's our right, to free speech," she said. "I don't want that squashed and I'm afraid it's being squashed by both sides."

The Crusons say despite the controversy, their display is staying up, and recently sent a letter to friends and family

Dear friends,

We have sat back and observed the unexpected and overwhelming response to our annual Halloween display. We have given two interviews to ensure that our message was clear, as it appeared to be getting lost and misinterpreted. We understand that some will continue to criticize no matter what we say. We've been through every emotion as we watched this story unfold. Today, we are at peace, standing firm, and with no apologies.

We have read through most of the comments posted on the various sites, some hurtful, but overall supportive. For people to see this as a hanging of our president in effigy is truly appauling and heartbreaking. We sincerely want that message to stop, as clearly it is not what we are trying to portray here. Our message is simple, our current government is a "circus". Spending is out of control, bankruptcies are ruining thousands, our nation is drowning in debt, and countless of Americans are out of work. Our personal hope is that Mitt Romney may be able to help. The End. There are no hidden racial undertones, there is no intended disrespect, hate, or underlying message behind our display. We are not people that create or search for ways to offend others.

We are proud of the fact that this display, itself, has seemed to ignite a fire in many Americans that appears to have simmered over the past few years. Sadly, to us, it seems that the American attitude has somewhat shifted towards "it's my way or the highway" for many that are bold enough in their attempt to silence others and their beliefs. Men and women have died and are dying daily so that every person has their place here in America and is allowed to be represented. By not allowing someone to share their beliefs, in our opinion, is such a failure on our part to these military men and women who sacrifice everything for us. We have very dear friends from every race, culture, religion, and lifestyle and we strive honor those differences and teach our daughters to do the same. As for the display receiving criticism for being placed across from an elementary school; these children are our future. May it spark conversations within families that otherwise may have never been discussed, may it be used to inform and teach children to stand up for themselves, what they believe in, and to respect other's opinions as well. If in some small way, by this display receiving the national attention that it has can bring any sort of halt to the silencing of anyone, we would be proud and thankful to be a part of that. May God continue His countless blessings on this great country and help us to heal.

Glen and Melissa Cruson

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