Montgomery County not thrilled about Halloween display in Silver - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Montgomery County not thrilled about Halloween display in Silver Spring

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SILVER SPRING, Md. -

The Haunted Garden on Worth Avenue is a major production -- a giant spider, 18-foot witch, skeletons and pumpkins. For five days during the Halloween season since 2010, it has been the scariest haunted yard in Silver Spring.

But the homeowner who hosts the free annual event has been hauled into District Court by Montgomery County officials. They say Donna Kerr is using the event to promote her business, Pure Energy Real Estate.

She has sent out hundreds of mailings on her business stationery inviting people to the Haunted Garden. But Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services Director Diane Schwartz Jones says that makes it a commercial event and she needs a permit.

Jones also points out the event draws thousands of people and makes for congestion on streets so narrow that emergency vehicles can't get through. And in past years, police and transportation officials have had to go there to deal with traffic problems.

Kerr denies that she is trying to promote her business, though she acknowledges she is trying to give back to the community which has supported her. She has launched a petition drive and says more than a hundred people have signed to try to save the Haunted Garden.

A judge has issued a temporary restraining order telling Kerr to change Pure Energy's website and her Facebook pages to notify people that her event has been canceled.

It is a matter that gets a full formal hearing Tuesday in court.

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