Many cemeteries look for ways to bring the community to their properties, as both outreach and as a way to raise funds for the cemetery. Some cemeteries provide historic tours, even “ghost tours,” while others use their space for more day-to-day events, such as offering yoga classes. One cemetery, however, has garnered some negative backlash from its offered movie night.
Restlawn Memorial Park, located in Wausau, Wisconsin, has scheduled a movie night at their location on August 11th. The feature? The classic comedy 1984 film Ghostbusters. The event is free to the public and will be set outdoors in a section of the cemetery where no one is buried (near their mausoleum at the rear of the property).
Owner Christine Toson Hentges explains that the event is meant to be a positive event and help bring the community together. She also hopes that this will dispel the stereotypes that cemeteries are scary places. “‘It’s a trend at cemeteries to hold these types of events,’ she said. ‘It represents that a cemetery is a vital part of the community,’ (Planned, Schulte).” Hentges owns another cemetery in Milwaukee and has had a film viewing there, as well, and she says the event went over very well, and provides a safe place for locals to enjoy the outdoors.
Not everyone is pleased though about the film viewing at Restlawn Memorial Park.
Family members of loved ones interred at Restlawn have expressed their anger over the film viewing being disrespectful, both to those interred and their families. A Facebook group called, “You Know You’re From WAUSAU, WI If…” has received more than a 140 comments about the viewing, ranging from how disrespectful the viewing is to those supporting the event.
As of today, the showing of Ghostbusters is scheduled for Friday, August 11 at dusk. Attendees should bring their own blankets and chairs. The event is free.