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Club Apologizes For KKK Costume

November 4, 1997

SAYBROOK, Ill. (AP) _ The local Lions Club apologized for awarding first prize in a Halloween costume contest to a girl in Ku Klux Klan robes.

``The incident of last Friday Halloween is unfortunate and the club regrets any offense to any individual or groups,″ the Lions said in a statement.

People at the contest said 14-year-old Virginia Payne’s outfit featured swastikas and the phrases ``Kill them all″ and ``White Power.″

``It was disgusting,″ said Charity Snyder, who attended with her children. ``It sent a bad message to the kids and everyone else.″

Saybrook is a town of nearly 760 people about 110 miles southwest of Chicago.

Virginia said her costume was inspired by a TV show about the Holocaust and actually was meant as a statement against racism. She said that beneath the KKK hood, her eyes were crossed out to indicate death and a teardrop was painted on her cheek in sympathy for Hitler’s victims.

``It was a very bad time in a society, and it should never have happened. Nazism is bad, and so is KKK,″ she told WJBC-AM radio in Bloomington. ``I didn’t go as a Nazi. I went as a dead Nazi.″