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Chilling Halloween decoration prompts concerned neighbor to call police

One Tennessee family may have gone overboard with their pre-Halloween display.
/ Source: TODAY

It's not even October, but one eager family's Halloween decoration is so spooky, it prompted local law enforcement to intervene.

A driveway display created by a resident of Greeneville, Tennesee scared at least one passerby so much that he dialed 911 — reporting to local authorities what at first appeared to be a tragic accident ... or a brutal murder.

The decoration, which has since gone viral, features a headless-body in a driveway, with legs splayed outward, to give the appearance of someone being decapitated by a closed garage door. Fake bloody markings stain the white wooden panels, completing the gruesome scene.

In response to concerned callers, the Greene County Sheriff's Department posted a message to their official Facebook page, along with a photo snapped by a responding officer: "ATTENTION EVERYONE!!! For those of you driving on Chuckey Pike in Greene County: THIS IS A HALLOWEEN DECORATION! Do NOT call 911 reporting a dead body. Instead, congratulate the homeowner on a great display."

The post has since been shared over 9,800 times and the department reiterated to commenters that a 911 call "caused them to go to the home and investigate."

Officer David Love of the Greene County Sheriff's Department told TODAY that he "wasn't sure how many" people have called in to report on, or complain about, the decoration, but he did clarify that it is not being treated as a malicious act.

"This wasn’t a prank, it was just a Halloween display that somebody put out as a decoration in front of their house," Love said. "People saw it and freaked out."

The Lovergines, the family behind the tissue paper-stuffed dummy body, put up the decoration more than a month ahead of the actual holiday for added spooks and scares. They told local TV station WJHL that they live for Halloween.

Joseph Lovergine told WJHL that his family always likes to get an early start on their Halloween decorating. But this year, he realized the display may have been too over-the-top when police pounded on his door and he saw several deputies posted outside earlier this week.

“I thought it looked so real and so fun and I hope people don’t take offense,” Lovergine added.

More than 400 comments on the sheriff department's page reveal mixed feelings about the display. They range from sheer joy to total fear. Some have praised the display as being "impressive," "brilliant," and even "funny." While others say the display isn't appropriate for young children and, given the time of year, it's just "too soon" for such decor.

Commenter Anita Eure summed up her mixed feelings, posting, "It is a great decoration for Halloween, not bringing in the first day of fall."

So if you happen to be in the Greeneville area before Oct. 31, watch out for any bloody-looking driveways.