Press Releases

THP to Increase Patrols for Halloween

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; October 29, 2013:

NASHVILLE —The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott announced today that State Troopers will plan for increased patrols and conduct a variety of enforcement plans to help ensure a safe Halloween for citizens across the state.

Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate children are four times as likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween as any other day. NHTSA also noted that 52 percent of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night involve a drunk driver.

“We are urging motorists to pay attention to the road and don’t drive distracted or impaired. State Troopers will seek out and remove any aggressive or impaired drivers from our roadways to allow for a safe and happy Halloween,” Colonel Trott said.

Last year in Tennessee, three people were killed during the Halloween period between 6 p.m. on October 31 through 6 a.m., November 1. Two of those fatalities were alcohol-related. That compares to zero fatalities during the Halloween period in 2011.

As of October 28, there have been 66 pedestrian fatalities in Tennessee in 2013. That’s 15 more pedestrian deaths compared to this same time last year. The CDC reported that alcohol involvement – either for the driver or pedestrian – was reported in 47 percent of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities nationwide.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), 115 child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over a 21-year period (1990-2010). That is more than twice the average number of 2.6 fatalities on other days of the year. The study also concluded it was particularly dangerous between the hours of 6:00-7:00 p.m.

In 2012, state troopers issued 328 speeding citations and arrested 13 individuals on suspicion of drunk driving on October 31.

This Halloween, the THP will conduct bar and tavern checks, sobriety checkpoints, and seat belt saturations across the state. Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading this Halloween.


Tips for Motorists

  • Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.
  • Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
  • Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited and may not be paying attention.
  • Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
  • If you are driving to a Halloween party, put your mask on after you park the car.
  • Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.

Tips for Parents

  • Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their “trick or treat” activities.
  • Teach children to “stop, look left-right-left, and listen” before they cross the street.
  • Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
  • Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.
  • Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.
  • Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.

Tips for Pedestrians (children and adults)

  • Require children to wear retro-reflective materials and carry a flashlight at dawn and dusk and in other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.
  • Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.
  • Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.
  • Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
  • When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.
Press Releases

Gov’t Offers Safety, Health Suggestions as Halloween Approaches

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; October 9, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Pumpkins on the porch and chatter about costumes can only mean one thing: Halloween is fast approaching. As party goers and trick-or-treaters plan for a night of fun, the Tennessee Department of Health suggests spending a few minutes thinking about safety and health.

“What was once primarily a children’s holiday has now become an event celebrated by people of all ages,” said Michael Warren, MD, MPH, FAAP, TDH director of Family Health and Wellness. “We hope everyone enjoys a safe, fun evening, and to help make sure that happens, we’ve developed a checklist of best Halloween practices.”


  • Don’t risk eye damage by wearing decorative contact lenses. Users of these lenses may suffer serious infections and permanent damage to vision, particularly among those who don’t normally wear contacts. It is illegal in Tennessee to sell contacts without a prescription.
  • If your costume involves make-up, test it on a small area of your skin prior to Halloween to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction. Be sure to remove all makeup before going to bed.
  • Avoid costumes with masks that restrict vision.
  • Avoid long dresses or pants and oversized shoes that make it hard to walk.
  • Remember weather can change quickly; some costumes may not provide warmth needed for a chilly night.
  • Check costume labels to make sure all pieces are flame resistant.
  • Attach reflective tape or blinking lights to costumes.
  • Costume accessories such as swords, knives and similar items should be soft and flexible.


  • Be alert to dogs that may be protective of their homes or yards. Never give candy to a pet.
  • Walk on sidewalks facing oncoming road traffic.
  • Hold a flashlight, glow stick or similar lighting device.
  • Walk, never run, to avoid the risk of tripping.
  • Children should only enter homes if they are with a trusted adult; it’s best not to enter a stranger’s home, even if they invite you inside.
  • Don’t walk near luminary devices such as candles or open flames.
  • Walk in groups whenever possible.
  • Inspect treats for signs of tampering, eat only factory-wrapped treats and stay away from homemade items unless you know the giver. Be mindful some treats can cause choking or allergic reactions.
  • After trick-or-treating is done, parents should limit the amount that can be eaten daily.
  • Tell children if anyone tries to grab them to yell loudly and draw attention.


  • Leave pumpkin carving to an adult. Let young children draw faces on pumpkins with washable markers or child-friendly paint.
  • If you’re hosting, offer low-calorie foods emphasizing vegetables, fruits and cheeses, and limit sugary treats and beverages. If you insist on giving candy bars, go with the smallest ones available.
  • Remember if you’re hosting a party for adults and plan to have alcohol, make sure no one overindulges. While no one should ever drink and drive, impaired drivers and costumed children in the neighborhood are a particularly dangerous combination.
  • If you’re a party guest, enjoy food and beverage in moderation; calories can accumulate quickly. It’s best to eat a healthful meal before going to the party so you won’t graze on sweets or other calorie-laden treats.
  • Keep pets away from guests; even the most docile ones can become frightened and defensive among costumed revelers.
  • Instead of candy for party favors, consider toys, bags of pretzels, temporary tattoos, boxed raisins, trail mix, etc. Stay away from items that could cause choking if small children are invited.
  • If your child comes home with a bag of candy, consider offering to buy some from him or her. That could help combat weight gain and give a little one a fun lesson with earning money.

“The reason so many of us have good memories of childhood Halloween events is because our parents or other responsible adults looked out for us,” Warren said. “It’s time now for us to look out for others, making sure observers of all ages have a safe and healthy evening. With just a little extra thought and planning, we’ll generate some more positive memories this year.”