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Chapel Hill lays out plans for Halloween bash

Posted October 24, 2012
Updated October 31, 2012

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— Chapel Hill town leaders laid out their plans Wednesday for next week's annual Halloween party on Franklin Street.

This year marks the fifth "Homegrown Halloween" celebration in Chapel Hill, which started in 2008 in an effort to keep crowd sizes down on Halloween.

In previous years, Halloween on Franklin Street attracted enormous crowds.

In 2007, there were approximately 82,000 people – more than the town's population of 54,000 – which caused public safety concerns downtown, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus and in nearby neighborhoods.

An estimated 27,000 people attended last year's event as part of the town's effort to cut down on the number of people celebrating and to cut down on how long the festivities last.

The town is planning to adjust bus schedules for Wednesday and will close some streets leading to downtown and reduce lanes on others, beginning at 9 p.m.

There will be no special-event parking, and shuttles will be out of service.

Downtown bars and restaurants will close at 1 a.m. to new customers and will also charge a minimum $5 cover charge for those not attending a private event. Stores that sell alcohol will also close or stop selling at 1 a.m.

Alcohol, weapons, paint, fireworks, animals and other items are prohibited.

More details and further information about the event is available on the town's website.

Police Chief Chris Blue said Wednesday that the strategy to reduce the number of people on Franklin Street is working. For example, three years ago, police arrested 20 people; last year, they only arrested three.

In a perfect world, Blue said, the event would go back to the way it was 25 years ago.

"People brought their children downtown, trick-or-treated in our local businesses and went home without us having to close our streets," he said. "I don't know if we'll ever get back to that goal, but it certainly seems like a worthwhile goal."


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  • aetius476 Oct 26, 2012

    "although it is funny that such a progressive and tolerant town of all peoples would make a yearly statement telling fellow Americans to stay out of their town." - Dan Cooper

    If 80,000 people showed up to trash your town, vandalize, and cause mayhem, and then leave you with the clean-up, repair and LE tab every year, you might feel different.

    Just like the spring Apple Chill festival, outside criminal elements came into town and turned nice, family, local events into violent, unsafe liabilities.

  • Objective Scientist Oct 26, 2012

    I've been in Chapel Hill for several decades - first as a student, subsequently living/working in Chapel Hill - a great place to live and work for many reasons. The "quality of life" in Chapel Hill has not been-will not be diminished to the slightest degree by actions to control "Halloween-on-Franklin St." Starting out as a truly local "fun" event, it had become a true "Nightmare on Franklin" event for the town. Chapel Hill was supporting financially and logistically a HUGE annual party for ANYONE who wanted to come on Oct 31st. It subsequently went far beyond the safe-fun event that was its beginning. Sure... you can complain about people - including me - being a fun-spoiling, "Party-P_oper", but the reality was that the "party" had reached a point of being "uncontrollable" and the potential for serious harm to both persons and property was nearing a "flash-point", not to mention the financial burden on the town. What is being done - absolutely HAD TO BE DONE!

  • lopo Oct 25, 2012

    Come on last few time a certain culture turned up looting and commiting violent crimes overwhelming law enforcement. Report the truth.

  • dwntwnboy Oct 25, 2012

    Just like the ECU Halloween USED to be- until so many trouble makers came and ruined it for everyone. Chapel Hill used to be THE place to go after they stopped Halloween in Greenville...now they have made it hardly worth the drive. The Zombie takeover of dwntwn Raleigh on Saturday sounds like it could be fun- at least there is parking and you won't be packed in like sardines under heavy guard.

  • Roland K. Oct 25, 2012

    Dan: you are full of contradictions. This is America, you can go where you please.

  • Dan Cooper Oct 25, 2012

    Horrible traffic, serious lack of parking, snobby locals and several unsolved violent crimes, you don't have to tell me twice to stay out of Chapel Hill, although it is funny that such a progressive and tolerant town of all peoples would make a yearly statement telling fellow Americans to stay out of their town.