Chapel Hill, N.C. — 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."