Local News

Chapel Hill hopes to curb attendance at annual Halloween bash

Posted October 31, 2012

— Chapel Hill town leaders are hoping to curb attendance at its annual Halloween party on Franklin Street.

Chapel Hill Live view: Chapel Hill Robocam

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.

Halloween cuties Your 2012 Halloween photos

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 adjusted bus schedules for Wednesday, closed some streets leading to downtown and reduced lanes on others about 9 p.m., as crowds began to make their way onto the street. 

No special parking is available for the event, and shuttles were 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  last week 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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  • North Carolina Home Oct 31, 2012

    "There is nothing wrong with wanting to create a safer environment for those that attend." abc85

    Safe from whom? Those people that are not like "us"?

  • TVs_Deceit Oct 31, 2012

    Heelpir8: "Halloween used to cost the Town hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage..It was a massive drain on resources for a single night" - So? I thought Liberals were all about Government taking money from taxpayers and spending it. What's the difference here? Chapel Hill Liberals don't want Government to take THEIR money? It's still going to cost a boatload of money.. but they're going to keep certain elements out.. i.e. people not from Chapel Hill.. namely people from Durham they don't like in their neighborhood. That's the bottom line. It's not the money.. it's a certain type of people the Liberals in Chapel Hill don't want in town. Not in THEIR town anyway.

  • stevee2 Oct 31, 2012

    That's too funny Keeter.

  • babscash Oct 31, 2012

    There is nothing wrong with keeping the crowds down You don't put 20 people in a 10 person elevator. Something goes wrong...something bad is going to happen. Why do 18-21 year old kids want to take over the town. Does Chapel Hill want to be known for the town to go for drinking!! Let the small kids have fun and have memories to share.

  • smegma Oct 31, 2012

    "Fresh Beat Band at the downtown amphitheater anyone?"

    LOL actually we took our kid to that and it sucked just as much as the adult concerts. NO UMBRELLAS ALLOWED even in the back where no one is behind you, while it's raining. but buy our $5 plastic bag ponchos right this way

  • dirkdiggler Oct 31, 2012

    i, for one, am tired of people comparing everything under the sun to Hitler's regime. How can you compare the Holocaust to a town wanting to induce crowd control in order to keep massive numbers of citizens safe during a huge party consisting of nearly double the town's population?

  • Heelpir8 Oct 31, 2012

    The bottom line is that each Chapel Hill Halloween used to cost the Town hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage. The largest chunk of it being the police and equipment had to be brought in from all over central North Carolina. And the taxpaying residents who were footing the bill weren't even the ones going downtown because young and incredibly drunk strangers were packing streets. It was a massive drain on resources for a single night. Suggestions that the Town is just a bunch of fun-sucking closet diversity haters are silly.

  • TVs_Deceit Oct 31, 2012

    Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill has a capacity of almost 63,000 people. INSIDE a relatively small area.

    Try again Liberals.. it's not the NUMBER of people.. it's the TYPE of people they want to keep out.

    Hypocritical Liberals as usual.. diversity is demanded unless it's in THEIR backyard.

  • North Carolina Home Oct 31, 2012

    "the same crowd that they would force others to deal with.....pure liberalism" Gunny

    Yes, the same liberal elitists as their neighbor, John "Two Americas" Edwards.

  • shellrocks2000 Oct 31, 2012

    "Better idea: have the town embrace the event, start selling VIP wrist bands for special seating, bring in corporate sponsors, and hire the same lame bands Raleigh does for the fireworks. Event dies off in two years tops.
    Mo Blues"

    You are right, have the town work with the local business and capatilize the extra revenue. Turn the event into something positive for everyone to do. Not sure on the lame bands though lol