Local News

22,000 pack Franklin Street for Chapel Hill's Halloween bash

Posted October 31, 2012
Updated November 1, 2012

— Approximately 22,000 people flocked to Chapel Hill's Franklin Street Wednesday night for the town's annual Halloween bash, despite cold temperatures and a forecast of frost overnight.

Halloween Images: 2012 Homegrown Halloween

The fifth annual "Homegrown Halloween" celebration started in 2008 to keep crowd sizes manageable.

Streets were cleared by 11:45 p.m. and the two-block area of Franklin Street reopened to traffic around 12:45 a.m.

"As long as they don't close it a 9 o'clock, it is still Halloween," UNC freshman Brandon Boone said. "Everyone knows to go to Franklin and hang out."

One man was arrested around 10 p.m. for going through a checkpoint without stopping. Police didn't release his name, but he was charged with resist, obstruct and delay.

Halloween cuties Your 2012 Halloween photos

Orange County Emergency Medical Services responded to five calls – four of them related to alcohol and one having to do with a cut resulting from a fall, police said.

In previous years, the Halloween celebration attracted enormous – and sometimes unruly – 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.

"They realize it is for us, they are trying to keep it safe for all the students," freshman Patrick Mooney said of the more subdued celebration.

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.

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


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  • CAROLINA43 Nov 1, 2012

    Since when do students (who pay no Chapel Hill taxes) start calling Franklin Street as "theirs"? Want to stop the problems? DON'T ALLOW THE EVENT. How simple is that???? Oh...wait... That means that the bars would make no money. Silly me. --- Relic

    Exactly...silly you...(burrrrrp)!!!!

  • Relic Nov 1, 2012

    Since when do students (who pay no Chapel Hill taxes) start calling Franklin Street as "theirs"? Want to stop the problems? DON'T ALLOW THE EVENT. How simple is that???? Oh...wait... That means that the bars would make no money. Silly me.

  • dwntwnboy Nov 1, 2012

    "If you're not a student, stay away and let the kids have fun"- if they want it "student only", then they need to have it ON campus, not on a PUBLIC street where the PUBLIC (who paid for that street mind you) can attend as well. Until then, it's a PUBLIC event.

  • ellengraham5660 Nov 1, 2012

    You couldn't have paid me to get mixed in that garbage pit.

  • GravyPig Nov 1, 2012

    "People are putting up with Police checkpoints, being molested by TSA, and now the police coming by your house with drug dogs as routine. The Tv has killed the Patriot in many of us my friend."

    Police check points? You mean DWI check points? I don't know of any gestapo style check points.

    TSA agents ..... ok, not going to touch that as they do seem to behave poorly.

    Police coming by with drug sniffing dogs ans sniffing your house? What in the wild world of sports are you talking about?

  • wyheel Nov 1, 2012

    And it all started the night that the drinking age changed from 18 to 21, which was on Oct. 31, 1982. A wild night indeed.

  • Smokin Nov 1, 2012

    22,000 PACK? Not hardly. Not even the entire student body. FWIW, I am a UNC alum and enjoyed my time on Franklin Street at Halloween. If the event had stayed just a student one, there wouldn't have been the problems the town saw in the past. If you're not a student, stay away and let the kids have fun.

  • Heelpir8 Nov 1, 2012

    readme: Chapel Hill doesn't want the "biggest Halloween bash" in the country. It used to cost taxpayers (who weren't the ones going downtown) hundreds of thousands of dollars. The largest portion being the police and equipment brought in from all over central NC that were needed to manage the huge numbers. And those costs are not recovered by letting tens of thousands of drunken revelers roam Franklin Street for a few hours. It could never be in the Town's interest to let that happen. The "out of control government" claims are silly in this case.

  • wisdomb4beauty Nov 1, 2012

    I thought Franklin Street had a wild Halloween party night, but I was in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii last night for their Halloween celebration on Front Street and I've never seen so many people dressed up for Halloween in one spot--in my life. Likely the whole island of Maui was there. This is a huge event for them every year. And they didn't disappoint the spectators who came out to watch. The costumes were so much fun and very original/unique indeed. My only thoughts were "OMG" as everyone walked along Front Street showing off their Halloween spirit. It was quite the experience for sure. I have some amazing ideas for "dressing up for Halloween" next year back home. Aloha to everyone back in the Triangle!

  • puzzled Nov 1, 2012

    One thing I have learned for sure from this site is that people CANNOT be pleased. If something had gone wrong her and someone had gotten hurt or killed, these same people would be compaaining about the lack of police involvement/interaction. Folks, you can't have it both ways. We either have police doing their job or we don't. Where I live the police were walking the streets and riding in their vehicles and did their job in an excellent fashion and I really appreciate them. I don't appreciate people who act and talk like -----. I like to have a good time, keep my senses as mine and not that of some cragy substance. So I have no fear of police. I like them. Send them all to our town and you all continue to be the place of your reputation.