Chapel Hill encourages smaller Halloween event, won't block off streets
Posted October 26, 2021 1:29 p.m. EDT
Updated October 26, 2021 1:39 p.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — For the first time in years, Franklin Street will not be closed to traffic on Halloween night.
Town officials have announced that the street will remain open, as large crowds are not encouraged to gather due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
In previous years, Franklin Street has been packed with as many as 80,000 costumed revelers. The town dubbed the event "Homegrown Halloween" in 2008 in an effort to reduce crowd sizes to only Chapel Hill residents.
After nearly a decade, the town changed the name to "Halloween on Franklin Street" and put in place additional measures to reduce outside attendance. Changes included traffic restrictions in downtown and adding public safety officers and alcohol checkpoints.
Town officials said that this year roads would be closed only if crowds were large enough to make motor vehicle traffic unsafe. Officials said roads would not be closed before 8 p.m. Sunday night and would be reopened no later than 9:30 p.m.
Officers from Chapel Hill, UNC-Chapel Hill and Carrboro police departments and Orange County Sheriff's office will be downtown on Halloween looking for prohibited items including open containers of alcohol, weapon and items that look like or could be used as weapons.
“Our goal this year is to encourage our community to find safe ways to celebrate Halloween that don’t include gathering in our downtown,“ Chapel Hill Police Chief and Executive Director for Community Safety Chris Blue said.