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Franklin Street invaded by ghoulish grown-ups

Upward of 75,000 people were expected to have crowded Chapel Hill's Franklin Street during its annual Halloween bash.

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Chapel Hill was under siege Wednesday night. Upward of 75,000 people were expected to have crowded Franklin Street during its annual Halloween bash.

Hair-raising rabble-rousers were warned; a large police presence was keeping watch.

“This is not something that we typically would enjoy. I think any large crowd event poses some concerns, and some stresses on police personnel as well,” Lt. Kevin Gunter, of the Chapel Hill Police Department, said.

Like last year's party, Chapel Hill police had help from nearly 400 officers, from other jurisdictions, to keep ghosts and goblins in check.

“Obviously, we want to keep out weapons, flammable items," Lt. Gunter said. "We will not tolerate bonfires during Halloween."

When the bewitching hour came, Franklin Street changed from a bustling commercial strip steeped in academia to a ghoulish freak show.

“It's a massive amount of people, so something will go wrong, but I don't expect to have that much trouble this year,” restaurant owner Hany Moaty said.

“It's so exciting. It's my first year, so it's something new. Everyone talking about it is so excited," UNC freshman Nicoya Langley said.

“Everybody is doing something crazy. Everybody has got crazy costumes with crazy stuff going on. So, I'm really excited to see the costumes," UNC freshman Lauren Fortkort said.

The festival ran from 9 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. Alcohol was not be permitted, and all state and local laws pertaining to alcohol were enforced.

Town ordinances and state statutes prohibited the following items in the closed area:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Glass bottles
  • Fireworks and explosives
  • Animals
  • Weapons
  • Paint
  • Flammable substances
  • Coolers

Last year, an estimated 70,000 people showed up for the Halloween celebration. Twenty-seven people were arrested or cited during the event.