Local News

Hillsborough St. won't be Franklin St. East on Halloween

Posted October 28, 2008 3:56 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2008 9:49 p.m. EDT

— With Chapel Hill officials cracking down on Halloween revelers this year, Raleigh officials said Tuesday they don't want the crowds that usually haunt Franklin Street in Chapel Hill to move to Hillsborough Street in the Capital City.

More than 3,000 North Carolina State University students and Raleigh residents celebrated Halloween last year during the first organized Haunted Hike along Hillsborough Street. Even more people are expected Friday night, and businesses are preparing for the event by decorating and hiring extra security.

City officials don't endorse the event and have no plans to close any streets to traffic to make way for revelers. City Manager Russell Allen said officials don't want the problems that have plagued Halloween celebrations in Chapel Hill.

More than 80,000 people crammed Franklin Street last year for the annual Halloween bash, and the town spent about $221,000 for security, cleanup, crowd control, emergency medical care and other expenses.

Merchants in Chapel Hill said they weren't really fans of the Halloween event, with many noting in a recent survey that their businesses have been damaged by the crowds.

The feedback prompted Chapel Hill officials to try to scale back this year's event. They plan to restrict nearby parking and not provide shuttle buses from remote park-and-ride lots. Bars and convenience stores also have agreed to stop selling alcohol at 1 a.m., an hour earlier than normal.

"The Hillsborough Street hike is an unofficial event. It's not supported by the city at all," Allen said. "We want to make sure that (a Franklin Street-type event) does not take place. (There will be) no official organizers of such an event, and no one is encouraging such an event."

Still, the Raleigh Police Department and the N.C. State campus police plan to step up patrols to maintain order.

"With the downturn in (Halloween on) Franklin Street, we expect them to come to downtown and Hillsborough Street," N.C. State Police Chief John Younce said.

The university plans to help Raleigh keep a lid on the festivities by closing off campus parking to anyone without the proper permits, Younce said.

"We're not there to squash the fun. We're here to make sure people have a good time and protect them," he said.