Local News

Chapel Hill leaders: Stay away on Halloween

Posted October 16, 2009 3:03 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2009 7:27 p.m. EDT

— If you don't live in town, Chapel Hill town leaders want you to stay away from Franklin Street on Halloween.

Town leaders will again limit parking and close streets to create a smaller, more "homegrown" celebration. Chief Brian Curran said Friday that the ultimate goal is to shrink the crowd to approximately 10,000 to 15,000 people, though he doesn't think that mark will be reached this year.

"If you can walk to Halloween, then you are invited. If you have to drive, don't come," Mayor Kevin Foy said. "There's nowhere to park. There's no buses. There's no way to get around, and you won't have a good time."

In past years, the large crowd has required hundreds of officers to be on patrol and hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for clean-up, security and other costs.

When Chapel Hill first implemented the new policies in 2008, attendance dropped by more than half to 35,000.

To keep non-locals away, roads around Franklin Street will be closed, downtown parking will be almost non-existent, and barricades will block non-residents from adjoining neighborhoods. No shuttle buses will run downtown, and charter buses will be allowed to drop off passengers only on the outskirts of the town.

On Franklin Street, bars and restaurants will close their doors to new patrons and stop serving alcohol at 1 a.m. The venues will charge a $5 cover fee.

Chapel Hill also won't recognize the time change that weekend – which means that 1 a.m. will not be considered midnight. That extra hour of partying won't be allowed.

The goal, Curran said, is to improve public safety. Last year, with the new method, arrests and alcohol-related health problems were down.

The spread of H1N1 is an additional concern this year, town leaders said. Sick people should stay home.