Chapel Hill police to end Halloween bash early
Posted October 15, 2010 5:47 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2010 6:59 p.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — To keep a lid on Chapel Hill's annual Halloween party, police said Friday that they would try to open Franklin Street to traffic by 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
The bash had attracted up to 80,000 before local officials began scaling the event back two years ago for safety reasons. Last year, about 50,000 people attended the street party.
Town officials said they plan to use some of the same strategies this year that they employed in 2008 and 2009 to keep the crowds manageable:
- Buses won't operate from area park-and-ride lots to downtown.
- Streets will be closed around the downtown area, so there won't be a place to park near Franklin Street.
- Restaurants and bars will close to new patrons at 1 a.m., and they will impose a $5 cover charge for people not attending a private event.
Police said the restrictions are necessary because of worries about binge drinking and gang activity with large crowds.
Also, the town has shelled out as much as $230,000 a year for expenses like extra police officers and EMS workers to handle the Halloween crowds.
The Halloween weekend will be a busy one in Chapel Hill. The University of North Carolina will have its homecoming celebration on Saturday, Oct. 30.