Chapel Hill celebrates Halloween

November 1, 2009 10:02:00 AM PST
Police in Chapel Hill have re-opened Franklin Street, after the thousands of peopel who came for the town's annual Halloween bash slowly headed home.UNC freshman Kevin Hines waited to the last minute to pick up his costume. He says expected his first Halloween on Franklin Street to be a scream.

"I'm expecting a big party, some crazy costumes, and a good time," Hines said.

Fun is fine, the Town says, but yet again, authorities hoped for a scaled-back celebration, pushing for what they're calling "Hometown Halloween."

"If you don't live within walking distance of this place, don't try to come," said Chief Brian Curran of the Chapel Hill Police Department.

"The curfew is probably swaying people away from coming just because if they're out of town it's kind of difficult to get here a decent amount of time before that," said Cameron Rifkin, a UNC freshman.

Police hoped for a crowd of about 35,000, but officials say about 50,000 people showed up.

For those who did try, it was hard to get in. There was little to no parking downtown, and there were no shuttle or park-and-ride buses running. Many streets were closed or at least restricted to one lane.

But those closures didn't last until the wee hours. The streets were cleared of people at around 12:30 a.m. and were opened to traffic just before 2 a.m., after being cleaned by Town crews.

Work crews tore down loose paper and emptied garbage cans, hoping to remove much of what could be set on fire.

There were about 300 officers at the festivities from several different agencies trying to keep the peace.

Authorities say one person was arrested for an assault that occurred in the closed area, but few details about what exactly happened have been released.

Officials also say emergency crews were called out to the area 22 times and eight people were transported to UNC Hospitals. Eighteen of the calls were related to intoxication.

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