Chapel Hill celebrates Halloween on Franklin Street

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Thousands are descending upon Chapel Hill for its annual Halloween celebration.

Back in 2007, the event brought 80,000 people to Chapel Hill but town officials said they decided to pare things down because of safety.

"We heard people that said they were picked up by the crowd and could not move," said Ran Northam, spokesman for the Town of Chapel Hill. "If someone were to be injured in the crowd, they wouldn't be able to get out and we wouldn't be able to get to them."

After 2007, the town focused on making this a hometown, more local event.

"We shut down the charter buses that were bringing people in from all over the state," Northam said. "Buses came in with students from ECU and App State and everywhere in between."

Barricades went up early in Chapel Hill Wednesday night and parking enforcement were handing out tickets starting at 6 p.m.

Two hundred police officers from a variety of jurisdictions outside Chapel Hill are helping keep revelers safe as well.

"People have seen this as a tradition," Northam said. "They say, 'We want to come downtown and people-watch.' It's people looking at other people's costumes and seeing what new and exciting things they're able to do this year."

The Town of Chapel Hill is expecting numbers to be on par or even smaller than last year since Halloween is during the week.

In 2017, 15,000 people came to Franklin Street. Officials said only two people were checked out for alcohol-related issues. In 2014, nearly 80 were treated

While some students said they were staying away, others said this is the place to be for Halloween.

"It's when you pull out all the stops," said Isabel Trumbull, a UNC senior, who was dressed David Bowie. "You've got your best costumes. You should keep an eye out for my friends who are dressing as a neighborhood. Dressing up as houses and being not your quintessential sexy female costumes. Then you have the polar opposite of it and somebody will probably be out in basically underwear."
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.