Let future revelers fully enjoy Halloween

Monday night was most likely the last time I’ll ever see the crazy sights that come with a Chapel Hill Halloween.

But it’s not just Halloween — the past few days have brought a lot of “lasts.” While it’s probably too early to be getting all nostalgic, I just can’t ignore some of them.

Because I’m going home for Thanksgiving, our blowout win over Wake Forest was the last home football game I’ll ever attend as a student. And with registration Tuesday, I’m now beginning to figure out the final one or two classes to round out my last semester.

But those are the things I know I’m going to miss. Halloween brings more mixed emotions.

I’ll pass on the roving groups of men in loincloths or French maid outfits in the future. A normal day brings plenty of man-thigh from the fraternity crowd.

And depending on where my life takes me after graduation, Monday night was probably the last time I’ll see someone in a pinstripe suit sensually taking off a stripper’s bra — at least when it’s a girl in the suit and a guy wearing the bra and miniskirt.

One thing I will be sad to miss is the day Chapel Hill stops its heavy-handed approach to Halloween. As spooky as cross-dresser-on-cross-dresser action might be to some, it’s all in good fun. It’s too bad the town has pulled out all the stops, with some added help from the weather, to scare people away.

I barely missed 2007, when the monstrous crowd forced the town to hammer down on the costumed revelers and downtown businesses.

Fast forward four years and horribly complicated traffic rerouting meant it took me nearly an hour to drive from campus to my house on Hillsborough Street and then to Carrboro to meet friends.

The amount of gas burned in 60 minutes of idling would scare many locals more than any costume or ghost story.

Once I got to Franklin Street, facing bitter cold and a general lack of alcohol in my system because of my 8 a.m. class the next day, I was confronted with the horror of paying to stand inside somewhere to warm up.

The town has taken the ludicrous stance of pushing downtown bars and restaurants to charge a cover fee of at least $5. Businesses can and should charge a cover if they want to. It happens all the time. But the town should not even hint at trying to pressure businesses into charging a specific cover or price.

And because most of the crowd was either 1) a poor college student, 2) someone whose costume didn’t have enough fabric to support pockets or 3) a member of the 21st century who accordingly doesn’t carry cash, few people were ready to pay up. But the cold forced my hand, and I gave in. The fact that my girlfriend spotted me $5 for cover also helped.

Luckily, my first stop rejected the Homegrown Halloween initiative’s cover charge. I heard rumors that other establishments were following suit. All of a sudden, I was standing inside for free — the new American dream.

Ironically, I never spent any money there, giving up after a solid 20 minutes of neglect by the bartender. But I left happy nonetheless, full of hope that the rebellious streak will live on as long as the town thinks it knows business better than business owners.

Thanks for reading.

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