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Chapel Hill police closed Franklin, Columbia and Henderson streets to vehicles at 8:50 p.m., and the streets remained barricaded until 2:15 a.m., when the police cleared the streets of the remaining partygoers. Police cleaned up and opened the streets to cars at 3:20 a.m.

Officials said this year's crowd topped the one that gathered on Franklin Street last year, which they weren't expecting.

"The number of people surprised us because it was a Tuesday night," said Gregg Jarvies, Chapel Hill interim police chief.

Police were on hand at different street barricades to confiscate anything that resembled weapons, including toy guns and knives.

Despite the precautions, people said they still had a good time with their friends and the people they met while partying Tuesday night.

"I love meeting new people and seeing their costumes," said UNC sophomore Adrienne Rhoads, who was dressed as a baby.

Katie McMahon, a UNC sophomore who was dressed as a hula girl, agreed. "It's better than Christmas and my birthday combined," she said. "Halloween is a time when people can lose their inhibitions."

Ryan Ellis, who came dressed as Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, said this was his third time attending the celebration.

"I like Halloween a lot - there's not another time you get to act like someone you're not," he said.

Thousands of people packed the streets to gawk at the costumes that people came up with this year. "I love just looking at all the costumes," said Kyle Sleeth, a Wake Forest University freshman from Pittsburgh, who was dressed as a "guy from North Carolina."

"The Jesus one (costume) was the best I've seen so far," he said.

But the night was not all fun and games for everyone. Nearly 260 uniformed law enforcement officials were present, most of whom were brought in from outside of Chapel Hill, said Sgt. K.L. Cheeks of the Durham Police Department.

Alcohol Law Enforcement officers, who were there to assist other police officers, cited 80 people with alcohol violations. Fifty-six were charged with underage possession of alcohol. "The majority were for alcohol violations, but a number were for disorderly conduct as well," Jarvies said.

Local businesses were not exempt from citations either. The Artists Escape Cafe at 137 E. Franklin St. got one violation for selling alcohol to minors, and Players at 159-1/2 E. Franklin St. received a written warning for an employee who was drinking.

There were also 10 violent altercations reported. Police reports state that one person reported being hit in the head with a beer bottle and another reported being hit in the face and kicked. Two police officers also were injured. One ALE agent reported that a pumpkin was thrown at him, and an Orange County deputy sheriff said he was elbowed in the eye.

Despite these incidences, Jarvies said the crowd posed relatively few problems for police. "There was less alcohol being brought into the area, so that helped keep the crowd under control."

The City Editor can be reached


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The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for November 20, 2023