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The Daily Tar Heel

Partyers Enjoy Night of Fright, Sights

Kalmes said numerous people praised her costume but that one vital part was missing -- her wand. The police took it at a security checkpoint.

"It was a plastic wand with a beer can on top," Kalmes said. "They were like, `Hey, you can't have that in here. You could poke someone's eye out.'"

Despite the restrictions on costume accessories and access to local roads, a crowd of 25,000 filled Franklin Street on Wednesday night in a blur of fishnets, feathers, cardboard, sequins and bare skin. Students sported the classic angel, devil, vampire, ghost and black cat costumes, but more original costumes -- including an air freshener and a picnic table -- stood out in the crowd.

UNC freshman Brian Smith said he created his kissing booth costume from a combination of duct tape, cardboard and shoelaces. Smith claimed he received 167 kisses by 12:45 a.m.

Arnaud Jougla, a French exchange student, said he made his Christmas tree costume himself. "This is the first time I've celebrated Halloween," Jougla said. "Tonight has been the best part about being in America."

Despite efforts by police to curb outside attendance, visitors from across North Carolina showed up to celebrate.

Sarah Ellen, a freshman at Appalachian State University, said she had heard rumors about the magnitude of the Halloween celebration in Chapel Hill. "If you're not on Franklin Street, you're nobody on Halloween," she said.

This year's Halloween was the first when all campus parking lots were closed and traffic was restricted within a 1 1/2 mile distance of Franklin Street. Though Ellen and other out-of-town visitors came to Chapel Hill, Erin O'Connor, a UNC sophomore, said, "I had friends who were supposed to come, but they didn't because of the security."

Tom McManis, a Morganton police officer, said he traveled more than 200 miles to aid local police. He said the recent attacks, not the increased security measures, might have reduced the crowd size.

Despite a reduction in attendance and some students complaining that the security measures were irritating, the Franklin Street tradition continued.

Darah Meelam, a UNC freshman, said her first Halloween experience on Franklin Street left other schools in the dust. "I love Chapel Hill," Meelam said. "There's nothing better."

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