Halloween this year is on a Monday and the town has made some changes to Franklin Street’s Halloween celebration compared to years past. This year’s festivities will run from 8:30-10:30 p.m.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger worked with the town to plan the celebration.
“We are going to be starting a little bit early and ending a little bit earlier to make it more family friendly,” Hemminger said.
In the past, the town has closed roads from East Franklin Street near UNC’s main campus to Mallette Street.
Bobby Funk, assistant director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said the town is capitalizing on Halloween being on a Monday night and will be opening up Columbia Street to traffic.
“This year, only East Franklin Street will be closed off due to the expectation of a smaller crowd on a Monday night,” Funk said.
Chapel Hill started Homegrown Halloween several years ago to make the scene on Franklin Street more family friendly, Funk said.
Homegrown Halloween is a strategy to reduce the size of the crowds on Franklin Street and to make the event safer for everyone.
Chapel Hill resident Tess Wesley said she feels Franklin Street is not a safe area for young children on Halloween because of the way college students act while drinking.
“Franklin Street is a great party for college-age students who enjoy dressing up and socializing,” Wesley said. “It is less than ideal for parents of younger children.”
Lt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesperson for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said Chapel Hill police will have a majority of their staff out and officers from other agencies on Franklin, like they have done in previous years. He said he hopes that because it is a weeknight, alcohol-related incidents will be lower than the past couple years when Halloween was on weekend nights.
“No alcohol or weapons are allowed,” Mecimore said.
About 250 officers will be working on Halloween, but for a crowd size ranging from 20,000 to 30,000, Mecimore said it’s important for individuals to be responsible.
“We ask folks to work with us, act responsibly, make sure that the people around you are acting responsibly — and that will keep everybody safe,” Mecimore said.
Hemminger said she hopes to see locals on Franklin Street and wants everyone to be safe.
“We want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves, but act responsibly — realize that Halloween encompasses all age groups,” Hemminger said.