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Monday August 15th

Homegrown Halloween a success despite shortened hours

Landon Hall, a N.C. State nuclear physics graduate student, built a functioning robot costume from scratch with scrap metal. It took Hall a year to construct the costume.
Buy Photos Landon Hall, a N.C. State nuclear physics graduate student, built a functioning robot costume from scratch with scrap metal. It took Hall a year to construct the costume.

Franklin Street was filled with Minions, Noah's Ark and the famed He's Not Blue Cups for a Halloween celebration Monday night. 

Despite shortened hours and a slight shift in location, Lt. Josh Mecimore, spokesperson for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said at a 10 p.m. press conference that the Homegrown Halloween event had so far gone well. 

"We've not had any EMS calls or any law enforcement-related calls inside of the event, so that is a win for us," he said. "So far, this seems to have gone really well. Having no injuries and no fights is a good day." 

This year, the event lasted from 8-10:30 p.m. and was located on East Franklin Street. In previous years, the event took place on both West and East Franklin Street and lasted until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. 

"We realize that sometimes people continue to drink after the event, so that leads to EMS calls after the event has ended, so that is something that we will keep our eyes on and see where there is something we can do better or might need to change next year," Mecimore said. 

A little under 200 officers worked the event, and supplemental patrols will continue to work after the event, Mecimore said. 

After the event's end at 10:30 p.m., Mecimore said the coverage could change depending on the situation. 

"Once we finish the event, a lot of people will leave and that will help with safety because usually fewer people equals fewer opportunities for someone to get hurt," he said. "We will have those units to respond to things downtown and help patrol. At some time in the night, a decision will be made that the crowd has dissipated enough to let them leave."

Mecimore said the event took place earlier this year to be more family-friendly and accommodating for students going to school the next day. 

"A lot of people bring their kids that want to enjoy the event too," he said. "Because it is a weeknight, it is important for us to move that forward, and those guys can come and have some fun. A lot of the students have class tomorrow, so they can get going at a reasonable time and experience Franklin Street on Halloween."

The intersection of Columbia Street and Franklin Street was open to traffic this year, and many Halloween attendees did not appreciate the change. 

"I wish this intersection was closed off to traffic — that would be nice," said Jessica Holleman, a student in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Mecimore said despite some crowding, the open intersection worked well.

"We may have to tweak some of that but it was important to us, you know, this (is) a main route to the hospital," he said. "That is an important route. We've certainly seen some crowds blocking the intersection when crossing the street."

Despite the logistical differences, Homegrown Halloween displayed the same colorful variety of costumes as it had in previous years. Mecimore said his favorite costume was Noah's Ark. 

"I thought there was a Noah's Ark costume that was maybe 20 people, and that takes a lot of coordination," he said. "So, I kind of like that." 

UNC sophomore Gerry Nash attended the celebration dressed as Steve Irwin because he admired Irwin's versatility. 

"He can wrestle crocs, he can wrestle snakes, he can wrestle squirrels," Nash said. 

UNC sophomore Mackenzie Nelsen dressed as a minion with her friend Olivia Holmes. 

"We went to Walmart today, and this was the first thing we found," Nelsen said. "I feel a little bit basic." 

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