Chapel Hill preps for Halloween on Saturday night

Halloween in Chapel Hill. (WNCN file)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The town of Chapel Hill is preparing for Halloween – and hoping this year’s festivities don’t get out of control.
The massive crowds for Halloween had swelled to a raucous 80,000 in 2007, prompting town officials to start cracking down and emphasizing what it called “Homegrown Halloween.”
This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday night, and Chapel Hill is already preparing.

Franklin Street will be closed from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. to accommodate crowds.

“We are opening up Franklin Street earlier this year, extending to local families who would like to come out with their children,” said Police Chief Chris Blue. “With safety in mind, we will reopen the street at 11 p.m., and encourage people to head home.

There will be more than 300 police officers at the event, with police on the look-out especially for alcohol-related issues.  Last year, 29 people received medical treatment for alcohol-related issues, police said.

lcohol-related incidents recorded by police numbered 79, which was among the highest number in recent years.Downtown will be difficult to access for people who don’t live nearby due to traffic restrictions and bus shuttles not operating from park and ride lots.

Alcohol checkpoints will be in place, and DWI enforcement on the event perimeter will take place, police said.

The town is encouraging restaurants and bars to close their doors at 1 a.m. to new patrons and many will charge a cover charge to patrons not attending a private event.

In addition, downtown convenience stores that sell alcohol are asked to either close their doors or stop selling alcohol at 1 a.m.

For more information, see the detailed information below or visit


Prohibited Items

Costume accessories that look like weapons; Weapons; Alcoholic Beverages; Glass Bottles; Paint; Fireworks and Explosives; Flammable Substances; Animals; Coolers

Downtown Residents

The Town of Chapel Hill will make every effort to keep people who are attending the event from parking in your neighborhood. Access to your neighborhood will be limited by barricades and police personnel leading into your neighborhood. This will begin early in the evening.

  • Residents of the neighborhood will be able to drive in and out of the enclosed area. Tell the officer at the barricade where you live.
  • Your guests will also be able to enter and leave. They will need to tell the officer at the barricade exactly where they are going.
  • Illegally parked vehicles (even of residents, guests) will be ticketed and towed.
  • Traffic will be congested and getting past the barricades may be a slow process.

Chapel Hill Transit and Safe Ride Buses

During the evening of Saturday, October 31, 2015, Chapel Hill Transit will end service early on the NU route and EZ Rider to accommodate the Halloween celebration on Franklin Street. The following schedule modifications will be in effect:

  • NU Route will end at 8:17 p.m. at RR Lot
  • EZ Rider service will end at 8:30 p.m.

All other routes will operate on regular routes and published schedules, although minor delays may occur due to increased traffic.

Street Closures

  • Southbound traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd will be merged into one lane between Estes Drive and Rosemary Street.
  • Traffic on E. Franklin Street will be merged into one lane between Estes Drive and Raleigh Road.
  • Westbound traffic on E. Franklin Street will be merged into one lane prior to the intersection of Estes Drive.
  • Westbound lanes on South Road will be detoured onto Ridge Road to Manning Drive.
  • Westbound traffic on Manning Drive will be detoured south onto S. Columbia Street. Northbound traffic on S. Columbia Street will be detoured east onto Manning Drive. S. Columbia Street will be closed to northbound traffic at Manning Drive.

Beginning at about 8:30 p.m., some downtown streets will be closed to vehicular traffic, including:

  • Franklin Street, from Raleigh Street to Mallette Street
  • Columbia Street, from Rosemary Street to Cameron Avenue
  • Raleigh Street, from East Franklin to Cameron Avenue
  • Henderson Street, from East Rosemary Street to East Franklin Street

Residential streets near downtown will be closed except to residents of those streets and their guests.


There will be limited parking in downtown. There will be no place for charter buses to drop off or pick up passengers.

Vehicles that are illegally parked will be ticketed and towed, with a minimum recovery cost of $105 plus the cost of the ticket.

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