Chapel Hill looks to make Halloween bash more family-friendly

Halloween in Chapel Hill. (WNCN file)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Chapel Hill is changing the times of its annual Halloween event on Franklin street this year to help make it more family friendly and less crowded.

The annual “Homegrown Halloween” event will run from 8:30 to 11 p.m.. That is starting and ending an hour earlier this year.

Police said the goal is to strike a balance between allowing families to bring kids… while also allowing college students to have fun.

The party requires about 300 officers and many of them come from agencies outside Chapel Hill.

The town has cut the party’s size from about 80,000 people  in 2007 to 30,000 in recent years.

Lt. Joshua Mecimore of the Chapel Hill Police said, “We looked at the amount of crime, the incidents, the alcohol-related incidents, EMS calls, things like that. They were really high when we had 80,000 people and those numbers have continually dropped as the numbers at the event have dropped, and so our focus is public safety.

“We want people to have fun, but we need them to be safe while doing it.”

Last year, police responded to 79 alcohol-related incidents. Officers said nearly everything they respond to on Halloween can be tied back to alcohol.

Earlier this week, police and the ABC Commission held a seminar to help restaurant and bar employees spot fake identifications, something that’s especially difficult when people are wearing costumes.

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