Orange County

What you need to know before enjoying Halloween night on Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street

The crowds may no longer reach the tens of thousands that thronged Franklin Street a decade ago, but Chapel Hill officials are still putting safety first this Halloween.

The town will curtail bus service, close downtown streets to traffic and confiscate alcohol and anything that looks like a weapon Thursday night, all to put the community back in the community tradition.

“Our goal is for everyone to have a wonderful evening together in our downtown and to return safely home at the end of the night.” Town Manager Maurice Jones said in a news release.

At its peak from 2004-2007, the unofficial downtown parade of costumed revelers and even more onlookers reached upward of 80,000 people.

In 2008, spurred by drunkenness, people taken to the hospital and property damage, the town launched “Homegrown Halloween,” limiting access downtown. The effort immediately cut the crowd in half, and it has fallen further since then.

Last year an estimated 16,000 people celebrated Halloween on Franklin Street with four alcohol-related incidents and no hospital trips, according to the release. Still, it cost $160,494 to manage the event, the release said.

Street Closings

Town officials will close these street to regular traffic from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

  • Franklin Street from Church Street to Raleigh Street
  • Columbia Street from Rosemary Street to Cameron Avenue
  • South Road from Columbia Street to Raleigh Street
  • Cameron Avenue from Columbia Street to Raleigh Street
  • Skipper Bowles Drive
  • Williamson Drive

For the latest UNC public safety information on Halloween (street closures and parking restrictions) go to


Vehicles parked on streets being closed will be towed beginning at 6 p.m.

Vehicles that are illegally parked will be ticketed and towed, with a minimum recovery cost of $140 plus the cost of the ticket.

Parking is prohibited along the 100 blocks of East and West Franklin Street and Henderson Street starting at 3:30 p.m.

Special event parking will be available for $20 beginning at 5 p.m. at the Wallace Parking Deck, Rosemary Deck, Rosemary/Columbia Lot, and 140 West Parking Deck. For parking information go to

Prohibited Items

Alcohol is prohibited on the closed streets and alcohol checkpoints will be in place with DWI enforcement on the perimeter of the event before, during, and after the event.

Town ordinances and State statutes also prohibit the following items in the closed area:

Chapel Hill Transit will adjust some bus routes and schedules Thursday night. To see a list of the changes go to

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