Halloween Draws 32,000 Attendees, 13 Arrests

Another Halloween is in the books, and Chapel Hill Police say it went fairly well.

About 32,000 people were on Franklin Street last Friday night; that’s been about the norm for the last five years, ever since Chapel Hill instituted its “Homegrown Halloween” policy to keep attendance down. Franklin Street closed to traffic at around 9:00 and reopened at 1:06 Saturday morning.

Read Danny Hooley’s full report from Franklin Street.

Chapel Hill Police reported 13 arrests and 29 EMS calls during the event; that’s up a bit from previous years, but all the charges were minor. Most of the EMS calls were alcohol-related; no major injuries have been reported.

The full police report is below:

Halloween on Franklin Street drew a peak crowd of approximately 32,000 people.
The streets were cleared of people at 12AM and opened to traffic at around 1:06AM, after being cleaned by Town crews.
There were a number of arrests made or citations issued in the closed area.
            1 person charged for Simple Assault
            2 people charged for Public Urination
            1 person charged for Simple Possession of Marijuana and Carry Concealed Weapon
            3 charges for Open Container of Alcohol
            3 charges for Drunk and Disruptive
            1 charge for Disorderly Conduct
            1 charge for Simple Affray (fighting)
            1 charge for Assaulting a Firefighter and for Resist, Delay or Obstruct
Orange County Emergency Services responded to 29 EMS calls within the closed event.  The majority of EMS calls were alcohol related.


It’s Halloween!

Friday is Halloween, and that means one of the biggest parties of the year in downtown Chapel Hill.

About 30,000 people are expected on Franklin Street for the annual Halloween celebration. Franklin Street will be closed downtown from 9:00 p.m. until midnight as costumed revelers take to the streets.

As per usual, the Town of Chapel Hill is trying to keep the party manageable: traffic into town will be restricted, parking downtown will be extremely limited, and Chapel Hill Transit routes will end early. About 400 police officers will be on hand as well, from a variety of municipalities in the area.

WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt about tonight’s festivities.


And Aaron also spoke with Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue about how the department is getting ready – and what you need to know.


For more information on Halloween, including attendance reports from previous years, visit TownOfChapelHill.org/Halloween.

Map of roads that will be closed for Halloween.

Map of roads that will be closed for Halloween.

From the Town of Chapel Hill:

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 9 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. View a map of street closures.


There will be LIMITED PARKING available in Town lots close to downtown; there will be no place for charter buses to drop off or pick up passengers.

Vehicles parked on streets to be 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 $105 plus the cost of the ticket.

Media vehicles will not be allowed to park inside the closed perimeter.

For the latest UNC public safety information on Halloween (street closures and parking restrictions) visit www.dps.unc.edu/Postings/breakingnews/viewBreakingNews.cfm

Prohibited Items

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

Alcoholic Beverages
Glass Bottles
Fireworks and Explosives
Flammable Substances
Items, even as part of a costume, which can be used as weapons or could reasonably be mistaken as weapons will be confiscated. This includes items made of wood, metal, cardboard or hard plastic.


Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) will end service early on the D, F, J, NS and NU routes and EZ Rider to accommodate the Halloween celebration on Franklin Street. The following schedule modifications will be in effect:

D Route will end at 8:43 p.m. at the Sagebrook Apartments
F Route will end at 8:45 p.m. at Colony Woods
J Route will end at 8:56 p.m. at the Rock Creek Apartments
NS Route will end at 8:38 p.m. at Eubanks Park and Ride
NU Route will end at 8:29 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.

Safe Ride Buses: Safe Ride buses will operate from 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. View schedules and maps of safe ride routes at http://bit.ly/174mvrJ. Safe Ride is a service funded by the UNC-Chapel Hill Student Government for the safety of students. Safe Ride buses will operate along detoured routes. Safe Rides will not serve the Downtown/Franklin Street area. Please be advised that due to road closures and traffic pattern changes, Chapel Hill Transit may be unable to operate its exact published schedules.

• Safe T – pick up and drop off from Chapel Hill Town Hall
• Safe J – pick up and drop off from Passport Motors (Franklin Street at Graham Street)
• Safe G – pick up and drop off from Columbia Street at Sitterson Hall across from Carolina Inn

No Bus Shuttles: There will be no bus shuttles operating from park and ride lots.

Questions: Please contact a CHT customer service representative at 919-969-4900 (press 1) or email chtransit@townofchapelhill.org.

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 at the roads 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. We recommend that you plan accordingly.
Yard waste collection will be conducted as usual on Thursday, Oct. 31. Friday yard waste collections will be postponed to Friday, Nov. 8.


Reducing The Halloween Crowd On Franklin Street

CHAPEL HILL – Franklin Street is well-known in the Triangle as a Halloween hotspot; but police try to downsize the party more and more each year.

The most worn costume on Franklin Street Thursday night may be a police uniform. But these officers won’t be playing pretend.

“We are bringing in several hundred officers from departments all over the Triangle area,” Chapel Hill Public Information Officer, Sgt. Bryan Walker says.

Walker says the town of Chapel Hill is doing everything it can to limit the guest list for the annual celebration.

“We’ve tried to reduce the size of the crowd, and we’ve been fairly successful at doing that over the last few years, making it more of a local celebration,” Walker says, “As much fun as it is to come to Franklin and see the festivities, if you’re coming from out of town you’re going to have a hard time getting here.”

Shuttles to Franklin from outlying areas will be limited for crowd control. Lane and street closures downtown will make parking essentially unavailable.

Walker says they each Halloween is planned around lessons learned in years past. He says alcohol is the main cause of issues every year. He asks that pre-Franklin partying be kept under control

“We would encourage everyone that is going to be drinking before coming to Franklin Street to drink responsibly,” Walker says.

Walker also says it’s important to keep track of your friends whereabouts, and stay together.

“Don’t get separated and trust that your companions will make it home on their own,” Walker says.

Thursday night is a no-pets-allowed event.

“We have had a problem in years past with someone bringing a snake to an event like this,” Walker says, “When you’re in that crowd, shoulder to shoulder, and you’ve got a snake hanging around your neck, it tends to make people nervous.”

A few other things Walker says you should leave out of your bag of tricks and treats are weapons, fireworks, flammable substances, or anything that may be considered a threat to safety.

Aside from the rules in place to protect people, Walker says the Chapel Hill Police Department wants you to have a good time.

“We’re looking forward to this being another successful and safe Halloween in Chapel Hill,” Walker says.

Franklin Street will close to traffic, and open its door for the annual costume party at 9:00 p.m. Roads reopen two and a half hours later at 11:30.


Understanding “Obamacare”; Halloween Carnival; Blood Drive

CHAPEL HILL – The League of Women Voters of Orange/Durham/Chatham Counties will hold an educational program on Understanding the Affordable Care Act at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

The educational program will provide people with an understanding of the Affordable Care Act and its implementation in North Carolina.  The first session will be held on Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will be free to the public.

The second session will take place on December 4 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

For more information call 919-968-2780.


Carrboro Town Commons will host the Annual Halloween Carnival along with a pumpkin carving contest on October 31.

People wanting to enter the pumpkin carving contest should bring their pre-carved pumpkin to the Carrboro Town Commons between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  Citizens will be able to vote on the pumpkins during the Annual Halloween Carnival from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The winner will be announced at 8:15 p.m.

The Carnival will last until 8:30 p.m. and children will be able to make crafts, win prizes, and play carnival games.

For more information click here.


On October 31, OWASA and the American Red Cross will sponsor the annual Halloween blood drive at OWASA from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The blood drive will be held in the Community room on the lower floor of OWASA’s administrative building.  People who come to donate blood will be entered into a drawing for a $200 gift card courtesy of Suburban Propane. For more information click here.


Launch Chapel Hill; Book Sale; Chapel Hill Transit

CHAPEL HILL – Launch Chapel Hill is accepting applications for the Winter 2014 Accelerator program through November 22.

The program, designed to build successful start-ups, runs 22 weeks from January 6 – June 6, and kicks off with a three day accelerator boot camp.  Two information sessions will take place to inform people about the applications process and tour the space.  The first will be held on Monday, October 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the second will be on Tuesday, November 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For more information click here.


The Orange County Public Library has announced that Friends of the Carrboro Branch Libraries will host its annual book sale on November 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and November 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at McDougle Middle School.

Proceeds from the sale allow Friends of the Carrboro Branch Library to support library programs and purchase material.


Hardcover Books – $1

Trade and regular paperback books -$0.50

DVD’s and CD’s – $1

Coffee Table and Specialty books – as priced

VHS Tapes – FREE

Sunday Bag Sale – $3.00

For more information call Linda Browner at 919-969-8145.


During the evening of October 31, Chapel Hill Transit will end service early on the D, J, NS, and NU routes.

Due to the Franklin Street event on Halloween, safe ride buses will operate from 11:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. along detoured routes.  No buses will operate from the park and ride lots to the Halloween celebration.

For more information click here.


Farmers’ Market Fall Hours; OWASA GM; Late Night

LEAD IN:  The fun won’t end at the Farmer’s Market in the fall, but the hours will change.

The Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market is still open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. until noon, but the Tuesday hours are shifting. You can visit the market from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.

And don’t miss out on the Halloween Harvest Festival on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until noon. Come to show off your Halloween costume, to grub on local vendors’ freshly-made dishes, or to play games. Farmers will even tell you the secrets of their favorite recipes.

For more information about the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market, click here.


The Orange Water and Sewer Authority has a new General Manager of Operations.

Todd Taylor is a professional engineer, and he just got the job. He is responsible for the drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, water pipe systems, laboratories, and maintenance.

Taylor has 14 years of experience in the engineering and utility fields.


Late Night with Roy is a tradition that attracts hundreds of UNC basketball fans every year. And Chapel Hill Transit has a plan to supplement the crowd.

Shuttles will run every 10 to 15 minutes from the FridayCenter to the Dean Dome Friday night. The increased shuttle operations run from 5:30 p.m. until 45 after the event is over.

Roundtrip rides are $5. A one-way trip will cost you $3.

For more information about the shuttle schedule, click here.


Red Ribbon Week; Fire Station Recognized; Spooktacular

CHAPEL HILL – The Board of Commissioners proclaimed this upcoming week, October 23 through the 31, as Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon Week is intended to raise awareness for prevention of underage drinking and illegal drug use.  The proclamation was requested by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Orange Partnership for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth.


Orange Rural Fire Department Chief, Jeff Cabe, and 29 employees of the fire station were presented an award on the Monday Board of Commissioners meeting for noteworthy innovations and customer service.

Fire Chief Jeff Cabe and the Orange Rural Fire Department were recognized for 11 instances of innovation and customer service including securing trees in jeopardy of falling during severe rain storms.


The Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation invite the public to celebrate Halloween by attending the annual Halloween Spooktacular, next Saturday.

The Halloween Spooktacular will be held at the Central Recreation Center at 302 West Tryon Street in Hillsborough.

From 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. the Halloween Spooktacular includes activities like cake walks, carnival games, face painting, and two haunted houses.  There will also be a costume contest with a cash prize.

Some events will require tickets to participate.  Tickets will be available at the event for purchase.

For more information click here.


OCPL Celebrates Halloween; Leaf Collection; Safe Ride

CHAPEL HILL – The Orange County Public Library will celebrate Halloween this year by hosting a variety of fun activities and events.

All the events that the OCPL will host are free to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend.  The first event, Countdown to Halloween, takes place on Monday October 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the OCPL main library.

The library will screen the world premiere of the Teen Murder Mystery 2013 Film, and hold an after-party including a costume contest, zombie mayhem, and Halloween trivia. For more information click here.


Chapel Hill will begin its annual leaf collection on Monday October 21 and continue through late February.  Residents may place loose leaves and pine straw that is free of debris behind the curb or drainage ditch for pick-up.

Crews will not pick up yard waste that is placed in plastic bags since they are often not compostable.  Instead residents may use 30-gallon paper bags, leave piles, rigid containers, or roll carts available through Public Works Department.

Pick-up for yard waste will be on Thursday for residents who have Monday garbage service, and Friday for residents with Tuesday garbage service.  For more information you can click here.


Chapel Hill transit Safe Ride will not operate on Friday and Saturday this weekend, due to fall break.

The Safe Ride will operate on Halloween from 11:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. along detoured routes.  The Safe Ride will not serve downtown Chapel Hill but will have stops near downtown.  For more information click here.



October is right around the corner (I’m as surprised by that as you are! If you are.) which means HALLOWEEN is coming! Actually, according to my supermarket, Halloween has been coming since September 1st. But since they now make Cadbury Crème Eggs for Halloween, I’m not complaining.

ANYWAY.  Halloween time means it’s time to read some creepy stuff! The nights are getting longer, the shadows are getting scarier, it’s all chilly out, which means you need to be curled up in your house with the jitters.

To that end, here are some kind-of-creepy things to read to get you in the mood.

–Walking Dead is super famous and has a popular TV show, so maybe you’ve read it already, but if not, it’s worth checking out. I should say here that I hate zombies (I have terrible zombie-related nightmares) and also think this series is kind of terrible — BUT I still read the first twelve volumes because I HAD TO KNOW what awful thing would happen next. It is a soap opera of gore. The TV show is terrible and compelling in an entirely different way. Both are perfect for your October media consumption. 

–Pretty much anything by Mike Mignola. Mignola is probably most famous for writing Hellboy (also a major motion picture), but for my money, Hellboy spinoff BPRD is where it’s at — BPRD stands for Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, and the squad consists of humans and not-quite-humans. The art is super atmospheric and kind of dark and spooky, and the stories involve all sorts of demons and ghosts and Nazis.

–I have mentioned Beasts of Burden before, but COME ON, an amazing book about dogs fighting evil supernatural forces is perfect for October! And the art, like BPRD’s, has a really spooky feel.  Still one of my favorites.

–Finally, you should check out whichever Richard Sala books you can find.  They’re mostly all horror/mystery stories, with plucky girl detectives and/or reporters, sinister and mysterious men, etc. But it’s all kind of weird and funny, too.  I also really like his art–his girls are super cute, his horrifying creatures pretty horrific looking. (Check out his blog to see examples!).

–And of course, you can’t talk about creepy comics without talking about the crazy old EC Comics from the ‘50s. Luckily, the awesome Fantagraphics is reissuing a lot of the EC stuff just in time for Halloween, and if you’ll be in Seattle in later October, you can see an exhibit at their bookstore/gallery.

Plus, I know at least one local comic book store (Chapel Hill Comics) will be giving away special trick-or-treat comics to kids in costume around Halloween, so keep an eye peeled for that news.

Happy Halloween, and happy comics reading!