Homegrown Halloween 8:30-11 p.m.


News Announcements
Frequently Asked Questions
Street Closures
Prohibited Items
Downtown Residents
Notice for Downtown Merchants

 Halloween 2015

In the Southern Part of Heaven, the party's over at 11

Chapel Hill once again is managing Homegrown Halloween on Franklin Street to make it smaller, safer -- and with a local emphasis.

Costumes and creativity showcase the best of this spontaneous crowd gathering that occurs each year on Franklin Street. Extremely large crowd sizes have required public safety strategies. On this night – Saturday, October 31, we restrict traffic into downtown, employ about 300 public safety officers, and establish alcohol checkpoints. The party ends at 11 p.m.

Hear from our community partners as they answer Frequently Asked Questions: https://vimeo.com/album/3620187

  1. What is Homegrown Halloween on Franklin Street?

  2. What’s so scary about Halloween in Chapel Hill?  

  3. What are the Top Three public safety goals for Halloween in Chapel Hill?

  4. How do you get to downtown Chapel Hill on Halloween?

  5. Who cares about safety on Halloween in Chapel Hill?

Thank you for supporting our public safety goals.

Town Manager Roger L. Stancil initiated Homegrown Halloween in 2008. The shared effort among the Town, University and Downtown aims to return Halloween on Franklin Street to its roots as a small town community gathering and reduce crowd sizes that were becoming unmanageable. View the documentary video that tells this story in six minutes.

The event attracts an enormous crowd (upwards of 80,000 in 2007). Confined in the downtown area, this gathering presents many public safety concerns related to personal and property crime, crowd panic and large scale civil disorders. Additional concerns focus on alcohol poisoning and gang-related violence.

The Town of Chapel Hill observes Halloween only on Oct. 31, and does not deviate from the celebration date, no matter what day of the week it falls.

Town staff and Downtown merchants have partnered to develop strategies for keeping Homegrown Halloween safe and local. Restaurants and bars have been encouraged 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. These strategies have been successfully employed for a number of years and have contributed to the enhanced safety of the Halloween event.

News Announcements

10/14/2015 Saturday Halloween on Franklin Street

Local Media
Chapel Hill preps for Halloween on Saturday night (WNCN - 10/14/15)
Chapel Hill Hoping to Reduce Size of Halloween Crowds on Franklin Street (Time Warner Cable News - 10/14/15)
Chapel Hill wants to further rein in Halloween revelry (WRAL - 10/15/15)

PHOTO Halloween 2013 Multimedia

The following graphics may be used to illustrate articles about Halloween in Chapel Hill. Each is available as a high-resolution image, which should be editable for use on Web sites, in video, or in newsprint. Click on the photo to view and download the larger image.

To Download: PC users: Right click and choose "save" from the pop-up menu to download a copy of the picture. Mac users: Click and hold, then choose "save" from the pop-up menu to download a copy of the picture or drag the photo to your desktop or selected folder.

The Herald Sun shared some of the sights and sounds from Homegrown Halloween 2014.

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. 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.move.unc.edu/events/halloween

Prohibited Items

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

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Weapons
  • Glass Bottles
  • Paint
  • Fireworks and Explosives
  • Flammable Substances
  • Animals
  • Coolers

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 NU and EZ Rider routes 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.

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 www.townofchapelhill.org/saferides. 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

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.


Crowd Sizes Event Management Costs
2003 78,000 $131,939
2004 80,000 $166,103
2005 50,000 $197,000
2006 70,000 $230,000
2007 80,000 $221,490
2008 35,000 $203,957
2009 50,000 $197,024
2010 35,000 $191,031
2011 27,000 $183,456
2012 22,000 $175,085
2013 30,000 $188,310
2014 32,000
2015 40,000

The event management costs for 2015 have not yet been calculated.

Halloween EMS Calls 

People seen for
alcohol related issues
Transported to UNC
for further treatment
2003 26 10
2004 30 +  
2005 40  
2006 40 18
2007 31 8
2008 31 8
2009 22 8
2010 6 5
2011 7 3
2012 4 2
2013 15 7
2014 79* 29*
2015 10 0

*These numbers include reports for the closed-off portion of Franklin Street and the surrounding areas during the Homegrown Halloween event. 



Halloween Media Parking and Event Update Schedule

Media parking for this year’s Halloween event will once again be provided at the Morehead Planetarium. Media vehicles utilizing this staging area should plan to be in place no later than 8 p.m. Vehicles will not be permitted to enter these staging areas after the streets are closed.

Chapel Hill Police Department PIO Lt. Josh Mecimore will be available to give Halloween event updates. 


Information: Police Officer Phil Smith at 919-968-2864 or psmith@townofchapelhill.org, Lt. Joshua Mecimore at 919-968-2747 or jmecimore@townofchapelhill.org or Communications Manager Catherine Lazorko at 919-969-5055 or clazorko@townofchapelhill.org.

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