As Isla Vista residents plan what to wear Oct. 31, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. is doing some planning of its own, which involves another sort of costume.
It will inevitably be beige.
Since Isla Vista’s infamous 1991 Halloween, the Sheriff’s Dept. and I.V. Recreation and Parks District have worked alongside the county to ensure that the entire I.V. community – students, families and permanent residents – can celebrate the holiday safely and alongside one another.
The I.V. Foot Patrol historically steps up enforcement at the start of the school year, during what it calls the “Fall Education Period,” and makes its presence felt even more on the days before and after Halloween.
IVFP Lt. Thomas McKinny said this year would be no different. The station has had about 15 deputies assigned to patrol on Friday and Saturday nights since school began, McKinny said, and that number will likely double for Halloween night and the Friday and Saturday after.
“We’re stepping up enforcement … On Halloween, all three nights, we will barricade off [Del Playa Drive] as well as close off all of Pardall [Road], so the vans and everything can park out there,” McKinny said.
There is also a noise curfew in place from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 every year, which bans loud music after 6 p.m. The police state that loud music is defined as that which can be heard from 100 feet away.
Some of the department’s furry friends – don’t worry, they’re not K-9’s – may also join in on the festivities, McKinny said.
“The mounted unit may be in town – it’s not in response to unruly behavior, but [the horses] are trained in crowd control,” he said.
Last year, that “crowd” grew to about 15,000 during the weekend before Halloween and ended in the arrests of 123 people – 113 of which were arrested for being drunk in public. The Foot Patrol, whose arrests historically include a large number of out-of-towners, encourages residents to keep the festivities local.
“I think [this fall] has been about the same as past years, and I’m hoping and expecting that Halloween will be, for the most part, a local celebration,” McKinny said. “As for the Friday and Saturday after Halloween, I’m not sure what to expect – I just hope zero tolerance is what people know. I’m not hearing rumors that everyone is fleeing, but I’m also not hearing rumors that it’s going to be a madhouse.”
As for the new party ordinance – which, among other things, allows police to break up parties they deem out of control and to confiscate kegs that are in their line of sight from the street – Halloween weekend will be treated like any other, McKinny said.
“We just use components of the ordinance as tools. I’m not sure we’ve cited anyone for not leaving an unruly party – we have shut down parties because of fights. Most of the time, the hosts are happy because no one wants a fight in their house,” he said. “I think any tool that allows us to get more of a handle on unruly behavior is a positive thing. We don’t abuse it to make lives miserable out here. It’s just a tool for when people violate the law.”
McKinny said, ultimately, the Foot Patrol would like to see the entire community have a safe and fun celebration.
“We hope that residents can celebrate Halloween in a safe manner so kids can be out and about,” he said. “[We also hope] people can respect each other’s property and be mindful of laws and still have a good time.”