Halloween is a spooky-fun time loved by young and old. There is something nostalgic about the goofy and creative costumes, the cool fall air, flickering jack-o-lanterns and so much candy your teeth hurt. Community Housing Office hopes Halloween 2011 brings more treats than tricks and your ghoulish holiday isn’t spoiled by a stern warning (or worse) from your property provider or police officer, or an argument with you roommate(s).
While you are planning your costume this year with your best friends and fighting your way through fake spider webs, don’t forget about the other important details to make your Halloween LOCAL, SAFE and FUN:
Read your lease or contract for restrictions on guests, parking, parties and kegs during the Halloween weekend. This is also important if you live in university-owned residence halls or apartments since no guests are allowed from Oct. 27 through Nov. 1.
Talk to your roommates early (like TODAY!) about your plans for Halloween. You might be in the throes of party planning and your roommates have no idea about the haunted house you are designing. Don’t just be mindful of the legal document you signed with your property provider, but also be mindful of the roommate(s) locked into that contract with you who might very well be leaving town to avoid Halloween trouble altogether.
If you are going to have people over for a costume contest, be aware of your level of noise and disruption — the festival ordinance prohibits live or recorded music from being heard outside your apartment or house from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Oct. 26 through Nov. 4. If fined, expect to pay up to $500.
Clean up after yourself. Parties (especially on Halloween) produce a lot of trash. Avoid charges from your property provider by being a responsible tenant and cleaning up the fake spider webs, red cups and candy corn left in the wake of your weekend. Be responsible and recycle what you can (red cups are recyclable!).
Know and trust the people you invite into your domicile. Halloween in Isla Vista is a prime time for thieves to take the opportunity to seize your pricey items. Hide or lock up your valuables.
If you are going out (or even if you are staying in), lock your doors and windows. We are sure you can find somewhere in your costume to hold your house key!
Keep it local — Don’t invite 15 of your “closest” out-of-town friends to stay with you. They will have nowhere to park, eat all your food, may get you in trouble with your property provider and will probably ruin the party for you and your local friends.
Familiarize yourself with the parking rules for Halloween weekend. Check out www.ucsbhalloween.com for all details about permits, and where/when to park.
If law enforcement determines that Isla Vista has become unsafe for the public, roads will be closed by the county and proof of residency may be required for vehicle entry. Take the time to put an old utility bill or copy of your lease agreement (make sure it has your name and your Isla Vista address on it) in your glove box now so it is there in case you need to prove your residency.
We hope you have a fun, safe, eviction-free Halloween, whether you are cruising Del Playa Drive in one of your four elaborate costumes, bobbing for apples and carving pumpkins at a friend’s house or enjoying a scary movie at home. Check out www.ucsbhalloween.com for more information about what’s legal and what isn’t, Halloween events and other helpful tidbits.
Because burglaries and theft were mentioned in the long list of things to keep an eye out for during the festivities this upcoming weekend, I can’t help but put in a quick commercial for Renter’s Insurance, a type of insurance that covers damage and loss of your prized personal possessions due to fire, theft, vandalism, smoke, flood and other perils. Your landlord’s insurance will pay for the building’s damages, but not your stuff. Keep in mind, though, that if someone swipes your valuables while you are hosting a party or because you left your door unlocked, renter’s insurance will most likely not cover those losses. If your parent(s) own a home, have them check out their homeowner’s insurance to see if it covers you while living away at college. If it doesn’t, call around to see compare rates and coverage. Sometimes if you “bundle” your insurance — meaning you have car insurance with one company and add a renter insurance policy, you can get a good deal. Check out the companies that UCSB has endorsed on the risk management website: www.busserv.ucsb.edu/riskmanagement/studentrenters.htm.
Want to contact CHO for advice? Go to www.housing.ucsb.edu/chohelp.htm to ask for rental advice, request mediation or find out more about your renter rights and responsibilities. Or stop by our spooky office on the 3rd (haunted) floor of the office.
Maya Salmon is the program coordinator at UCSB’s Community Housing Office.