UCSB organization La Escuelita, one of the oldest Latin-based groups on campus, will host its annual Safe Halloween carnival event this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Children’s Park, where young Isla Vista residents can participate in activities and receive treats as an alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating.
Held for 10 consecutive years now, Safe Halloween gives community youths and their families an opportunity to celebrate Halloween while keeping Isla Vista children safely away from the I.V. party scene and the crime it can attract. Over 22 organizations, including multicultural campus fraternities, sororities and other campus organizations such as the Community Affairs Board, will host booths at the carnival.
According to La Escuelita Co-chair Laura Gonzalez, a fourth-year sociology and linguistics major, the organization seeks to make the carnival as diverse and entertaining as possible.
“We’re really excited,” Gonzalez said. “We get around 60 or 70 kids. We have little dance competitions and then we have a costume competition.”
This year, the free-admission event will provide face painting, a jumper and a cardboard pumpkin beanbag toss game as well as candy and toys to give out as prizes. Other organizations will have arts and crafts, bobbing for apples competitions, pumpkin-carving activities and music.
La Escuelita is a non-profit community service-based campus organization that has been serving low-income families in Isla Vista and Goleta for over 43 years. The organization strives to provide role models for at-risk, underprivileged children and also offers free tutoring at Isla Vista Elementary and other nearby schools.
Isla Vista Elementary Principal Mary Kahn said while she is new to the Isla Vista community and has not yet experienced Safe Halloween, it has garnered encouraging feedback.
“In talking to the teachers, it sounds like approximately three to four kids per class participate,” Kahn said. “The teachers who know about it and have heard about it have shared positive support for it.”
The Children’s Park in Isla Vista is located at the intersection of Camino Del Sur and Picasso Road. According to Gonzalez, the event is a way for club members to meet some of their neighbors and benefit the lives of local youth.
“[Safe Halloween] is really great because families come as well [and] they don’t just send their children,” Gonzalez said. “We start building more of a personal relationship with them, and it is really nice that we have that one-on-one connection with them, since we do share the same streets.”