Isla Vista, it’s that time of year again.
Whether or not you’re prepared for I.V. to become a police state or for hoards of intoxicated, costumed, scantily-clad revelers to clog Del Playa and onward, it’s happening — the much anticipated, or un-anticipated, event of the year: Halloween in I.V.
The I.V. holiday first officially occurred in 1962, several years after UCSB moved from downtown Santa Barbara to the more isolated area of Isla Vista. Things didn’t start picking up until the 1980s, when the once small, student-exclusive event spread by word of mouth, eventually attracting crowds ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 each year. And while many out-of-towners akin Halloween in I.V. to affairs like Spring Break in Cabo, both students and I.V. residents feel weary of the imminent law enforcement crackdown.
Students like fifth-year sociology major Dan Ner Serrano said laws such as the Festival Ordinance, which prohibit any audible music from outside between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. until Monday, Nov. 4, have become the most strictly enforced in the entirety of his time at UCSB.
“The out-of-towners, there’re just too much,” Serrano said. “They’re cracking down on a lot more laws since my first year and really enforcing that 6 p.m. curfew now more so then they’ve ever done before.”
Indeed, according to students like third-year math major Katie McCulloch, Halloween is a trying time for I.V. residents who have to bare the brunt of Halloween’s consequential restrictions and damages.
“My least favorite part about Halloween is the guests from out of town that will try to rob me,” McCulloch said.
Even first-year students who have yet to experience their first Halloween have said the upcoming weekend will be more of a burden than a fun event.
“From what we heard, it’s not great at all,” first-year communications major Nicolette Poivre said, “most of my friends are leaving.”
“I’ve heard that in the past Halloween’s gotten out of control,” first-year undeclared major Kayli Cover said. “There are too many and too many cops.”
In order to mitigate the negative consequences of the coming holiday weekend, student organizations like Health & Wellness, the Alcohol & Drug Program and Associated Students have set up provisions like hydration stations and restrooms in Little Acorn Park Thursday through Saturday night, along with a safe space in the building Graffikart used to occupy on 6550 Pardall Road.
Staffed by volunteers, the hydration stations will offer free water bottles and — together with the portable restrooms — aim to cut down on student arrests for offenses such as drunk in public and public urination, according to A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs Alexander Moore.
“Instead of citing, arresting and taking people to jail to let people sober up there, there are ways that we can address some of these issues before they become a problem,” Moore said.
The Residence Hall Association have also come up with multiple events in different Residence Halls all weekend long, enforcing a “no-guest” policy and working with the UC Police Department to educate students about Halloween safety.
Santa Catalina Hall, for example, will be staging a “Halloween Spooktacular Carnival” in the Linda Vista room, featuring free food, apple bobbing, raffles and prizes, a photobooth, games, a costume contest and lots of candy.
Billy Jankowski, the associate director of residential and community living, said the alternative events reflected the creativity of the Residence Hall staff.
“Our students and staff get really creative with providing alternative programs for students who prefer not to go out to Isla Vista,” Jancowski said.
Additionally, Health & Wellness and ADP organized a “Haunted House of Health,” with features like “drunk goggles,” meant to simulate the effects of intoxication.
According to Senior Associate Dean of Student Life Deborah Fleming, the push for preventative measures this year will be unprecedented.
“I think we’ve actually done more this year than we’ve ever done,” Fleming said.
A version of this article appeared on page 7 of the Thursday, October 31, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.