I might be getting old, but ahhh, the memories. Halloween Night 1989, sophomore year for me, and I was there, riding along the massive wave of out of control youth on D.P. – pure chaos, our own little pocket of inebriation, full of inhabitants and visitors simply ecstatic to be participating in Bourbon Street West. Shoulder to shoulder in the spirit of intoxication.
Waking up on Halloween was like waking up Christmas morning, only instead of presents you got drunk. I hold back a tear when I think that no one will ever again know the unadulterated joy of the party that was Halloween in I.V. The creativity of the costumes was surpassed only by the lewd nature of the themes. I’ll never forget the seven-foot-tall papier-m‰chŽ penis or the guys in white tights and Jheri-curl caps squiggling through the crowd, pretending to be sperm. I hear Halloweens are kinder and gentler now. I guess there’s nothing wrong with good clean fun. Plus, according to the festival ordinance, small gatherings and such are much less conducive to incarceration.
Sure, there were police back then. There was even a police command post and paddy wagons set up on El Colegio, but you wouldn’t get to ride in one merely for public intoxication. In fact, I never knew anyone who got in trouble. When I read about how many people got arrested and did bad stuff back then, I don’t remember that part. Either I got lucky and missed it, or was having too much fun to notice.
I spoke to a friend about it, and we agreed: There must have been subcultures of the party. Like the badasses who got in trouble and the happy drunks who were just happy and drunk – not bad and not asses. Everyone was packed so tight that if something happened 10 people away, you probably wouldn’t see or hear it.
You could turn to CNN and see a report direct from I.V. interspersed with stories about Saddam Hussein and the Gulf War. It’s interesting that we are back in the war and back in the Bushes, which is about the scariest thing about Halloween – but I digress.
All the news vans would be lined up at the end of the Embarcadero loop with their satellites pointed to the sky, and we were roaming the streets with open containers and Freebirds burritos – young and free.
Everybody had at least three or four people visiting from out of town. We used to buy these big plastic cups from Lucky, Albertsons now, and go from door to door practicing I.V.’s unique trick or treat tradition. “Do you have a keg?” we’d ask.
Usually someone would point toward the bathroom where you could find a lovely silver barrel in the bathtub, ensconced in ice, or on the patio, where there’s no telling what you’d find. And there was a kinship, sharing and caring. A beer bond, if you will.
It’s hard to explain, but Halloween was more than just a party; it was our flagship event. I.V. was ground zero for fun and everybody in the world seemed to know it. It was a thing of pride – not just your average partiers, we tore the roof off. As my friend Dan Umana put it, “UCSB reveled in its reputation as a party school; we were in the top three party schools.” That’s competitiveness on a national level.
There’s an ache in my heart that the crux of the activity, public drunkenness, is no longer tolerated. The crazed, half-naked drunks provided most of the live entertainment. I must admit, however, that 14 years after the fact, my rosy colored, beer-stained goggles are a bit foggy. I assure you, 14 years from now, yours will be too. So take pictures.
Yes, things have changed. But believe me when I say the streets of I.V. have been well well-partied – particularly D.P. and Sabado Tarde.
Happy Halloween, 2002, Gauchos! Have fun in a responsible common sense way. Go all in. I have no reason to complain – I’m a mom now, and I can’t even party anymore. But I’ll always have those cherished, if hazy, memories I was there.
Tiye Baldwin is a junior computer science major.