This Halloween’s far from record-breaking crowds left many seasoned residents wondering what kept the masses away.
I.V.’s biggest tradition saw significantly fewer partiers this year than expected, with an estimated crowd of only 25,000. Last year’s attendance — which was estimated to be 45,000 — coupled with the fact that the 31st fell on a Saturday this year, prompted local officials to prepare for the worst, but in the end, the huge numbers of people never made it.
Lt. Brian Olmstead of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol said that while I.V. is not conducive to measuring crowds, he was confident that there was a significant drop in attendance this year.
“The problem with Isla Vista is that it is porous, so we have to rely more on estimation than other places,” Olmstead said. “I think there was a significant drop in the number of people that attended the event. There was more open space to walk in on Del Playa.”
UCSB students cited a number of possible factors that contributed to this year’s conservative attendance, including bad memories from last year’s raucous celebration, an increased desire to keep the event local and logistical problems for out-of-town guests, most notably parking.
Fourth-year communication major Natalia Nuñez said that she was trying to avoid the drama that typically manifests from having a lot of guests stay at her house.
“My basic opinion is I feel like the more people there are in my house, the more crazy everything gets,” Nuñez said. “I’m a fourth-year, I’ve had friends come visit before and I feel like it is less trouble if I don’t have people come. I wanted Halloween to be as drama-free as possible this year.”
Third-year English major Arabella Alameda said UCSB students know how to party safely, but out-of-towners often find themselves in handcuffs.
“I think people at UCSB know how to handle themselves, but when you bring in other people, that is when it gets completely crazy,” Alameda said.
This sentiment has certainly played true in the past, with out-of-towners racking up the majority of citations, arrests and hospital visits over the weekend. Of the 311 arrests made last year, only 18 were UCSB students.
Alameda also said she did not want this year’s Halloween to be as out of control as last year’s and that it should be a celebration for Isla Vista residents.
“Last year Halloween was so ridiculously intense, and I didn’t like how going out on DP was like being in a mosh pit,” Alameda said. “I didn’t want it to be like last year; I wanted it to be more local.”
Other students simply did not want to participate in the Halloween festivities at all and left Isla Vista to avoid the drunken masses. Fourth-year sociology major Christie Gabriel said she left her Del Playa house on Saturday night because she wanted to avoid the problems she witnessed last year during Halloween.
“The fights that broke out last year and all the sexual harassment I witnessed made me not want to stay,” Gabriel said. “I didn’t want to subject myself to that, and I didn’t want to see that happen to my peers,” she said.
Another cause of the reduced crowds was the logistical difficulties facing out-of-town visitors hoping to spend Halloween in Isla Vista.
Fourth-year economics major Jordan Rainwater said his friends chose not to visit because there was not enough room at his house.
“My friends were planning to come but the plans didn’t work out,” Rainwater said. “I honestly told them there is no place to sleep because my house is so crowded.”
Rainwater also knew that finding parking for his friends would be tough.
“Parking was another problem; I have no idea where they would have parked because Del Playa was closed down,” Rainwater said. “They would have had to park in Goleta.”