Four days and over $500,000 later, volunteer clean-up crews will sweep the streets of debris left by up to 30,000 costumed revelers.
Unless you’re a freshman, chances are you have witnessed the weekend-long, booze-soaked Halloween celebration that has put the spotlight on Isla Vista for three decades.
For Adrienne MacIan, a 2006 UCSB Ph.D. student who wrote her dissertation on the celebrations, Halloween weekend is remarkable.
“It’s an eventless event, and everything is done on the fly. It has a magical feel to it, like anything could happen,” she said.
For others, such as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young, the affair is something else entirely.
“I hate Halloween. Not so much the holiday or that people want to go out and have a good time. But I hate that thousands — or tens of thousands — of outsiders trash our community and houses and stress our emergency resources and then leave with us to deal with the debris,” Young said.
Wondering how to handle your Halloween? Read on to make your holiday weekend the best it can be.
According to Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lieutenant Ray Vuillemainroy, there will be 150 deputies and officers on patrol in Isla Vista in addition to 10 mounted police units.
“The patrol will have mostly uniformed deputies, many of which are specially trained in crowd control,” he said.
However, Vuillemainroy also noted that there will be “plain-clothed” cops on patrol.
Vuillemainroy said students only have to act sensibly to stay out of trouble.
“Be responsible. Have respect for others and, obviously, don’t indulge too much in alcohol. Basically, be responsible,” he said. “Everyone knows right from wrong.”
“The main [policies] are still in place, that being the zero tolerance and the noise ordinance,” Young said.
The festival ordinance, which has been in effect for 17 years, will be enforced from now until Thursday, Nov. 4. From 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the indicated days, no live or recorded music is permitted at a volume that can be heard from the street.
Noise and festival ordinance violation fines range from $144 to $500, and any unpaid amounts will appear on your credit report.
There are a slew of other laws that the IVFP will enforce. If minors are furnished with alcohol, the penalty is $1000 if the minor is aged 18 to 20, and $3000 if the minor is under 18 years of age. This fine is multiplied by the number of minors attending a party.
Possession of an open container will cost you $102 to $500, and Minor in Possession penalties are $500 and a one year driver’s license suspension. If you’re caught drunk in public, you’ll pay anywhere from $525 to $1000, and public urination has a $270 standard fine upon first conviction.
If you plan on having any out-of-town friends visit, check your lease first. Many landlords include a Halloween clause that bans overnight guests, alcohol or parties during the holiday weekend.
Although the Social Host Ordinance is already in effect in Santa Barbara County, Vuillemainroy said the IVFP will not enforce it until December.
“We were concerned about the crowding. If you were someone who lived on DP or Sabado Tarde and wanted to get to your apartment, good luck,” Michelle Morgante, UCSB alumna and former Daily Nexus news editor, said of the Halloween in the late ’80s.
Not much has changed since then. However, in recent years limits have been instated to prevent some of Halloween’s past problems with street overcrowding and illegal parking.
All cars on the 6500-6700 blocks of Del Playa must be off the street by 3 p.m. on Friday and can return at 6 a.m. on Monday. A number of entrance points to Del Playa, Sabado Tarde and Trigo Roads will be blocked to all incoming traffic for the weekend.
Campus parking permits for Halloween, which also act as a Night & Weekend Pass for the rest of Fall Quarter, are available online for $17.50 plus a $5.95 shipping cost.
Every year, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital is overwhelmed by the volume of alcohol-related accidents.
“We’re overrunning the hospitals. The emergency rooms can’t handle the alcohol poisonings and other cases that come about [every year],” Young said.
Alcohol poisoning signs include the inability to wake up, vomiting while passed out, slow or irregular breathing, extreme confusion and pale skin.
If a friend is displaying these signs, call 9-1-1. Do not let the person fall asleep and do not induce vomiting. Turn the person on their side to prevent choking should they vomit and stay calm until authorities arrive.
Even if a person does not die from alcohol poisoning, they can suffer irreversible brain damage.
The UCSB Alcohol & Drug Program Web site recommends that students “eat a good dinner and continue to snack throughout the night, alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink and avoid drinking games or shots” as a way to drink safely and avoid a hangover.
If you do wake up with a hangover, it is important to eat a healthy meal as soon as you can, drink plenty of water or juice and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine. Rehydrating and nourishing your body will get you back on track.
Rhandy Siordia, major events coordinator for A.S., said keeping drinking under control prevents reckless behavior that could get you arrested.
“People do crazy things while under the influence,” he said.
For decades, Halloween has seen an elevated number of sexual harassment cases.
“There would be blocks where you would get grabbed, absolutely, if you were a woman…it was completely person-to-person, elbow-to-elbow,” Morgante said.
Danielle Mayorga, co-chair for Take Back the Night and fourth-year communication and linguistics major, said her group is working to prevent sexual violence on Halloween.
“There’s a huge trend around Halloween where there’s a high number of sexual harassments but also sexual assault,” she said. “Things that I’ve seen on the streets on Halloween are people grabbing other’s asses or, if there’s a scantily clad person, people will grab them or make comments at them. Both are examples of sexual harassment and assault.”
Any physical contact or sexual act without a clear, consensual “yes” constitutes sexual violence.
“People have the right to wear whatever they want, however little they want, and it is not an invitation for people to grab them, harass them or rape them,” Mayorga said.
Mayorga recommended that any rape victims call the 24-Hour Rape Crisis Hotline at (805) 564-3696 for guidance immediately following an attack. She also noted that the UCSB Women’s Center provides free and confidential counseling for both sexual assault survivors and friends of the victims.
Although there are a number of police and paramedic stations located around I.V. for the weekend, Mayorga said that contacting authorities is, ultimately, the victim’s decision.
“There’s a very large trend of survivors choosing not to report, due to a number of different reasons,” she said. “…They experience a loss of power, [and] being able to restore that by choosing whether you want to see a police officer or talk to a counselor is the survivor’s choice.”
External Vice President of Local Affairs Cori Lantz and A.S. coordinators are throwing a Halloween Film Festival at People’s Park in Isla Vista. The event will last throughout Saturday evening and will alternate between showing “Beetlejuice” and “The Ring” from 8:00 p.m. to 2 a.m.
According to Lantz, the gathering will include free water, coffee, snacks and condoms in addition to access to restrooms.
“I hope people come to watch movies, but I want them to know that there is a place for them if they need to sit down, use the bathroom or get water,” she said.
Lantz said she estimates that 200 to 300 people will attend over the course of the eight hour event.
Additionally, an Adopt-A-Block group will clean-up the streets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Volunteers will meet at the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District office to pick up supplies. The program provides participants with lunch and a free t-shirt. The county and university has asked students not to invite out-of-town friends to the event since 1993.
Statistically, non residents are the perpetrators of most assaults and accidents.
“When you have so many people come in from out of town, it changes the character of the celebration,” 3rd District Supervisor Farr said. “Statistically, the predominate number of arrests are of people who are from out of town.”
IVFP and Office of Student Life statistics show that approximately 97.1 percent of the arrested and cited individuals last year were from out-of-town.
According to Young, out-of-towners pose one of the biggest issues for Halloween regulation.
“Hundreds, thousands, — maybe tens of thousands of strangers — are getting trashed, destroying our community, creating a big mess in the name of having a good time. And then they leave,” Young said. “That’s the problem.”
Every year, the state and county spend upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars on policing, paramedics, hospital emergencies and other costs.
“We have hundreds of police and dozens, if not hundreds of emergency personnel. This is all happening because of people who decide to come here and do that to us. As a citizen of this community, it frankly pisses me off that these people feel like they can come here, trash it and then leave me with the bill,” Young said.
Yonie Harris, UCSB Dean of Students, said money could easily be conserved if the Halloween celebrations are limited to locals only.
“What really upsets me and has always upset me is the waste of tax dollars — in a time like now when the state, county, and university are in a financial crisis, it is quite unfortunate that we have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on public safety, clean up, transportation, medical support, etc. for a big party that centers around drinking,” she said in an e-mail. “I can think of so many other things that those resources could be used for.”
MacIan said that, ultimately, it is the students’ responsibility to keep Halloween safe and fun.
“For people in I.V., if you want [Halloween] to be good, then make it good. There’s nobody else there to make it good for you,” she said. “You can’t expect it to be Disneyland, because it’s not fucking Disneyland.”