While exactly how Halloween in Isla Vista grew from an evening of anti-law enforcement riots in 1978 to the biggest college party in California remains unclear, the ensuing ordinances, outsiders and regulations have left many Gauchos taking a page of Snoop’s book and trying to lay low.
Ready or not, a crowd akin to last year’s 24,000 is at this moment descending upon our shores to perpetrate a hoedown of community-devouring proportions — one you couldn’t escape even if you wanted to, particularly if you call IV’s southwestern quarter your stomping grounds. Despite the inconvenience of having one of our decade’s most legendary events brought right to our doorsteps, our campus hosts a variety of resources that can help your holiday seem like less of a Hitchcock film.
UCSB’s Drug and Alcohol Program organized a demonstration featuring students splayed out on mattresses surrounded by archetypical red cups near the Student Resource Building yesterday in an effort to keep substance safety a main concern for party-goers.
Drug and Alcohol Program Intern David Tannin said the display sought to convey the somber regularity of alcohol poisoning through a representation of a familiar IV Hallow’s Eve tradition.
“It’ll help someone realize that they should call 911 and that they do need paramedic help,” Tannin said. “A lot of the time people just don’t think about it, and I just insist people think about it before inviting people over or before partying too hard.”
If you encounter someone who won’t wake up, is breathing slowly or irregularly, has pale skin and is vomiting while passed out, call 911 immediately and try to ensure they remain conscious.
Despite the holiday’s customary emphasis on using fear to derive amusement, Rape Prevention Education Program intern Corina Herrera said the group is working to ensure that students can enjoy themselves while staying safe and aware.
“We are trying to get the word out that Halloween should not be a scary time for the IV community,” Herrera said.
Second-year political science and history major Joe Corral said while the weekend will always be about costumes, hook-ups and handles at heart, its popularity necessitates a cautious approach.
“I think that students should definitely incorporate the fun side of Halloween but also think about the serious issues that go on during Halloween like sexual harassment and other dangers,” Corral said. “A lot of people that don’t go here get incredibly intoxicated, provoking students and causing problems that typically wouldn’t happen.”
Since overnight overpopulation of nonresident revelers renders locals vulnerable, Herrera, a fourth-year global studies and sociology major, said students should try to familiarize themselves with the center’s services including counseling, legal support and self-defense workshops.
“I believe there are a lot of different types of abuse, such as street harassment and assault, that go unreported during this time,” Herrera said. “As a student it is very important to know the resources that are available at hand.”
The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline number is (805) 564-3696.
Tannin, a fourth-year biopsychology major, said the event would not be a cause for concern if it were a strictly residential party.
“Statistics show that almost all the arrests and all the vandalism [are] from non-UCSB students,” Tannin said. “Mostly, UCSB students are much more respectful of each others’ property in the Isla Vista community and by keeping it local, it means we’re saving a lot of time and a lot of damage throughout the campus and the area.”
Due to the expanded constituency of heathens, third-year political science and philosophy major Carol Crowley said it is easy for things to go sour if students don’t implement extra safety precautions over the course of the weekend.
“It is important to go out with a plan — maybe have some of the phone numbers available to students in case of an emergency, and also have a meeting spot,” Crowley said.
Rosalinda Diaz contributed to this article.