Campus organization La Escuelita and Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD) hosted Safe Halloween Saturday at Children’s Park.
The event aims to give I.V. youth an opportunity to celebrate Halloween a week before Oct. 31, as parties and out-of-town visitors can make I.V. unsafe for children to trick-or-treat in their own neighborhood. More than a dozen organizations collaborated to put on the event with activities like face painting, bounce house and Halloween-themed games.
La Escuelita co-chair and fourth-year math and Spanish double major Sonia Acuna said the annual event provides a fun and safe place for local children to enjoy Halloween.
“It’s a tradition to have it every year, to have a safe space for children to come play and celebrate Halloween,” Acuna said. “Obviously, in Isla Vista it isn’t always the best place to go trick-or-treating on Halloween night, so we try to bring it to them even though it’s the weekend before.”
La Escuelita co-chair and fourth-year statistics major Jose Neri said students often forget there are many families who live in I.V.
“Halloween in I.V. is very party-like, and it’s not a very ideal place for kids to go trick-or-treating,” Neri said. “Also, most students here don’t have candy to give out to little kids, so that’s why we do this for the little kids.”
Acuna said Safe Halloween is made possible through the support of local organizations.
“We invited them all to have a booth or little activity for the kids to play and have fun,” Acuna said. “It’s really awesome to have them here. There’s about 15 or 16 orgs here right now… it fills up the park and it feels nice to have their support here.”
Lambda Theta Alpha member and third-year Chican@ studies major Cristina Cota said she and her sorority sisters were “excited to participate” in Safe Halloween.
“I think it’s a really great opportunity for children who don’t really have access to the typical Halloween trick-or-treating experience in their neighborhood that you would see on T.V. or that you grow up with in a hometown,” Cota said.
Acuna said IVRPD, Community Affairs Board (CAB), and Isla Vista Community Relations Committee (IVCRC) contributed funds to Safe Halloween.
“[IVRPD] covered a fee of about almost $300,” Acuna said. “We’re here because they helped us with that. I know CAB is donating money as well and IVCRC is also donating money, so this is possible with a lot of help from IVRPD, CAB and IVCRC.”
Cota said it is important for students to be involved in I.V. community events like Safe Halloween during their time at UCSB.
“I think it’s important for the community of Isla Vista because it shows that there’s a whole different side to us,” Cota said. “It’s really important for us to really nurture that and make sure that they get the best experience that they can, and it’s not just about coming here just to go to school, it’s also about giving back to the community.”