During the Isla Vista Community Services District’s Oct. 12 meeting, the board of directors approved a $10,000 grant program which will fund Halloween programming in a 6-to-1 vote. 

An additional $3,000 was set aside for community outreach to spread awareness of the pop-up Halloween events. 

The grant money will allow local community organizations to enter into a facility-use agreement with Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) to fund its respective Halloween programming and temporarily become a community facility, IVCSD General Manager Jonathan Abboud said during the meeting. IVCSD Director Spencer Brandt came up with the idea of creating a grant program in place of IVCSD solely creating programming itself. 

The board of directors engaged in a debate over whether or not sponsoring recreation events is within the scope of IVCSD’s powers. Though some directors disagreed with one another, the 6-to-1 vote ultimately went in favor of holding the pop-up events. 

“My legal analysis is that … these temporary facilities are able to be managed and operated consistent with the district’s power,” Ross Trindle, the district’s legal counsel, said. 

Trindle clarified that his analysis is from a legal standpoint, not a policy standpoint. 

The criteria to host an event include that the event is open to the public, is a positive, safe and healthy environment, draws people away from private parties and is family-friendly.  

The Halloween planning committee — composed of IVCSD Directors Brandt, Catherine Flaherty and Ethan Bertrand — said during its Sept. 28 meeting that in recent years, there has been an “imbalance between the public safety response and the needs of the community.” To address the imbalance and provide an alternative to partying, IVCSD is planning at least two pop-up events near Embarcadero Del Mar thus far. 

IVCSD is planning to partner with the Isla Vista Food Cooperative to host a costume contest on its patio on Oct. 30. In addition, the St. George Youth Center has offered to work with IVCSD to host a pumpkin carving event on Oct. 31, and the IVCSD will also help fund UC Santa Barbara Associated Students’ Haunt the Loop event on Oct. 31. 

“I’m really excited about this. The collaboration has been really strong with our partner businesses and organizations,” Bertrand said. “We’re really excited to have something that is a small step towards our goal of reimagining what Halloween and what a festival weekend is like in Isla Vista.” 

Flaherty emphasized that the grant programming will allow organizations to plan for a safe Halloween. 

“It’s been really exciting seeing all of the community conversations. So many different organizations are really hoping to plan in advance for Halloween so it can be safe and enjoyed by all residents so I’m excited to support this,” Flaherty said.  

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Atmika Iyer
Atmika Iyer (she/her/hers) is the County News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She's a lover of loud music, loud laughs and loud prints.