Isla Vista Recreation & Park District hosted a free three-day celebration of Halloween from Oct. 29-31, featuring the return of its Haunted Pumpkin Patch along with a slate of various activities and community events. 

  • IVRPD held its 50th Anniversary Haunted Pumpkin Patch at Anisq'Oyo' Park, complete with cobweb decor, fog machines, eerie lights and character actors.  Shiuan Cheng / Daily Nexus
  • Attendees line up on a section of Embarcadero del Mar closed to traffic to ride the ferris wheel. Shiuan Cheng / Daily Nexus
  • Tombstone decor and fog machines create an eerie atmosphere within the park. Shiuan Cheng / Daily Nexus
  • The pumpkin patch constructed within Anisq'Oyo' Park is the final destination for all visitors, and it's where the Pumpkin Queen presides. Shiuan Cheng / Daily Nexus

Stretching from Pardall Road to Seville Road, the event closed down segments of the loop in downtown Isla Vista and brightened Anisq’Oyo Park with colorful lighting displays, an immersive theatrical experience with costumed haunting performers and film screenings.

The Halloween festival offered two nights of silent disco, a costume contest, a live “Thriller” flash mob performance by World Dance for Humanity and Día de los Muertos altars.

“The District was thrilled when we learned that its 50th anniversary would coincide with Halloween because it gave us an opportunity to shape traditional elements of Halloween into a more cross-cultural experience that celebrates the diverse history of Isla Vista,” Isla Vista Recreation & Park District (IVRPD) General Manager Kimberly Kiefer said in a press release.

In celebration of IVRPD’s 50th anniversary, the district also hosted a cake-cutting ceremony outside the district office on Oct. 31, bringing together community leaders from past and present to recognize the work and history of the district.

IVRPD collaborated with Lucidity Festival to produce the event, which drew crowds of both college students and families.

“I really like how it’s not just focused on the classic college stuff, and it takes me back to when I was younger,” second-year environmental studies major Erica Kinsel said.

This year’s Haunted Pumpkin Patch featured carnival games, a ferris wheel, themed booths with actors and various Halloween displays. 

“[My friends and I] really enjoyed doing the Hop the Loop and candy collecting,” fifth-year zoology major Vari Keasey said. 

A Halloween Passport handed out to attendees at the entrance contained a checklist of booths to visit, all illustrating a fictional storyline themed around protecting Isla Vista’s parks.

Some booths featured characters like Louie D’Ville, keen on destroying the parks, and his minion Chuck Bunger, a land developer. Additional characters included DeeKay, the anti-littering rat, an undead bellhop by the photo booth and the Pumpkin Queen, who presided over the event’s pumpkin patch. 

Lucidity Marketing Director and Co-Founder Jonah Gabriel Haas said the festival company aimed to produce creative and inclusive event programming with this year’s event.

“Lucidity simply loves working with the IVRPD and appreciate the way they show up as humble guardians of open spaces for the benefit of all Isla Vista community members. We endeavor to support them in their good work by producing, inclusive, participatory, artful experiences for people to play, grow, and dream together,” Gabriel said in the press release.

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the Nov. 3, 2022, print edition of the Daily Nexus.