Monday, May 20

Party’s Over

Wednesday, October 30, 1996

Reckless Halloween

festivities in seaside Santa Barbara community scaled back after
three years of no-tolerance policies

By Karen Duryea

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In the late 1980s, the seaside
community of Isla Vista near the UC Santa Barbara campus was
reputed by Playboy magazine to be "the place to be" for a great
party on Halloween.

The publicity attracted party-goers from all over the country,
and even internationally.

"1986 was the first year (of the festivities), and it was
awful," said Naomi Johnson, associate dean of students at UCSB.

Large party crowds ­ estimated at 40,000 in some years
­ have been blamed for assaults, rapes and excessive vandalism
to Isla Vista and surrounding communities that cost residents
thousands of dollars.

Fast-forward 10 years, and the atmosphere in the town is quite
different during the late October holiday. In its fourth year of a
five-year plan, Isla Vista’s no-tolerance policy continues to be in
effect for the Halloween weekend.

"Last year, there were more cops in Isla Vista than there were
students," said Jennifer Tobkin, a second-year pre-political
science student at UCSB. "It was a police state ­ that’s a
good way to describe it."

The policy prohibits loud music during evening hours, and a full
police force practices strict law enforcement during Halloween and
the potential party nights surrounding it.

In addition, it also discourages out-of-towners, who make up 80
percent to 90 percent of arrests over the holiday weekend, from
flocking to the legendary but now-defunct Halloween parties.

"The grand jury for Santa Barbara County did a full-year
investigation of Halloween in Isla Vista," Johnson said. "The
people demanded that something be done … this is what came out of

The police force will remain at levels it has been in the past
this weekend, according to Matthew Scott, a fourth-year aquatic
biology student at UCSB and employee at the Isla Vista Recreation
and Park District.

With party-seekers calmed, Isla Vista is now attempting to
create an alternative for its local residents with this year’s Isla
Vista Halloween Carnival.

As coordinator of the Carnival, which consists of three days of
bands and activities, including a Friday celebration of Dia de los
Muertos in the local Anisq’Oyo Park, Scott says they plan to keep
the carnival limited to local residents.

UCSB students have had enough of the strict ordinances
concerning Halloween festivities, said Russell Bartholomew,
president of Associated Students at UCSB and a participant in an
advisory group consisting of students, community members and
politicians who devised the concept of a locals-only carnival.

This year’s carnival will have no alcohol, Bartholomew said. He
voted in favor of banning alcohol for this year’s festivities in
hopes that if things go well this year, students will have more
flexibility to celebrate in coming years.

"It’s a trial year," Bartholomew said. He added that the
majority of students feel things have turned around positively and
are no longer frightened to go out on Halloween, but
simultaneously, they feel they are being targeted by police.

"Students dislike the police force to an extreme degree," he
said, adding that students hear many rumors about police

"I think a lot of students are paranoid about getting snatched
up because of the overlying karma that is tossed around ­ that
the police drag you out of your cars or that they’re going to be
watching us like children," he said.

Although many students, according to Bartholomew, requested that
something be done to tone down the parties back in 1992. Today, the
no-tolerance policy is generally unpopular with students, says

"Most people I know are leaving for the weekend," she said.
Tobkin describes the precautions as outrageous, stating that
residences are locked 24 hours a day and all students are checked
for identification at all entrances. There is also a zero-guest
policy in effect through Monday.

"I’m going to completely avoid Isla Vista because of my
experience last year," she said. "Just walking down the street and
having (police) act like you were doing something wrong even though
you weren’t."

Bartholomew discussed the positive and negative aspects of the
Halloween policies.

"I think that there are a lot of good factors that come out of
the no-tolerance policy, such as police protection from possible
property damage and students from assault," he said.

Johnson, who said the Halloween parties peaked in 1992, realizes
that although they can not be allowed to return to the chaos of the
’80s, some equilibrium can be reached.

"I think it has really turned around," she said. "I think that
we need to start lessening the police force so it becomes a less
monitored thing."

The fate of Halloween festivities is a hot topic in the Tuesday
election of Santa Barbara County’s 3rd District supervisor, Tobkin

Gail Marshall’s campaign recognizes that the parties of yore got
out of hand but advocates reducing current police presence over the

"(Marshall) thinks now it’s time to loosen the control," said
Nancy Crop, Marshall’s campaign manager. "They are adults, let’s
let them have a celebration."

Incumbent Willy Chamberlain stresses the importance of not just
cutting back on the partying to curb the Isla Vista celebration but
cutting it out entirely, referring to Palm Springs and Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., as examples where once-raging holiday parties are
now virtually non-existent because of severe policies.

However, Chamberlain said he’d like to have a cross-section of
the community evaluating what should be done about Halloween in the
future, including students and the many families with elementary-
school age children currently living in Isla Vista.

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