Isla Vista Halloween crowds could be a ghost of the past

Extra enforcement and options tone event down

Isla Vista Halloween rules go into effect this weekend and that includes strict parking restrictions. (John Palminteri/KEYT photo)

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - The Isla Vista Halloween weekend scene is expected to be a ghost of its wild past, based on the quiet turnout the last few years.

A united effort to have more rules, alternative activities and a message for out of towners to stay away has calmed down what was known in some publications as the biggest Halloween party in the west. 

Many of the residents say they are going elsewhere because they can't have as much fun where they live.

Ariana De Losreyes said, "For the people who stay here we live here. Why can't we enjoy our Halloween our way? We also can't have anyone come anymore. My friends don't want to visit. They can't park their cars, they can't find a place to sleep. It sucks."

Those who live in Isla Vista say they have seen the changes because of bright spotlights, and increased patrols coming in from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, University Police and other agencies.

"In the past, we have had police officers going down the street in numbers, on their horses and patrolling in big groups," said Michelle Costanza. She says they don't try to have any parties anymore.

Costanza says, she sees the reason for the heavy enforcement. "I do feel like when there's too many people out here they get this big crowd mentality. They get pretty reckless so I do like they are not encouraging other people to come and don't want Isla Vista to be this huge Halloween party town anymore."

Fencing is already up to control people coming and going in the area. That should direct them to crosswalks instead of dangerously crossing in the middle of streets like El Colegio.

As an alternative UC Santa Barbara has a low-cost concert in the Thunderdome. That has been a big draw in the last few years and redirects the party scene to the concert where it's safer.

"It's kind of a way to keep students out of the streets of Isla Vista and on campus and still enjoy the Halloween weekend," said Costanza.

There will also be a showing of the movie classic, "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Isla Vista Theater Friday night at midnight.

One of the heavily enforced laws bans live and excessively loud amplified music. That comes with a $500 fine. Rules have been posted and emailed to residents. They show offenses and fines of up to $4,000.

Isla Vista Halloween comes with additional taxpayer costs in the thousands of dollars for overtime, and many different agencies including the Santa Barbara County Sheriff, AMR, Santa Barbara County Fire and outside agencies sending in extra personnel.

"It's enough to keep everyone safe and everyone will be fine and not drastic things are going to happen. It's going to be great," said Thelma Martinez.

There are also going to be many student-led volunteer efforts for escorting anyone who needs a safe walk home or another form of help. 

On the UC Santa Barbara campus there will be special parking permits required for the Halloween weekend. Those have to be ordered on line.  Only one permit is allowed per registered student.

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