It’s that magical time of year again: costume superstores are in full swing and seem to have appeared on every corner, girls begin to plan their costumes around the least amount of clothing possible, and every student at UCSD asks the same question — what am I going to do for Halloween? While no one would dispute that UCSD is a great academic university, few would say that our campus supports great partying.
If handing out miniature Snickers to trick-or-treaters is your idea of a great time, then UCSD is the place for you; however, for those who want to party on Halloween, a trip up to UC Santa Barbara, home of the largest Halloween celebration in California, may be called for.
Del Playa Drive — the main street in the student-friendly Isla Vista community in which UC Santa Barbara is situated — is ground zero for partying. Sometimes referred to as Bourbon Street West, Del Playa is filled to the brim with masses of drunk, costumed college students from all over the state and county during Halloween. Last year 40,000 people flocked to Isla Vista; this year police estimate that even more will come for a weekend-long celebration. While the biggest party is on the street, every house on Del Playa seems to have a party ranging from 20 people gathered around a keg to huge, 500-people parties with live music. Sixth College Junior Sarah Green describes it as “[San Diego] State with more people and less clothes.”
Since Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, you have every reason to start celebrating at Isla Vista on Friday night. However, before the celebration begins, you have to get to UC Santa Barbara. The college is about 200 miles away, and without traffic would probably take three hours to reach. However, commute traffic may double that time. Once in Santa Barbara, you’ll need a place to stay. Whether it be a friend’s off-campus house or a cheap motel a couple miles away (you will be spending very little time there), make sure to have some place to go in the early morning. If you have friends who live on campus, do not try to stay with them: UC Santa Barbara is forbidding any visitors at the dorms over Halloween weekend.
For those not staying within walking distance of Del Playa, the best way to get there is either by taxi or by bus. However, remember there is going to be a huge demand for taxis, so there may be a bit of a wait.
Every year Santa Barbara police say that they will crack down on the annual celebration. However, last year, in a crowd of 40,000 belligerent people, only 260 citations or arrests were made, so the odds of avoiding a run-in with the police are good. Avoid doing anything blatantly stupid. For example, do not walk around the streets with an open container; instead, invest in a flask. And guys, avoid public urination: If caught, you will face a $1,000 fine.
“I saw some cops come on a couple occasions, but only for serious things,” Revelle Sophomore Omar Nassar said. “The ratio of people to cops was ridiculous. Everyone was drunk and just walked the streets up and down checking out costumes, socializing, and having fun.”
Once on Del Playa, prepare for chaos. There are parties in many houses on Del Playa, so practice Isla Vista’s trick-or-treating tradition: Walk to a house that’s partying and ask, “Got a keg?” Showing a little skin won’t hurt either; most of the time you will be invited in to partake in the festivities. Eleanor Roosevelt College Junior Brittany Bendix described her favorite Isla Vista experience.
“My most memorable experience in Santa Barbara was at a party that set up a table to dance on,” Bendix said. “There were so many people that it came crashing down, but no one noticed and kept dancing.”
Revelle Junior Jill Bardakos described moving around Del Playa, saying, “It’s harder to walk through Del Playa than to [find] a party in La Jolla.”
Last year, creative and minimal-clothing costumes ruled; Playboy bunnies and Hugh Hefners roamed the streets in mass; larger-than-life tinfoil penises and sperm swam through crowd; pirates “sailed” down Del Playa on their wheeled ships; sex fairies promised great sex for all; and Party Boy, clad only in a Speedo, greeted partyers all night.
“I would tell anyone to go to IV for Halloween,” John Muir College Junior Jeff Kemper said. “It’s an insane all-weekend, all-night-and-day party. You’ll have the time of your life.”
But he cautions, “You won’t remember any of it.” Be sure to bring a camera, a costume and endurance.