Last night marked the apogee of Isla Vista’s Halloween festivities, and this afternoon-miraculously-many people are out and about on the streets, enjoying one of the sunny, beautiful days for which Santa Barbara is famous. Authorities and residents alike had predicted Saturday night to see the largest crowds, and it was prophesy that came to fruition. Again, most parties were relatively quiet by the bawdy standards of I.V., but packed nonetheless.
Police officers stationed themselves in small groups along Del Playa Drive last night, for the most part quietly observing the 20,000 or so people that were estimated to be there. Del Playa was again closed to vehicular traffic, making it impossible for anyone who arrived after about 8:00 p.m. to find parking in Isla Vista. For those brave enough to attempt driving through the streets that were still open, the going was slow, as most roads were choked with costumed pedestrians.
Since many came from out of town to party, parking was scarce in the areas surrounding Isla Vista as well. Some elected to park at the Camino Real Shopping Center, but Smitty’s Towing Company had several trucks removing cars from the lot. In the morning, a fairly steady stream of pedestrians could be seen retrieving vehicles from as far away as the neighborhoods across Hollister from Camino Real.
The scene at I.V. Foot Patrol headquarters this morning was much the same as yesterday, with a Sheriff’s Deputy sleepily explaining that there were no major incidents, and that everything went pretty smoothly. Sergeant Erik Raney-the Public Information Officer for the County Sheriff’s Department-said that 90 people were physically arrested and taken to jail, and 150 criminal citations were issued on Friday night. Most of the arrests were alcohol related. The official tally for Saturday has not yet been released.
Word around the Goleta Valley Emergency Room this morning was that staff was very busy last night dealing with the influx of patients, but by 7:00 a.m. only one of them was still there. One staff member said that there were about eight or nine extra beds set up in the auxiliary treatment area, and they were all occupied-a significant increase considering the fact that Goleta’s ER only has eight beds.
From the vantage point of a balcony on the corner of Del Playa Drive and Camino Pescadero, throngs of partiers were seen below in a scene not unlike the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. Back were the faux inmates and cops, but they were joined by a bevy of other, more elaborate costumes. One man dressed as a pizza, while another group of people had painted themselves blue and paraded around dressed as Smurfs. There was also a large contingent paying tribute to the movie 300 who stormed the streets prepared for phalanx warfare.
In the aftermath of an unremarkable Halloween weekend, all that remains is to anticipate a weak reprisal of partying on Wednesday-the actual day of Halloween-and the final count on arrests and injuries associated with the event over the course of the weekend.