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In Isla Vista on Halloween, a rainbow can be a more powerful symbol than some might anticipate.

Courtesy Nicki Arnold's drunk friend

In Isla Vista on Halloween, a rainbow can be a more powerful symbol than some might anticipate.


Halloween in Isla Vista - Times Three

Eye on I.V.’s Three Columnists Each Offer a Perspective on Festivities


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

With Halloween finally behind us, Isla Vista is tired and breathing a sigh of relief. Now that we’ve gotten at least one full night’s sleep, we, the Eye on I.V. columnists, have taken a look back on the weekend and can dole out our thoughts on how it all went. Henry Sarria’s got a run down of the night in general, Nicki Arnold gives you a glimpse of how a simple costume got turned into a violent political symbol, and Cat Neushul wraps it up with cleaning up the mess after the party.

As exhausting as the ordeal may be, it’s just another one of those things that makes I.V. unique.

Everybody Parties on Halloween

By Henry Sarria

Tyvek suit? Check. M-17 gas mask? Check. Latex gloves? Check! Let’s hit the streets of Isla Vista and see how a real Halloween celebration is done!

Sure, La Crosse, Wisconsin, has Oktoberfest, New Orleans, Lousiana, has Mardi Gras, and Time Square in New York has New Year’s Eve. But there is something about Halloween in Isla Vista that allows anyone of any age to relive those bygone days of youth and feel proud in the process.

My wife (dressed in a Mardi Gras feather mask, miniskirt, and high-heeled boots) and me (dressed as Hazmat guy) hit the streets just as the sun went down. We hit the party mecca known as Del Playa Drive and it was an instant return to childhood fantasyland.

We saw Gingi the gingerbread man, found Waldo, hung out with lucha libre luchadores, naughty nurses, Teletubbies, nasty schoolgirls, pimps, and Wonder Woman. The one thing I couldn’t understand was why were so many guys dressed as Officer Dangle from Reno 911. (They say a costume is a function of inner fantasies, and if this is true … )

So the party was on! On the way to Del Playa we noticed some of the local families out with their kids trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. That was awesome to see, considering the sentiment by some in this college town against the presence of families or anybody not a UCSB student. Keep in mind, boys and girls, they’ve been here longer than many of you will ever be and will remain long after you’re gone. A simple rule: Be good to your neighbors.

My costume drew a lot of thumbs ups and on numerous occasions I was asked if I’ve ever taken bong rips using my trusty M-17 gas mask. My answer was no, I haven’t, especially since I don’t smoke pot, but thanks for the suggestion.

It was awesome to see everybody in the mix having fun and showing respect to the officers on hand to oversee the wildness known as Isla Vista Halloween. Both sides of the fence looked like they were having fun and there didn’t seem to be the tension that used to exist in the past. I think we’ve all moved past that, but I’m just stating that from my point of view. I spoke with a few officers I know and they said all was going as smooth as possible.

As the night progressed, so did the crowd capacity on Del Playa. That’s when we made or escape to our home on Sueno.

Saturday night was a repeat of the Friday night madness, but it seemed a little less crowded since the “official” Halloween night was Friday. Still, lots of costumes, laughs, and fun.

As Sunday morning rolled around it was funny to see survivors of the previous night’s festivities stroll down our street, a bit worn from the fun, some lugging backpacks, pillows, and sleeping bags to make their treks back to wherever home might be. The one that had my wife laughing was the guy walking down the street calling for his mommy in a distressed voice. I think he got the worst of Isla Vista Halloween.

These days, with every negative influence thrown at us from every direction, it is great to see that on one night in a densely populated town, everybody can come together and celebrate in a way that no other place can compare to. Happy Halloween, Isla Vista! You came through again.

Party Politics

By Nicki Arnold

When I went wandering down Del Playa Drive on Friday, October 31, dressed in my hot pink flamingo costume, I wasn’t planning on talking politics. But then I walked down the block behind three friends’ huge rainbow, arm and arm with another friend who happened to be a girl, and I didn’t have much of a choice.

My friends Krista and Emily created a five-foot-tall cardboard rainbow, cut it in half and made face holes near the bottom of each side so they could hold up their creation and stick their heads through. Their friend dressed as a pot of gold and followed them around all night. While they all happen to be pro-gay rights and anti-Proposition 8, they said they didn’t make the costume because they wanted to make a statement. Rainbows are pretty, which makes them as good a costume as any.

But some couldn’t appreciate the rainbow for its aesthetic beauty.

Fucking fags!” more than one group of jerks yelled at us. Angry revelers looked straight at the rainbow and punched it, seemingly pissed that anyone would celebrate a rainbow’s existence.

Courtesy Nicki Arnold's drunk friend

In Isla Vista on Halloween, a rainbow can be a more powerful symbol than some might anticipate.

Yes on Prop. 8!” some people shouted proudly right at our faces, like if they yelled it loudly enough we’d take their side. Emily started to get understandably feisty and nearly knocked out a dude - there is no other way to describe this fellow - who shouted anti-gay vulgarities at us.

Thankfully, not everybody is insane. Plenty of Halloweeners cheerfully skipped under the cardboard and treated it as just a rainbow, not a strong political symbol. We got plenty of high fives and “No on 8!” chants going, but not by starting them ourselves.

When the group of us reached our final destination on the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive, we collapsed and looked at each other incredulously, hardly believing what we had just seen.

Then again, with this huge election looming just a few days beyond the festivities - and knowing that alcohol only makes emotions that much stronger - what were we really expecting?

When the Party’s Over

By Cat Neushul

Yes, I was there. I saw the girls in their underwear walking down the street. I saw the guy in the loincloth flaunting his body as he closed the door of his car. I saw the multitudes of drunken people walking, stumbling, or falling as they made their way down Del Playa. I saw the police mounted on their horses moving in formation as they went to their post at the end of Camino Corto. I heard the helicopters and police sirens. I saw the partygoers sitting on the ground as they waited for the police to take them away. And then I saw what happens when the party is over.

After the Halloween celebration, Del Playa and the rest of I.V. looked like one big trash dump. There were red beer cups all over the street, a large cactus with beer cartons decorating each of its spears, and random trash all over the open spaces.

Just as I was starting to get depressed looking at this mess, I happened to walk by the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District office. There were people lined up to help pick up trash for the annual Clean-O-Ween event. According to Eric Shakelian, the Adopt-A-Block supervisor, more than 200 people showed up to help this year. Armed with trash pick up tools, they filled up more than 150 trash bags.

I think it’s the best one so far,” Shakelian said.

And there you have it. Just when you think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, people come along and do something to make things better. I hope the same will be said about the rest of the country. By the time you read this, we’ll know who our new president will be, and I hope it’s someone who’s willing to get out his trash picking up tools and start cleaning things up.

Jagwar Ma

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