Isla Vista Halloween House Parties to Go Digital

Lucidity and I.V. Community Services District Team Up for Virtual Halloween at Home Festival

Isla Vista | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

Isla Vista partygoers’ Halloween plans won’t be totally quashed this year — a virtual festival dubbed Halloween at Home: Virtually Lucid in Isla Vista is expected to keep parties to individual households.

Halloween in Isla Vista is known for its massive parties and out-of-town visitors joining in on the fun. Plans must change in the face of the pandemic. Last week, five UCSB fraternity and sorority houses were involved in an outbreak in Isla Vista, making it even more dangerous for potential COVID-19 transmission to occur during Halloween festivities. 

“This tends to be a busy weekend historically, so we do have a ready response for live events in I.V.,” said Raquel Zick, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. “But there’s an added concern this year is COVID. We are seeing [case] numbers rise in the I.V. area, so we are asking everyone to have a safe Halloween at home.”

So to keep people home, the virtual festival was born. The event will include bands from Isla Vista, two headlining deejay sets, an open-mic segment, and a group costume contest by household with a $1,000 cash prize, among other events. It will be hosted virtually from the Isla Vista Community Center and open to the entire public via free pre-registration for a backstage Zoom room and a Facebook/YouTube/Twitch livestream.


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The virtual event, which will be held Friday, October 30, 7 p.m.-1 a.m., was formed from a partnership between the Isla Vista Community Services District and the Lucidity Festival LLC. This is Lucidity’s third virtual event this year, one of which attracted more than 5,000 registered attendees. 

“The door hangers have gone out on 3,500 doors and emails went out to the entire [UCSB] undergraduate population,” said Jonah Gabriel Haas, the marketing director and cofounder of Lucidity Festival. “Oftentimes, one registration equals five or six people. If we have 1,000, that’s a success to me. That means 1,000 people not at a party.”

While Haas’s fun event serves as a positive alternative, those who don’t follow the public health order and temporary festival ordinance will be penalized, too. Up until now, law enforcement has largely stayed away from fining individuals in Isla Vista or elsewhere for not wearing masks, social distancing, or other violations.

“There has been a lot of collaborative planning with UCSB, SBCC, the Isla Vista Community Services District, and more,” said Suzanne Grimmesey with the county. “The messages we’re sending out and the signage let people know there is up to $1,000 fine for breaking health orders.”

Zick with the Sheriff’s Office said that deputies will enforce both the public health order and temporary festival ordinance that begins the Friday prior to Halloween from 6 p.m.-7 a.m. to coincide with the Halloween at Home festival. She said they will be increasing their staffing for Halloween weekend and will deploy mostly Foot Patrol deputies. 

UCSB also announced that they will offer free asymptomatic testing to all students in Isla Vista all Halloween weekend.


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