I went to college at UC Santa Barbara in the late ‘80s. Great community for a youngster to experience a few years of growth, education, and play. With a large number of students living in such relatively close confines there’s ample opportunity for playful interaction, partying, ridiculous behavior, and hooch - legal and illicit. Going to class, studying, and taking exams are also sprinkled in to round out a well balanced college experience. This young populace was a key factor in a well known UCSB tradition. Halloween.
The street along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Isla Vista, the neighboring residential community immediately adjacent to the UCSB campus, is Del Playa, or known by locals as DP. There are apartments and rental homes lining both sides of the street.
On Halloween thousands of visitors descend upon Isla Vista (IV) for a vigorous round of this fabled Halloween partying. In my years as a UCSB student one was not allowed to drive their car into IV unless they had a letter addressed indicating an IV mailing address that matched their ID. This was done because it is a tiny community that is quickly congested with cars and people creating a sickly logjam if everyone who wanted to drive in for Halloween were allowed to do so.
Once all the Halloween party goers have assembled they commence with the drinking too much and otherwise inebriating themselves. As the darkness of night sets in so does a comfortable level of bravado as the youngsters don their Halloween costumes and walk along DP looking for more hooch and parties. So crowded is the street of Del Playa for a mile that you can’t walk without first considering the people in front of you and on all sides. Really, shoulder to shoulder pedestrian traffic. And let’s face it, tempers sometimes flare when drunks from different groupings commingle in passing.
I was witness on one very special Halloween galavandering to unusual and amusing fighting words. One guy, dressed as Gumby - a popular claymation character from the ‘60s and ‘70s - had apparently offended a fellow partier of another group.
“I’m gonna kick your ass, Gumby,” loudly blathered the offended one. After the laughter died down from those within ear shot there was no actual no fisticuffs.
Halloween at UCSB. Fun times. Happy I don't live like that anymore.
7 hours ago