Pixel Tracker

Thursday, January 24 , 2019, 5:36 am | Fair 42º


Rain Washes Out Isla Vista’s Halloween Celebration

Fears of out-of-control street party are doused by season's first major storm

Heavy showers left the streets of Isla Vista nearly deserted Friday night. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Mother Nature did what hundreds of law-enforcement officers were hoping to do Friday night — keep a damper on the potentially rowdy Halloween celebration in Isla Vista.

A downpour that dropped nearly an inch of rain in a 3-hour period left the streets of the community adjacent to UC Santa Barbara nearly deserted through much of the evening.

"Of all the Halloweens we've been to, this was the biggest washout," said Mike Eliason, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. "There was nobody on the streets."

University officials and local law-enforcement officials were hoping for the best but had planned for the worst, with the potential of some 30,000 revelers taking to the streets for Isla Vista's raucous annual Halloween street party.

A huge contingent of emergency personnel had taken up positions in the seaside community, with the shared goal of ensuring a safe holiday celebration.

Past years had seen scores of arrests and citations, as well as people being hospitalized for various injuries and alcohol poisoning.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department's armored vehicle stands ready by unused Friday night as Isla Vista's Halloween party is washed out by the season's first rain storm. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

But rain started falling at about 8 p.m. Friday, driving most of the crowds indoors.

"Everybody is inside having their parties," Eliason said, noting that he was able to easily drive down Del Playa Drive, which typically is impassible on Halloween night due to the giant throngs of costumed young people.

Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, offered a similar assessment.

"The rain definitely made things a lot more quiet," Hoover said.

The Isla Vista Theater was flooded Friday during a downpour that put a major damper on Isla Vista's typically rowdy Halloween celebration. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

By 11 p.m., the rain was easing, and both Hoover and Eliason noted that more people had begun heading out onto the streets.

Officials also were waiting to see what happened after a concert staged at UCSB's Events Center ended at about 2 a.m.

But all indications were that the season's first significant storm had washed away any chance of the kind of street violence that flared during some past Halloween celebrations, as well as during the Deltopia street party in April.

The rain did cause some other problems, including minor urban street flooding and power outages throughout the South Coast.

The Isla Vista Theater was flooded to the second row of seats after nearby drains clogged, Eliason said, and a large tree limb crashed to the street at Trigo Road and Embarcadero del Mar, blocking traffic.

No injuries were reported.

While a significant contingent of emergency personnel remained in Isla Vista late Friday night, many of the extra officers who had been brought in to help police the streets had been released, Hoover said.

Despite Friday night's fortuitous outcome, officials know they are not out of the woods, as Saturday night offers another chance for Halloween revelers to take to the streets en masse.

No rain is expected Saturday night, and officials were concerned that they will have to deal with the pent-up desires of Isla Vistans to have their Halloween party.

"It may be possibly even a larger turnout just because they were not able to participate tonight," Hoover said. "I think everyone recognizes that the weather played a big part in why we didn't have a big night tonight."

Emergency personnel plan to have full staffing again Saturday night, Hoover said, but hope that the celebration will remain smaller and more local than in recent years.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

A large tree limb broke loose Friday night, blocking traffic at Trigo Road and Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >