Among Davis’ ghosts, goblins, trick-or-treaters, pumpkin-carvers and costume-adorners this Halloween were 11 houses of party organizers who took the meaning of the concept “block party” to encompass a hefty portion of the city’s college student population.
“Scared Stiff on Radcliffe,” a large Halloween block party on Radcliffe Drive, had a turnout of at least 1,000 Friday night, according to the Davis Police Department.
Kirstie Mendoza, one of the organizers, brought the houses on the street together to plan the event. The vision was to create a “mini-Santa Barbara,” a campus that is extremely well-known for its Halloween festivities.
The logistics of such a huge celebration were challenging.
Orange balloons designated which houses were holding parties. In most houses, the garage and backyard were open to partygoers. Whether or not the inside was open was up to each house.
Of course, the police were interested as well.
Many people arrived before the 9 p.m. start time, when the DPD initiated extra service in the area. About 40 minutes later police received the first party complaint, according to the DPD crime blotter.
“Even before then they were already patrolling our street around three or four in the afternoon and they knew about the party before Friday,” said Mendoza, a junior economics major. “They knew what to expect.”
“We initiated an incident at 9:40,” Sergeant Glenn Glasgow said. “At that time the officers estimated that there was well over 1,000 people in attendance.”
Police issued several noise tickets and tickets for minors in possession. There was no physical arrest and one person was taken into custody for being drunk in public, he said.
“When someone got arrested that was the catalyst towards the end,” Mendoza said. “[The police] started breaking up the parties and started giving citations. We received a [noise] citation and that was pretty much it. We had to pick out the people we wanted to stay. We had to shut down or else the cops would come back.”
Due to rain and the relatively early police appearances, the party did not last as long as the organizers and attendees had hoped.
Jeff Phang, junior managerial economics major, said he drove by around nine and heard it was shut down, but headed back over around 10.
“By the time we got there, around 10, the cops were in the middle of the street but the parties were still going,” Phang said. “I think they were observing at first but they started going into the houses and shutting down the parties one by one. As people were starting to leave they were trying to keep the street clear.”
Officers were observing the partygoers and were controlling traffic through the street.
“The [people responsible] for the party shut their party down voluntarily,” Glasgow said. “We cleared the scene at 11:40. It doesn’t look like we went back. We didn’t get another call.”
To make festivities last as long as possible, organizers settled on a maverick strategy.
Beforehand, Mendoza and other organizers made flyers and distributed them to neighbors in the entire Radcliffe Drive and the neighboring areas – Scripps Drive and Holly Lane.
“We were highly considering getting a noise permit but that just tells police where the party is at,” Mendoza said. “We just didn’t want to talk to police. We were hoping there would be enough people that it would be difficult to stop but it didn’t happen because of the rain.”
Despite the hospitality of Radcliffe residents, some partygoers couldn’t resist petty theft.
Mendoza and her roommates changed their bedroom door locks and put all their valuables inside, but certain items were still stolen. Although they allowed people to use bathrooms, items were still stolen. Perfume, shaving cream and razors were gone, and someone even took a shower, said Mendoza.
“The entire street was red cups and trash,” Mendoza said.
But that was a good sign.
“I definitely think it was a success because even though we got a citation and got shut down, [my] house became an open house party because no one wanted to be in the rain, so they came to our house. I guess the block party didn’t happen but it was definitely a success.”
Residents on Radcliffe Drive have had block party events in the past, where attendants “party-hop” from house to house. The last Halloween event was two years ago where more than 1,000 people came. The celebration lasted until 1 a.m. “because the cops did not expect it at all,” said Mendoza.
Phang said that he appreciated the effort of the Radcliffe organizers.
“I feel bad for them because they got shut down so early. It seems like a lot of people thought that after it got shut down something would come up again. It would have been a great event to go to.”
POOJA KUMAR can be reached at email@example.com.