Whether you’re the type to work on a homemade costume all month or throw something together the night of, make no mistake that Halloween is taken seriously in San Luis Obispo.
As in any college town, Cal Poly students use every holiday as an opportunity to take a break from rigorous academics and have a good time. Halloween is a chance to return to the childhood activities of dressing up and taking on a new identity for the night.
This year, however, the holiday fell on a Wednesday, so many students chose to celebrate the Friday and Saturday prior.
Appropriately referred to as “Halloweekend,” the weekend held potential in a variety of ways. Some stuck to the usual party circuit, while others had their fun in different venues.
“I went to the haunted corn maze,” nutrition sophomore Rocio Gonzalez said. “It’s out by the crops unit, and you walk in and people scare you.”
The corn maze is hosted annually by the Cal Poly Crops Club, along with a “pick-your-own” pumpkin patch. The maze was open on Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m.
“About three weeks ago, we went in with machetes and cut the maze by hand,” Crops Club President Connor McKean said. “We made it nice and confusing for everybody, and we cut a bunch of dead ends because it is an actual maze.”
McKean estimated that the maze saw approximately 2,000 visitors during the weekend.
Of course, one of the traditional focal points of the holiday is costumes. This year, many students chose pop culture-themed costumes, ranging from Jersey Shore’s Snooki with her baby, Lorenzo, to players from the 2012 San Francisco Giants team.
Some students used clothes they already owned or put together homemade costumes in the interest of saving money and being creative.
“I was ‘Toddlers and Tiaras,’” business administration sophomore Victoria Ivers said. “I had this pink, extravagant dress and I bought a crown.”
Others, however, preferred store-bought costumes to make things easier.
“I was a nurse, but I bought it,” nutrition freshman Jasmine Llamas said.
However, the weekend wasn’t all fun and games. The San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) and University Police Department (UPD) partnered to crack down on common party-related crimes, using increased fines as an incentive for responsible behavior. These special consequences were in place Friday through Sunday, and will also be strictly enforced Wednesday.
SLOPD Captain Chris Staley said the two police departments make sure to maintain close communication.
“They’ve been working on communication with us and vice versa just so we know who they’re staffing and what they’re working on,” Staley said.
Staley said the special conditions for Halloween day include double fines for violations such as noise, urinating in public and open containers. They also provide for a higher number of patrolling officers from both SLOPD and UPD.
“We’ll be staffing up our levels of enforcement for that,” he said.
Staley said the reason for these policies is mainly due to the increased number of incidents SLOPD sees on holidays such as Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.
“Through the years, we’ve seen an increase in activity on certain holidays,” Staley said. “Halloween has definitely become one of them.”
It seems the increased fines are for a good reason, considering SLOPD’s busy weekend.
“Being on a Wednesday this year makes it unique because I think a lot of people celebrated over the weekend,” Staley said. “We had a higher number of arrests than what is typical for a weekend, but we had a higher staffing as well.”
A detailed explanation of policies for the holiday is available on SLOPD’s website.