Ghouls hiding in gnarled, old oak trees. Ghosts haunting old, Victorian homes. Witches flying through a lightning-streaked sky. This is definitely not Santa Barbara.
With its tall, graceful palms, new Spanish-style architecture and never-say-rain weather, Santa Barbara just doesn't have the spooky feel of Halloween. But luckily, the locals don't care. And they've got plenty of tricks and treats planned for goblins night.
Once regarded as the best Halloween party this side of mortality, Isla Vista's street scene has turned a bit tricky. Somewhere between Ft. Lauderdale's spring break and Pamplona's running of the bulls, the party packs plenty of fun spectacle. For some, there may still be a bit too much drunken revelry, but since the university and police took charge about five years ago, the event has reverted back to an old-fashioned, costumed promenade. It can't be beat for good people-watching.
About 10,000 people are expected to gather along Del Playa Drive and Sabado Tarde Road, showing off their spooky threads and stopping off at the many homes and apartments along the way.
For those a little more faint of heart, Santa Barbara offers some less spooky treats. The Society for Jazz & World Music presents The Fat Band on Halloween at 8 p.m. at the Center Stage Theater in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center.
The chamber music group has been entertaining--and sometimes shocking--audiences over the past 10 years with its brazen improvisations. Prizes will be given for the best costumes. Admission is $7. For information, call 963-3575.
The Center Stage Theater will offer a few howls for Halloween as another form of improvisational entertainment, the improv comedy troupe Cahoots, performs Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7. For information, call 963-0408.
Knights in shining armor and ornately clad damsels are some of the costumed folk who will be seen during the Society for Creative Anachronism's "Medieval Halloween." The free event features a costume show, a jousting tournament and hands-on demonstrations of brass-working. The Thursday presentation runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Goleta Public Library, 964-7878.
Forget the caramel apples and even the peanut brittle. For a real treat, San Diego-born Gustavo Romero, a 25-year-old pianist who has won competitions throughout the United States and Europe, will play at UC Santa Barbara's Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, Friday at 8 p.m. Romero is the 1989 winner of the prestigious Clara Haskil Piano Competition in Vevey, Switzerland. He has appeared as a soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras.
Selections for Thursday night's show include works by Scarlatti, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Schubert. Tickets are $11 and $14. For information, call 893-3535
Other works by Schubert, as well as some by Mozart, will be performed by The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Tuesday at the Lobero Theatre. The show will be conducted by Heiichiro Ohyama, who is also the music director of the orchestra and principal violist/assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show cost $13.50 to 18.50. For information, call 963-0761.
The Santa Barbara City College faculty will present its own chamber concert Sunday at 8 p.m. at the school. Tickets are $6. For information, call 965-5935.
The "Tournee of Animation" will conclude its run at the Victoria Street Theater Nov. 1. The 22nd annual tournee includes 18 premieres and features "Balance," the 1989 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short. Tickets are $6 and $4 for matinees. For information call 965-1886.