Affectionately known as We-Ho by locals, the trendy town of West Hollywood gears up for another fabulous installment of it’s legendary, annual Halloween Carnaval. Held on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. PST, it is located on Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard.
This annual spectacle, celebrating its 39th anniversary this year, has become a grand event in the local community as well as a draw for people from around the world. Known far and wide as one of the best and biggest Halloween parties worldwide. With about 500,000 people in attendance, the huge sea of revelers is captured by a couple of television news helicopters. Also, in light of recent spike in attacks on large crowds, security barriers and extra officers are now set up around the festvials’ perimeter, as well as along each intersection. With so many people in attendance, slowly moving from one end to the other, all in the area are warned to take note of road closures, restricted parking signs, and are encouraged to take public transportation. Although pets and children of all ages are permitted, they are discouraged from attending due to the densely pack crowds and noise.
Unlike other traditional parades, this parade stands apart in its featured line-up. Rather than spectators lining the streets to cheer for passing processions of decorated floats, marching bands and
other featured participants, at this Carnaval, the spectators are also the stars of the show. Professional photographers, television stations and amateur documentarians alike come out in droves to capture the wide array of colorful, extravagant costumes on display. It is an exhibitionists dream and a voyeurs paradise. More than just your average costumes, many festival goers construct and wear works of art that look like they belong in a museum or high fashion catwalk. The creativity and artistry behind many of the elaborate designs is nothing short of mind-blowing.
In addition to one-of-a-kind, over the top costumes, other popular costumes this year were the killer clown, Pennywise from the “It” horror film, characters from “Guardians of the Galaxy” such as the tree-like alien Groot, and America’s most recent Presidential candidates. For several blocks down the packed streets, there were single red balloons held by creepy clowns for about as far as the eye could see.
While this street festival may have started as a simple parade, it has blossomed into part fashion runway show, part dance party, part social gathering and part music festival. Everyone from local, upcoming acts, to icons like Boy George have graced We-Ho stages for Carnaval. People come from near and afar to dance to the sounds of their favorite DJ’s performing live, show off their best costumes, and people watch, and take selfies with those who outdo them. There are even some who bring lawn chairs, food and drink, and sit along the promenade people watching the the surrounding crowd of a half-million.
Whether rain or shine, hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists alike join together for this over the top, costumed dance party, where attendees dance like no one is watching and dress like the world is watching.