On October 31st, 250,000 people took to the streets of Santa Monica Blvd to celebrate West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval. Food stands, music stages, and ghouls of the night filled up a one-mile stretch of pavement from La Cienega Blvd to Doheny Dr.
People who attended were treated with a whole array of colorful and innovative costumes. Some dressed up as their favorite animated character, including Smurfette, the Teletubbies, the Ninja Turtles, and No Face from “Spirited Away.” I participated as the Yellow Angry Bird from the popular cellphone app, “Angry Birds.” A few portrayed their favorite sports icons from Macho Man Randy Savage to Rocky Balboa. Halloween at West Hollywood would not be complete without some controversial costumes such as the iGrave, a tombstone of recently departed Apple CEO Steve Jobs. There were also some individuals displaying genitalia and others portraying genitalia. Furthermore, there were those who came to the event with a political agenda, such as “Sesame Street” characters holding “Occupy ‘Sesame Street'” signs, an obvious reference to “Occupy Wall Street.”
However, unlike the aftermath of most “Occupy Wall Street” protests, there weren’t any unfriendly gestures emanating from the police overseeing West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval. Most of the cops seemed to enjoy observing the various costumes onsite, and some even lent their motorcycles for photo taking.
I was initially concerned with the number of attendants, but the population didn’t seem as dense as I previously thought. Crowding mostly occurred near stages, food stalls, and those posing for photos, but it was certainly not consistently crowded throughout Santa Monica Blvd. Obviously, traveling from one side to the other took longer, and as a result, I was usually situated by the west side of the carnaval while the rest of our blogging team stayed on the east side.
From La Cienega to Doheny, I noticed about three to four stages. One of them had an energetic cross-dressing, transgender band perform covers of Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to get the crowd dancing. There were numerous food stalls present within the carnaval as well as several illegal bacon hot dog vendors outside to keep ghouls full and satisfied throughout the night.
Since it was held on a weekday, the carnaval this year ended early at 11pm so I spent the rest of the evening at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on 9015 Sunset Blvd with some friends. The Rainbow Bar is famous as a regular hangout for “Black Sabbath” singer Ozzy Osbourne, “Motorhead” singer Lemmy Kilmister, actor Johnny Depp, and more. It is a wonderful place to chat with musicians and music lovers, and drinks cost only $5. The $5 cover charge also pays for your first drink. I was also told that their $15 medium size pizzas are quite excellent, but I didn’t get the opportunity to try them.
West Hollywood is definitely a place to go if you want to have the full LA Halloween experience. Free street parking is difficult but not impossible since there are some spaces available southeast of Santa Monica Blvd and La Cienega Blvd, but like always, be wary of parking signs. You will see some people showing their genitalia, which may make this event inappropriate for those under eighteen. There are approximately 50,000 people who show up throughout the evening each year, but as shown this year, the crowd doesn’t get chaotic. If you are claustrophobic, I suggest you attend the event from 6PM to 7:30PM, when less people are present. If you missed the event this year, do make sure to check it out next Halloween.
Finally, please enjoy the following photos of me as the Yellow Angry Bird.
Until next time,
this is Steven rolling out.