holly 1Photos: Clinton Steeds

Each year hundreds of thousands of Halloween revelers flock to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood on October 31 for the most fabulous Halloween event in the country—The West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnival.

As the largest street fair in West Hollywood, this annual street fair attracts freaks, creeps, ghosts and ghouls. People from all around California join West-Hollywooders dressed in their best Halloween costumes for a night of fun and frivolity.

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This year marks the Halloween Carnival's 26th year of Halloween fun. The blocked-off stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny and La Cienega sets the stage for the carnival. Local restaurants set up stands and famous food trucks roll up to sling some of the best street foods in Hollywood. Several stages are set up for big name DJs, live bands and celebrity performances.

One of the most anticipated events of each Halloween Carnival is the annual costume contest. Some people go all-out on their ornate costumes. The judging for the costume contest happens on Facebook these days, via the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival Facebook page. Just join the community, snap a photo of yourself in your costume and tag the photo with your name and community group. In order to win, you need to actually attend the carnival.

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The costume contest is not the only event to have a winner selected. Each year, one celebrity entertainer and guest is selected to be don the honorary title of ‘Queen of the Carnival’. Winners from previous years include Ricki Lake and Rihanna.

The street fair itself starts at 6pm and winds up around midnight, but many of the local bars guarantee that they will keep the party going long after the street fair has shut down.

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Carnival Tips

  • Parking for the event fills up fast, so either arrive early or be prepared to walk a decent distance to and from your car.
  • If your costume includes high heels, take a pair of comfortable shoes for walking. This carnival is no small affair and it requires a fair amount of walking.
  • The Halloween Carnival is not fun for pets. The City of West Hollywood asks that carnival goers leave pets at home or check them into a kennel.
  • The Halloween festivities are G-rated. R-rated costumes are heavily policed and not allowed in the festival, but some may be more PG-13 than some parents like.
  • Try to make a bathroom pit stop before arriving if at all possible. Due to the sheer number of people, the bathroom lines start up pretty early in the night. Try to get in the bathroom line at least 15 minutes before you really have to go.
  • The City of West Hollywood offers a Halloween-only FrankenRide service. The special service will stop at metro stops all over the city to take partygoers to the carnival and then back home. The FrankenBus service stops running at midnight.
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