Hundreds of Thousands Celebrate a Safe Carnaval in WeHo

Halloween Carnaval 2016 on Santa Monica Boulevard. (Photo by Jon Viscott, courtesy City of West Hollywood).
Halloween Carnaval 2016 on Santa Monica Boulevard. (Photo by Jon Viscott, courtesy of City of West Hollywood).

Hundreds of thousands of people turned West Hollywood into the country’s most colorful and playful (and most densely populated) city for several hours last night.

WeHo Sheriff Station Capt. Holly Perez patrolling on horseback.
WeHo Sheriff Station Capt. Holly Perez patrolling on horseback. (Photo by Richard Best, courtesy of WeHo Sheriff’s Station).

Visitors to the annual Halloween Carnaval paid tribute to the Creative City’s creativity with an eccentric variety of costumes ranging from lavish bridal gowns (worn by boys) to enormous dragons to colorful clowns that no one saw as dangerous. And of course, given the (other) season, there was a plethora of political costumes.

The event also was safe. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department reported only four arrests, all related to drunk and disorderly conduct. That compares to three last year. In nearby Hollywood a Halloween crowd experienced 40 arrests, most alcohol-related.

Given worries about terrorist attacks in crowds in California and around the world, the Sheriff’s Department stepped up security for last night’s event. There were 100 additional security personnel and staff from specialized units such as the Arson Explosives Detail, K-9 units, Sheriff’s Response Team Members (SRT), and members of the Special Weapons Teams. And a helicopter hovered overhead.

Mayor Lauren Meister estimated the cost of maintaining security this year at between $600,000 and $700,000. A study by an outside consultant estimated that Carnaval generated $2.8 million in spending in West Hollywood in 2014. Of that amount, $1.3 million went to local workers. That study estimated 225,000 people attended the event.

The event, which began in 1987, is widely believed to be the world’s largest Halloween celebration. More photos are on the pages that follow:


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blueeyedboy
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blueeyedboy

mike dunn, whoever the Halloween Carnival planners are need to be aggressive in putting a stop to this. You’re right, kids and dogs are in danger, as are the adults who have to dodge them, and it is inappropriate for kids to be a part of an adult event.

SaveWeho
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SaveWeho

@blueeyedboy: Whoops, yes you are correct. I think kids and pets shouldn’t be allowed.

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

SaveWeHo is right about the Carnival being diluted from what it used to be. I saw a woman berating a guy who was wearing a provocative costume “because children were there”. That’s what really bothers me about the growing trend in W. Hollywood, not only at the Halloween Carnival, but at the bars as well; we have to adjust the way we do things to accommodate straight people who are pushing their way in. I’ve known of women complaining about what they see gay guys doing in bars, and Monday night at Mother Lode I saw a mid-twenties girl get… Read more »

mike dunn
Guest

Who in their right mind would bring kids and pets to any event where there is wall to wall people and in the case of Halloween many dressed in provocative costumes? Not only is it inappropriate but dangerous for the kids, pets and the rest of the crowd. If some of the straights become upset with what they see in West Hollywood a trip to San Francisco’s Folsom Street event would most likely kill them. I think however they stopped the three guys from parading around Castro every night with everything hanging out, not that it was exciting.

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

SaveWeHo, I think you intended your third sentence to say “disallowed” rather than allowed.

Sadie
Guest
Sadie

I’m a dog and I went once to the Halloween Carnaval……Never again, too many scary humans.

Randy
Guest
Randy

I think children and pets should be discouraged from attending, but not while it is daylight out, before the sun goes down, and when it is far less crowded. Not to mention there is better visibility.

Weho Woes
Guest
Weho Woes

The residents and visitors to this city have a near pathological attachment to their pooches dragging them everywhere without even the first concern for their health or well being. Contemplate for a moment changing places with your pooch and see how you would like to be dragged by by the neck forever at the beck and call of your self involved owner. Our neighbor is forever replanting his eautiful front lawn and flowers because the dogsters find it irresistible as a permanent pee and dump pad. Recently I nicely asked a constant offender who drags around his sad arthritic dog… Read more »

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

I agree with Blueeedboy and Chris Sanger. This is an adult event. Kids and dogs (aside from service dogs — “real ones”) should only be allowed. This event while its grown has become more and more diluted. I remember in the late 90s when it was much smaller and more gay it was more common to see naked folks in really original costumes, body paint, etc that was fun for the adult 21+ crowd. Now we have to dial it way back because parents are bringing kids. Just isn’t what it used to be.

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

And, no, Alison, dogs are NOT attracted to the Halloween Carnival, as you said they are. I can’t imagine any dog would actually enjoy being in a crowd that large, and mostly at the feet of humans who don’t even see the dog below their range of vision. Those dogs are probably terrified! You say that City Council put out a statement that they advised people to not bring kids and dogs, but I didn’t see it, and I was watching for it. Of course I know people come from all over for this event, so there is going to… Read more »

Weho Woes
Guest
Weho Woes

Chris Sanger & blueeyedboy: Thankfully common sense is still alive and well in this remote outpost.

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

Alison, I stand by my comments about children attending the Carnival, mostly because it isn’t safe for them OR for the adults. When you are trying to work your way through a very tight crowd and then realize there is a little human standing about knee height in front of you, that little human is in danger of injury, and in trying to sidestep that tyke, I can lose my balance. Also consider this same very tight crowd when you fall over a stroller. Those kids would much rather be attending a Halloween party with other children. Children are at… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

Hundreds of thousands is ridiculous. Crowd sizes are always exaggerated for this sort of thing. Let’s be logical – 500,000 attendees 35,000 WeHo residents, of whom generously 15,000 attended. Let’s assume they all walked (not likely) Maybe another 10,000 walking from adjacent communities (likely high) That’s 25,000 people. That would mean 475,000 people had to drive or take public transportation. Let’s say 175,000 took the bus or Uber/Lyft. That would leave 300,000 people. At an average of 2 people per car (some more, some less) that’s 150,000 cars that would have to find parking spaces in WeHo. Are you kidding… Read more »