2023 Update: After going on hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival returned in 2022. For Halloween 2023, they promise to be “better than ever.”
The city’s vaccine verification requirements are no longer in effect, but visitors are advised to adhere to COVID-19 guidance established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The city’s website provides useful links here.
West Hollywood Halloween Carnival Information
Santa Monica Boulevard, between Doheny & La Cienaga
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Parking: Difficult (unless you come way early). With Santa Monica blocked off to automobiles, the traffic clogs the other major street arteries, making it difficult to get close to the event. Best bet is to part a few blocks away and walk.
Launched in 1987, this annual street parade of costumed adults began years ago as a primarily gay event, featuring local residents, but it has gradually grown into a major attraction that draws outsiders eager to see what the fuss is all about. The result is a sort of carnival-freakshow that diverges somewhat from more traditional Halloween events — i.e., you will see far more drag queens than skeletons and monsters. (Some of the more clever costumes combine both concepts, such as “Bobbi” the homicidal transvestite alter ego of Michael Caine in DRESSED TO KILL.) The elaborate nature of many of the home-made costumes goes far beyond impressive into the realm of the totally fabulous – and often risque and outrageous. Consequently, West Hollywood recommends leaving the kids at home. Whether or not you’re gay, it’s a great way to spend Halloween in Los Angeles.
In addition to the costumes, there are multiple music stages along the boulevard. Alcohol is not allowed on the street, but there are many bars where revelers can pause to imbibe. Backpacks, camera bags, and totes are not allowed; carry items in clear plastic bags, or simply bring some I.D. and a credit card.
After going dark during the 2020 pandemic, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival remained on hiatus in 2021. In a September 9 announcement, the City of West Hollywood informed the community that the city “remains in a declared local emergency…and is focused on efforts to protect public health and safety,” explaining that the event could not return because of the surge Covid-19 infections in the area due the Delta variant. By 2022, the pandemic was sufficiently under control for West Hollywood to resurrect the Carnival.