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All we wanna do is have some fun: Hallowe’en Carnaval in WeHo is a no-no

Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard…

Hallowe’en is upon us, dear readers, and given the state of the wider world at the moment, there is a lot to make one scared. 

Sadly, at a time when everyone needs a little light relief, the West Hollywood City Council in California has cancelled their world famous annual fright night  celebrations for the third year in a row, despite the COVID pandemic being over, officially at least.

What a bunch of insufferable killjoys.

I should point out that I’m not actually a huge fan of Hallowe’en, or any regulation public holiday in fact — that air of compulsory enthusiasm that everyone must celebrate the same thing usually leaves me cold.

However, I don’t begrudge those who do, and, for my sins, did attend the city’s 2016 event as I was in Los Angeles for other reasons (Pet Shop Boys concert, Highway 1 road trip, family visit – in that order), and my date and I had a riot of fun, despite our both being jetlagged after the long flight from Sydney.

For your spooks with some sass, WeHo’s Hallowe’en Carnaval was not only one of the most remarkable seasonal events in the SoCal calendar, but it just might have been the most wickedly exceptional Hallowe’en festival in the world. 

This was definitely the place to mingle with throngs of La La Land’s larger than life characters decked out in spooky, silly, sexy and just plain over-the-top costumes as they descend on Santa Monica Blvd. for a blaze of harmless debauchery like no other.

A bit different to the days of olde back in Blight,y of having to lock your pussy in while fireworks go off in all directions for an entire week or more as an endless parade of pissed up chavs knock at your door, shouting “trick or treat!” with increasing menace through your hastily taped-up letterbox.

Surveying the photos from the parade of six years ago we clearly had a blast, cavorting with some of the West Coast’s larger than life characters and their amazing, often hand-crafted outfits, helping to take our minds off the loss of Prince and Bowie and the impending doom of Trump and Brexit.

It’s funny how even a gaggle of bible bashers lurking at the gated entrance with a sign telling revellers to “Perish” couldn’t dampen our spirits. 

Even though I was dressed as a Greek priest, I couldn’t stop myself from telling these religious reactionaries how much their lives would be improved if they stopped quoting passages from the holy book and took greater care of their own passages… with a succession of frozen marrows.

They didn’t look too happy.

Joel, my twinky Aussie, was Anubis, the Egyptian half man/half dog god of death, and for a good few hours we partied with innumerable freaks, uniques, dykes and lookalikes. 

I particularly enjoyed doing a Ronno and going down on the female Prince’s purple guitar (though she didn’t really get the gag, ho ho).

The button-eyes Blackstar Bowie boy told me he owned my BowieStyle book, which was jolly nice (I think he said his name was John from New York).

Alas, meeting the bearded gent dressed as Henry Jones Sr. would turn out to be a poignant one, especially as much of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was shot near where I grew up in Buckinghamshire, and an extra who worked on it would later tell a very envious me how cool it was hanging out with Sean Connery: “He was just one of the guys!”

The original 007 would pass away four years to the day on 31 October 2020, so these lovely photos are for you Mr C, wherever you are.

Oh yeshh.

Steve Pafford

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