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Photos: West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval, LA's biggest party

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Gerry Regan, left, and Denny Gerber dance during the start of the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval on Santa Monica Boulevard on Wednesday night.

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Jean Sebastien Roques and Alice Barbier of France kiss outside Hamburger Haven on Santa Monica Boulevard. Officials expect that up to half a million costumed partiers filled the streets on Wednesday.

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Gracia Martin of San Pedro dances at the Turntable of Terror Stage. The annual carnival was held from 6 – 11 p.m.

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Attendees dressed as President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama drew many to take photographs on Santa Monica Boulevard. The carnival has taken place in West Hollywood since 1987.

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Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird listen to performances at the Drag Hotel of Horrors, the main stage which features a rock and roll drag show.

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Carnival-goers take photographs of an elaborate costume. The carnival stretched from Robertson to La Cienega Boulevards on Santa Monica.

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Members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Los Angeles take part in an ancient spiritual dance.

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Wayne Zanner dresses as Charles Nelson Reilley from Match Game '74.

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A passerby covers his ears as dancers enjoy music by DJ Moses Truzman at the Turntable of Terror Stage.

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Rachel Marete, studying in California from Kenya, takes a photograph of her friends outside Hamburger Haven on Santa Monica Boulevard.

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A rock and roll drag show takes place on the Drag Hotel of Horrors stage at San Vicente Boulevard.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Attendees take photos of unique costumes during the Los Angeles area's second-largest annual event, second to the Tournament of Roses Parade.

It’s Halloween! There are parties all over Los Angeles, but the most famed is the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Officials expect up to half a million costumed partiers. There will be entertainment on six stages, but the real draw is seeing the crowds of people and who has the most creative — or most provocative — costume. (And be sure to check back here tonight when we post our photo gallery of the Carnaval's best costumes!)

The main stage is the Drag Hotel of Horrors stage, featuring a rock drag show with, most importantly, pyrotechnics. Hopefully any tassels are out of the line of fire.

You’ve also got the Dungeon of Sin stage, which features several bands including one of my personal favorites, Vaud and the Villains. There’s also the slightly more tame-sounding Thrills and Chills stage. In addition, there are three DJ stages for dancing with all your friendly neighborhood PSYs, Carly Rae Jepsens, Big Birds and binders full of women.

RELATED: Show us your awesome Halloween costume and we'll share it

If you are going to be driving anywhere in the remote vicinity of West Hollywood, though, be wary — traffic is a nightmare around the festival, with street closures galore, most closing early Wednesday and not reopening until Thursday morning. Here are the closures:

  • San Vicente Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica will be closed all day
  • Santa Monica between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard, including all side streets, closes at noon
  • Robertson Boulevard between Melrose and Santa Monica closes at noon
  • Almont Drive and La Peer Drive will be closed from Santa Monica to Melrose starting at noon
  • San Vicente between Cynthia Street and Santa Monica closes at noon
  • Santa Monica between La Cienega Boulevard and Holloway Drive/Croft Avenue closes at 4 p.m.
  • La Cienega between Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica closes at 4 p.m.
  • The Sunset east and westbound turn lanes onto La Cienega close at 4 p.m.

West Hollywood is suspending permit parking restrictions for Halloween, which can be good for visitors, but parking meters will still be enforced. You also need to watch which side of the lines you’re on, as restrictions will still be in place in neighboring Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

You can park off the street in West Hollywood city-operated parking — for 20 bucks. You can find out more on the city’s website at weho.org.

There’s also a special bus operating, starting at 5:30 p.m. and running until 12:30 a.m. It will take you down Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards in the area.

The Carnaval’s honorary mayor is actor Donovan Leitch Jr., who played transgender rock star Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Leitch is also the son of famed folk singer Donovan, perhaps best known for “Sunshine Superman.”

The party officials starts at 6 p.m. and officially ends at 11 p.m., but the chances of everyone turning in for the night at that point are rather low. Have fun and stay safe, everyone.

With contributions by KPCC wire services

Mike Roe
Mike Roe, Digital News Producer/Blogger

Mike Roe is the lead writer for KPCC's pop culture blog, Without A Net. When he's not busy being a journalist, he writes and performs comedy around L.A.

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