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Washington DC Halloween Race Features High Heels, Drag Queens

Washington DC Halloween Race Features High Heels, Drag Queensi
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October 31, 2013
Halloween is one of America’s most popular holidays. Trick or treating, going to haunted houses and gathering around fires are all part of the routine. But dressing up is probably the most famous tradition and the one Americans take most seriously. VOA’s Tala Hadavi reports on one rather unusual Halloween event.
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Tala Hadavi
— Halloween is one of America’s most popular holidays. Trick or treating, visiting haunted houses and gathering around fires are all part of the routine. But dressing up is probably the most famous tradition and the one Americans take most seriously. 

October 29 was not an average Tuesday for Felicia, Beth, and La Vita Dolce. It was the last Tuesday before Halloween…meaning time for the “DC High Heel race”.

“It’s a Halloween tradition for pretty much everyone who is gay in DC. They will either come see it or they’ll run it,” Felicia said.
 
But this is no ordinary feat. A lot of planning goes into the evening. A professional make-up artist is hired. And one must plan one's costume carefully.

“I know someone that literally works on his costume all year around,” race participant La Dolce Vita confided.

“This is my padding. It goes right here," said Felicia, as she showed the elements of her costume. "It creates the illusion of bigger hips and a little bit of a butt. This is the dress I’ll be wearing. And this is the wig with the red top hat and feathers.”

For the male participants, dressing up as women is a creative outlet.

“Growing up through school and college there was always an avenue to express yourself…and once I entered the traditional workforce, I felt like that part of my brain was slowly atrophying," Felicia explained.  "And the ability to transform yourself is a really creative venture.”

It is a venture many Washington D.C. area boyfriends, colleagues and family support whole-heartedly.

“Before, I used to be nervous about telling people but now I just figured it’s really not a terrible thing," admitted racer Beth. "Certainly for some people they might not like it but at the end of the day it’s your life and what you wanna do. “

“For us I know that we see ourselves as male," Felicia. "It’s just a fun way to interact and there’s no shame in that. It’s really rewarding.”

  • A dog dressed as Zoltar the fortune teller takes part in the 23rd annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York, Oct. 26, 2013.
  • A participant marches in the annual Halloween parade in New York, Oct. 31, 2013.
  • A man dressed as an ice queen smokes a cigarette during the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, which attracts nearly 500,000 people annually in West Hollywood, California, Oct. 31, 2013.
  • Young people in costume take part in the "Evil spirits Parade" flash mob as they celebrate Halloween in the center of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Oct. 31, 2012. Around hundred people took part in the flash mob which was organised on social networks.
  • David Nickerson, 28, competes dressed as artist Bob Ross during the ZJ Boarding House Halloween Surf Contest in Santa Monica, California, Oct. 26, 2013.
  • A family walks along Venice Boardwalk in their Halloween costumes in Venice, Los Angeles, California, Oct.  31, 2013.
  • A woman who drew part of a face on her cheek, stands among the crowd at a costume party to celebrate Halloween in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, Oct. 31, 2013.
  • Che Ereftheriou, 12, skateboards in his Gingerbread Man Halloween costume in Santa Monica, California, Oct. 31, 2013.
  • Erin Kunse dresses up as the Mona Lisa painting at the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, West Hollywood, California, Oct. 31, 2013.
  • The South Portico of the White House in Washington, D.C. decorated for Halloween, Oct. 30, 2013.
  • Betty Dillow helps her grandson with his pumpkin carving in Bristol, Virginia.
  • A diver in a skeleton costume dives during a media opportunity to mark Halloween at the Sea Life aquarium in Berlin, Oct. 28, 2013.
  • Children dressed in costumes take part in Manila's Ocean Park annual Trick or Treat event, Philippines.

  • A couple dressed in costumes ride a motorbike during the "Moto Halloween Party 2013" in Cali, Colombia,  Oct. 30, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (center left) and first lady Michelle Obama (center right) give Halloween treats to visiting children at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 31, 2013.
  • An actress in a "good witch" costume walks around ahead of a Halloween reception for children on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 31, 2013.

Participants say the race is also about mingling with familiar faces. The DC drag community is a very tightknit one.

“I wouldn’t trade the people I met through doing drag for anyone else cause I’ve met wonderful friends,” Beth said.

The high heel race has brightened Dupont Circle, one of D.C.'s most dynamic neighborhoods for 27 years.

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