Hit Softly and Carry a Big Pillow

April 4, 2013
“Take that, you memory-foam lover!”
“Take that, you memory-foam lover!”

International Pillow Fight Day is a chance to revert to childhood, scare tourists and take out your aggression on strangers without getting arrested. This year’s event, organized by Capitol Improv, starts with a brief skirmish near the Washington Monument at 3 p.m. Saturday, then moves on to Dupont Circle for a 4 p.m. melee. We asked the fight’s lead organizer, Oscar Soto, for survival tips.

Weapon
Down pillows are forbidden; they explode and make messes, which annoys authorities. Soto’s recommendation for dominating the battle: “Have a really large pillow.” He also suggests using a pillowcase for a firmer grip. That’s the hygienic choice as well. Other players don’t want your skin cells and dust mites all over them.

Wardrobe
Avoid glasses. Organizers note on Facebook that they’ve seen at least one broken nose caused by a pillow-glasses collision.

Tactics
The biggest advantage, Soto says, is a lack of height. “The shortest pillow-fighters tend to be the best,” he says. “Everyone aims at the tall guy.” Which is why you should avoid the popular pillow-fighting move of riding on another person’s shoulders: It makes you an easy (and dangerously unstable) target.

Washington Monument, Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW; Sat., 3 p.m., free. (Smithsonian)
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Mark Jenkins · April 3, 2013