Halloween Is this Small Washington Town's Forte

In Boo-coda, Halloween is celebrated all month long

This article appears in print in the October 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Bucoda, a tiny town (population 560) located 20 miles south of Olympia, takes Halloween seriously. How seriously? In 2012, its town council wanted to turn the town into more of a destination, so it voted to change the city’s name to Boo-coda for the month of October, hoping to turn the out-of-the-way burg into a destination. It seems to be working: According to Bucoda Mayor Alan Carr, the festivities have expanded each year. Here are our picks for the perfect trip to get you in the Halloween spirit, costume optional.

Scary-Nights Haunted House
It’s billed as one of the scariest haunted houses around, with monsters, ghosts and things that go bump in the night—not for the faint of heart! This attraction is recommended for ages 10 and older. Weekends, 9/27–11/1. Times vary. $12–$20. 403 N Nenant St.;  (For those who are spook-averse, there’s a family-friendly haunted house 10/26–10/27 at 202 S Main St.)

Pine box derby casket race
Watch caskets on wheels—and their scary costumed “corpse” drivers—race to the finish line. Don’t miss the casket parade that precedes the race. 10/5. 11 a.m. Free. Downtown Boo-coda.

Jack-o’-lantern carving contest
Participants vie for awards given to the scariest-looking and the most creative handiwork, along with awards in various age categories. 10/19. Times and location TBD.

Hearse procession 
Last year, 17 hearses rolled down Main Street, followed by a van painted as Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Machine; this year, the procession is expected to grow. Stick around afterward for an up-close view of these vehicles. 10/12. Time TBD. Free.

Pumpkin for breakfast 
On the first two Saturdays in October, you can fuel up for a day in Boo-coda with a pumpkin pancake feast hosted by the Bucoda Improvement Club—coffee included. 10/5, 10/12. 9–11 a.m. $5 per person. Bucoda Community Center, 202 S Main St.; 360.278.3525

Trick or Treat 
If you enjoy wearing a good getup, every night in October offers an opportunity to trick or treat at Joe’s Place (the only restaurant in town). Come dressed to the nines and see what goodies you can score—hopefully, no tricks required. 10/1–10/31. 6:30–7 p.m. Free. Joe’s Place, 118 S Main St.; 888.631.0942

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