The crunch of fallen leaves and the chill in the air tells us fall is back, meaning our holiday season is settling in. Before all the bright feasting and gift-giving, we celebrate all things dark and spooky. If you’re looking for fun, treats and maybe a few scares this October, look no further than the BOO-CODA SPOOK-TACULAR Haunted House and Festival.

a band dressed as skeletons plays in the street in Bucoda, Wash. as part of BOO-CODA
Head to Bucoda, Wash. all of October for their BOO-CODA SPOOK-TACTULAR celebration that includes music, trick-or-treating, dance parties, casket races and a whole lot more. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

Bucoda Becomes the Tiniest Town with the Biggest Halloween Spirit

As of September 12, 2023, the Town Council proclaimed that during October, the town would be called BOO-CODA, to honor the haunted goings-on every Halloween season.

Mayor Rob Gordon has served on the Town Council for nine years and loves to see the camaraderie and teamwork within the town to pull this event together. “It’s been big for the community,” he shares. “We have had a whole bunch of people who have helped put this together, with lots of volunteers.”

Kristin Butterworth has been a local in Bucoda for many years, working at Joe’s Place for 16 years total and serving as their manager for the last 8. This year, Joe’s Place is helping support the townwide home decorating contest, which started during the pandemic. They are working on a map of all the homes participating in the 2023 event so visitors can visit them and enter to win a $100, $75, or $50 Joe’s Place gift card for completing the route.

“After you look for all the homes you can come back to Joe’s Place to drop off your ballot and enter to win,” she says.  

kids at long tables covered with pumpkins, paint and brushes
Kids have tons of fun painting pumpkins for Halloween in Bucoda, Wash. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

Halloween Events All Month Long in BOO-CODA

The BOO-CODA SPOOK-TACULAR Haunted House is kicking things off the last weekend in September and is open every Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and October 29-31 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. It is another hotspot for ghostly happenings, so prepare for some great scares! The Haunted House is hosted at 403 N Nenant Street, with tickets available for purchase at the door. Tickets are $13 each, with VIP tickets for $20 each. If you bring a can of food to donate, you can get $1 off your purchase!

On October 7, visit the Family Fun Day Harvest Festival courtesy of the Bucoda Improvement Club. Running on Main Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., you and your family can enjoy a pumpkin carving contest at 11:30 a.m., goof around with the clown from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., and experience some magic from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Hearse outside a building with writing on it that says 'BOO-CODA'
The Hearse Procession during Bucoda’s BOO-CODA SPOOK-TACULAR is always a hit. Photo courtesy: Thurston Economic Development Council

Every Saturday there will be a Haunted Market starting at 11 a.m. in the Bucoda Town Square, which features food, art, crafts, and commercial vendors to keep you and your family entertained all day long. There will also be a costume contest sponsored by 1776 Tenino Bar with a new scary theme each Saturday with prizes for Best Overall Adult, Best Overall Child, Scariest Costume, and more. Each winner will receive a $17.76 Gift Certificate to the 1776 Tenino Bar, a trophy and a plaque. Check the website for exact times and bring your best!

October 14 hosts the Hearse Procession and Viewing from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. with wonderful spooky displays and a performance by Samba OlyWA.

people racing caskets, some running behind them and some running next to them.
The Casket Races bring competition to Halloween with decked out caskets, dressed up teams, and a whole lot of fun! Photo courtesy: Clair Ferris

October 21 hosts a unique event you won’t want to miss. The Casket Races are as popular to watch as they are to participate in. Teams enter and compete with their own casket or one borrowed from the Town of Bucoda. Teams consist of 4 Pallbearers and 1 Corpse (Teams of 2 or more Pallbearers and 1 Corpse will be allowed to compete) The Race Course is approximately 175’ long. Awards will be given for overall Fastest Times for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Dead Last, Scariest Casket, Funniest Casket, Most Original Casket, and Best Costumed Team & Cortege. There will also be the Mayor’s Cup with cities in Thurston and Lewis counties competing against each other. There will also be Casket Races for the following categories/types: First Responders, Media, Middle Schools, High Schools, College/University, Non-profit Organizations, Government Agencies, Elected Officials, Candidates for Elected Offices, Casinos, Financial Institutions (Banks/Credit Unions), Real Estate Firms, Bars/Taverns, Chambers of Commerce, Businesses, Families (two Adults, three Youth) and Friends. Each category will have a trophy for the fastest time and the Best Costume Team & Cortege. If you don’t have a team but would like to compete they can place you with others to form a team.

October 27 and 28 hosts a Family Friendly Haunted House from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and October 28 hosts Thrill the World Dance and Trunk-or-Treat.

Check the BOO-CODA website to see more great events and times so you don’t miss out! 

This year’s sponsors have been tremendous in making all of the events and activities possible. Special thanks to Lucky Eagle Casino, Port of Olympia, 1776 Tenino Bar, Bucoda Improvement Club, Rutledge Corn Maze, Haunted Maze and Pumpkin Patch, Joe’s Place, Thurston Economic Development Council STEDI Program, and Experience Olympia and Beyond.


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