Bucoda Mayor Alan Carr knows you have to go out of your pretentiousness to find the little town just 30 minutes south of Olympia. We are off the beaten path, he says. You have to want to come to Bucoda.
But for the month of October, the Thurston County town of just 562 residents becomes Boo-coda, a Town Council-approved effort to tilt Bucoda into a destination for Halloween enthusiasts.
It seems to be working.
This 1902 home, known as the Georgetown Castle, is a stop upon the Haunted happenings Ghost Tour. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times, 2012)
This Seattle ghost tour freaked us out and itll fear you, too
Behind the scenes at the Georgetown Morgue, a Seattle Halloween tradition
Michael Smith, aka Michael the Mortician, has been haunting past 1968. Haunting is how he describes driving in hearse processions, designing and acting in haunted houses and decorating his home for trick-or-treaters.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, Smith allied 16 additional hearse owners as he drove his Sayer Scoville Centennial in Bucodas first ever hearse procession. The hearse is named Rosa, and Smith says its one of deserted 50 past it in the world.
Between hearses once skeletons on the hoods and smoke pouring out of entre support doors, costumed derby contestants who would be racing in the pine-box derby higher upon guided painted pinewood caskets beside Main Street, marching along to a somber funeral march performed by the Tenino Brass Band.
Wrapping up the procession was Shelly Smith, one of the minds astern the Boo-coda Spook-Tacular. Convincingly costumed as Thelma from Scooby Doo, Smith handed out candy contiguously a van from Eastside huge Tom restaurant painted to see gone the vagueness Machine.
With an hour to execute previously the pine-box racers hit the starting line, the small crowd that had gathered along Main Street lingered, picking taking place stray candy that had been thrown from hearse windows, or headed to Bucodas lone bar, Joes Place.
Meanwhile, the hearses looped and parked along the street to put the capability touches upon their spooky displays. Smith settled several foam tombstones announcing Hearse Parking in the region of his vehicle.
Youll love this one, he said, waving me more than as he pulled out a large model of a Nintendo game controller that edit Game Over. Smith promptly lay in arms-crossed funeral form beneath it.
Smith, 65, launched easily into stories from his 50 years of designing and acting in haunted houses, firm similar to advice for how to enjoy a haunted house.
When you go to a haunted house, you have to remember to laugh, he said. You have to laugh at yourself for brute scared, and, it sounds crazy, but at the actors because they got you.
As a haunted-house designer and actor, Smith had nothing but compliment for Bucodas own Scary-Nights Haunted House, which is set stirring in an outdated gym in the town.
The idea for Bucodas haunted house began in 2009, as soon as the Town Council start exploring ideas to bring in revenue. since then, according to Carr, Scary Nights has seen an 18 to 20 percent increase in visitors every year.
Right now, were making more keep off of the gym monster approach 13 days a year than we did renting the gym out, Carr said.
The Boo-coda goings-on were dreamed occurring as a mannerism to glamor in more visitors to the haunted home and more revenue to the town.
According to Carr, the haunted home had 222 visitors the night of the hearse procession and the pine-box derby, the largest number it has ever spooked in one night.
The pine-box derby was the hit of the morning hours, considering visitors and residents lining going on along either side of Seventh Avenue to witness the near victory for the team from Joes Place.
At the awards ceremony, the mayor handed out trophies for Dead Last, Best Costume and Scariest team.
I say ya, theyre on moonshine! Carr joked to the crowd as he handed higher than the first-place trophy to the Joes area team. Later, during a phone interview, he laughed again as he admitted that hed found out the team members, who were the bar managers brothers, dont drink.
Still, after the derby, the winners and a large contingent of listeners made the sudden trip next to the block to Joes Place, where a specials menu advertised a 57 Ways to Die Burger, Final Destination Fries and a 666 Martini for $6.66.
The stop of Saturdays lineup promised a Newlydead game and a tasteful pinup contest (the word tasteful was emphasized several times). every Saturday features a $5 pumpkin-pancake breakfast, but the blazing of the Boo-coda happenings change by the weekend. The first year included pumpkin-carving contests, a death-preparedness presentation, food vendors and clear Thriller dance lessons (Bucoda is one of three credited sites in Washington for the Thrill the World international event).
Next year, Carr hopes to affix scary hayrides, regular food and crafts vendors and who knows what else.
So whats this little town later for the flaming of the year? According to the mayor its lovely quiet.
We have to rest, he says taking into account a laugh.
If you go
Grab a beverage at Joes area (118 S. Main St., Bucoda) to acquire a wisdom of the local flavor.
For the fearless and lactose-tolerant only: acquire a bite and a Boo-berry milkshake (the attributed milkshake of the Boo-coda Spook-Tacular) at Eastside big Tom (2023 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia), a quirky drive-thru as soon as a cartoon-decorated outdoor patio. Because whats scarier than a cereal-based milkshake delivered in a waxy Pepsi mug and a good-kind-of-bad burger given following a not-so-secret-recipe dip devotedly known as goop?
Scary-Nights Haunted House tickets can be purchased online at scary-nights.com or in-person for $12/person ($20 VIP tickets let you skip the line). The haunted house opens at 7 p.m. through Wednesday, Oct. 31.