It is true that I haven’t donned a Halloween costume in at least a decade, probably longer. It is also true that I don’t hand out candy at my house and generally avoid the downtown tricking and treating action. Further, I don’t bob for apples, carve pumpkins or ride around on a broomstick.
Given all that, one might be led to believe I am filled with Halloween humbug. But that is simply not the case.
I love Halloween, the fact that I am not moved to actually participate in most of its traditions notwithstanding. And I especially love living in a town that goes a little Halloween crazy every year.
This year, the hallowed holiday falls midweek, on Thursday, which, in many locales would probably signal more toned-down festivities, but in Bellingham simply means Halloween will be celebrated on Oct. 31 and either the weekend before or after. Double the Halloween pleasure, double the Halloween fun. Per usual, music is a big part of this mix, and what follows is a snapshot of just some of the activities at your disposal both before and after the witching hour strikes.
Boundary Bay Brewery: Holidays and Boundary Bay have become so synonymous in Bellingham that many of us don’t even bother to look elsewhere when it comes to celebrating such events. This year, they’re looking to outdo themselves (if such a thing is even possible) by teaming up with Make.Shift to create the “Nightmare on Railroad Ave.: A Haunted House.” I’ve been to enough events executed by both Boundary and Make.Shift to know whatever the two entities have planned for the beer garden will put the “spook” in “spooktacular.” Plus, since all the proceeds from the haunted house will go to Make.Shift, you can get the bejesus scared out of you for a good cause. And you can quell your fears and slake your thirst with music by the Legendary Chucklenuts and Luke Warm & the Moderates, and the release of this season’s first batch of Cabin Fever.
Where: 1107 Railroad Ave. Info: http://www.bbaybrewery.com
Cabin Tavern: The Cabin is just one of many music venues that will try and appease the Halloween-hungry masses by offering up holiday-themed shows on both Halloween and the weekend preceding it. So, for all of you who can only party during the weekend, feel free to don your costumes on Sat., Oct. 26 and head to the wee bar on Holly Street for a “Day of the Dead” show (yes, we know Oct. 26 isn’t actually the Day of the Dead, but it’s not Halloween either, so feel free to let it slide) featuring King Hush Hush and friends. Come Halloween proper, you’ll be partying with local honky-tonk/reggae band Pacific High, so make sure your costumes are made for dancing.
Where: 307 W. Holly St. Info: http://www.facebook.com/cabintavern
Glow Nightclub: For my money, Glow just might be the best place in town to do a little Halloween celebrating. Not because their “Halloweekend Celebration” runs from Oct. 31-Nov. 2, thus ensuring you can dance like the dead for days on end. And not because Glow’s costume contests feature cash prizes, meaning you can turn the holiday into a money-making opportunity should you so desire. And not because the drink specials mean that even if you don’t win the costume contest, you’ll still make out O.K. But because the bar’s vantage point and expansive windows mean you can suss out all the crazy whatdoings on the downtown streets below from the comfort of Glow’s warm indoor perch in the sky.
Where: 202 E. Holly St. Info: http://www.facebook.com/glownightclub
Green Frog: In last week’s Best of Bellingham issue, we mentioned that relative newcomers Br’er Rabbit managed to (just barely) snatch a win out from under Polecat in the Best Band category. Proving that there’s no hard feelings between the two (and why would there be?), the two bands will team up for an Oct. 31 show at the Green Frog. Polecat is a huge draw wherever they play in Bellingham, making a sellout crowd for this event all but inevitable. Get your costumes on and get there early, or instead of being a naughty nurse for Halloween, you’ll be a sad nurse left out in the cold.
Where: 1015 N. State St. Info: http://www.acoustictavern.com
Honey Moon: Honey Moon would like you to know that signups are still open for their Oct. 31 Halloween party, but there’s just one catch: You have to be a dead musician to participate. Technically, you don’t have to have departed this mortal coil (given the logistical problems involved in actually being dead), but you do have to dress and embody one of your favorite departed musical types to join in the show. Since last year’s “Dead Musicians Halloween Party” was a success, the Honey Moon is making it a tradition. Of course, all these dead legends will need an audience, so if your Elvis duds are at the cleaners, you can still show up and witness all the undead action.
Where: 1053 N. State St. Info: http://www.honeymoonmeads.com
Kulshan Brewing Company: Pickings used to be slim in the Sunnyland neighborhood when it came to Halloween happenings, but the lovely folks at the Kulshan Brewing Company are aiming to change that this year. Along with a costume contest (or “Kostume Kontest” in Kulshan vernacular), Matney Cook and the Mudflat Walkers have been tapped for your entertainment pleasure. And that’s not the only thing being tapped—Kulshan will kick off the Oct. 31 event by tapping their Horseman’s Head Pumpkin Ale.
Where: 2238 James St. Info: http://www.kulshanbrewery.com
Rumors: Rumors is not the only place in town throwing a Halloween party that features a costume contest with cash prizes as well as drink specials and related festivities. However, Rumors is indeed the only place in town where the winner of the costume contest (which takes place Oct. 26) will be awarded their prize ($500 for first place) by the inimitable Betty Desire. It’s also the only place where you can watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Oct. 27 (costumes encouraged, toast and rice provided). And while the costume-contest prizes aren’t as lucrative on Halloween itself, Rumors still has more than enough money on the line to make dressing up worth your while.
Where: 1119 Railroad Ave. Info: http://www.rumorscabaret.com
The Shakedown: With the demise of Black Eyes and Neckties, Horror Business—with their commitment to devilocks and all things Misfits—has become Bellingham’s de facto Halloween band, a title they richly deserve. They’ll be joined by Wild Throne (read: Dog Shredder) and Jeff Kastelic, who do their second stint as Pantera cover band, Pantera Lives. But given my Everett origins and the fact that I’m a child of the hair-metal era, if my heart belongs to anyone on this stacked Oct. 31 lineup, it would have to be Voyager, who will do their very best impression of Motley Crue—and a spot-on impression it is. But this isn’t the only time Voyager will take the Shakedown stage in the name of Halloween. They’ll also appear Oct. 26 with the appropriately named Halloqueen, who will do their very best to channel Freddie Mercury and Co.
Where: 1212 N. State St. Info: http://www.shakedownbellingham.com
The Underground: Halloween parties and costume contests abound in Bellingham, and the folks at the Underground aren’t ones to miss out on all that action. They too will host multiple Halloween parties, the first one happening Oct. 26 after Spaceband finishes up their set (knowing Spaceband and their vast repertoire of songs, they very well may have some holiday-themed tricks up their collective sleeve). But all that is just the warm-up for the big day, and when Halloween rolls around, the party will be in full swing at the expansive nightclub. Costumes are, of course, encouraged, so bust out your best disguise and plan your trip Underground accordingly.
Where: 211 E. Chestnut St. Info: 306-3178
Wild Buffalo:O.K., so maybe the Sadies show that takes place Oct. 26 and the Con Bro Chill show on Oct. 27 aren’t exactly Halloween-themed events, but I’m guessing should you decide to show up for either in full holiday garb, such behavior will only be accepted and encouraged by everyone at the Wild Buffalo. But if you’re saving yourself for Halloween proper, the Buff has some plans in store for you as well, in the form of a Daft Funk Halloween party, that will not feature Daft Punk, but instead the ever-popular Acorn Project (you know they had to show up somewhere on Halloween, and here they are), who will use the occasion to celebrate the release of their latest album Shift. Further, if you’re looking to see what will no doubt be the most amazing visuals in town on this big night, Sensebellum will be working their crazy magic, and I can’t think of a holiday better suited to such endeavors.
Where: 208 W. Holly St. Info: http://www.wildbuffalo.net