Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Because I have not donned a costume in more than a decade, people often think I’m some sort of Halloween killjoy. That could not be further from the truth. Like most people who live around these parts, I’m a diehard devotee of this particular holiday, and my Halloween season typically involves numerous visits to spook shops, in-depth conversations about the costume ideas of others, and the excited making of plans. Occasionally, I am afforded an opportunity to spend Halloween elsewhere, and no matter how enticing the offer may be, I find myself declining in favor of staying put.
After all, Bellingham is a town that is Halloween crazy—why would anyone want to spend Oct. 31 anywhere else?
As ever, music is an integral part of our holiday merrymaking, and with Oct. 31 falling on a Friday this year, what is normally an occasion rife with revelry has turned into a Halloweekend that will take us clear into November. What follows is a by-no-means-comprehensive list of where you and your costume can go to find a bit of a fright and a lot of fun.
Boundary Bay: Personally, I’m pretty excited about any event that comes with instructions to “empty your bladder and put on your game face,” which means I’m pretty excited for Make.Shift to take over the Boundary Bay beer garden to once again stage their Nightmare on Railroad Avenue. Given their status as haunted house veterans, it is reasonable to assume they’ve got a handle on scaring the pants off of people, and will put those skills to work Thurs., Oct. 30 and Fri., Oct. 31. They take their frightening fun seriously, so small children and the faint of heart need not apply. Not to be outdone, the appropriately named Scary Monster and the Super Creeps will take over the taproom to provide their best David Bowie action, tailored to the occasion.
Where: 1107 Railroad Ave. Info: http://www.bbaybrewery.com
Glow Nightclub: My favorite Halloween activity is simply to wander the downtown core, taking in the costumes, the people wearing them and their attendant activity and drama. Experience has taught me there’s no better place to get a bird’s eye view of all the action than from the elevated glass box that is Glow. Belly up to the bar for a drink special, do a little dancing to a soundtrack provided by Girl Meets Boy and spend a little time surveying the scene below. You will not be disappointed.
Where: 202 E. Holly St. Info: http://www.glowbellingham.com
Green Frog: If you’re a parent and you live near the Downtown Business District, odds are good you’ll be accepting Downtown Bellingham Partnership’s invitation to trick or treat your way through city streets. Weather report says it’ll be rainy, experience says it’ll be crowded and good judgment suggests you instead take yourself to a kid-friendly 5:30pm show at the Green Frog featuring the music of newly minted Best of Bellingham winners Wild Rabbit (formerly Br’er Rabbit). If you can’t work that into your schedule, the Scott Pemberton Trio will take over a little later, after the kids have eaten all of the sugar in existence, climbed the walls for a bit and then crashed—then it’s your turn to celebrate.
Where: 1015 N. State St. Info: http://www.acoustictavern.com
Honey Moon: An open mic featuring a bunch of talented local music-makers covering their favorite songs by dead musicians has a certain amount of appeal, I suppose. But that appeal increases exponentially when said local music-makers costume themselves as the dead musicians in question for their performances. Such has become the macabre and admittedly compelling Halloween tradition at the Honey Moon, and this year’s lineup of dearly departed and brought-back-to-life performers is sure to surpass last Halloween’s, so plan to be delighted and a little disturbed.
Where: 1053 N. State St. Info: http://www.honeymoonmeads.com
Kulshan Brewing Co.: As Bellingham’s most up-and-coming neighborhood, Sunnyland deserves a Halloween party all its own, and the lovely folks at the Kulshan Brewing Co. are only too happy to provide. They’ve tapped Moongrass to give your Halloween a bluegrass edge, and will stage a costume contest to feed your need for both competition and the possibility of winning prizes. All of that costuming and competing will likely work up a thirst, and Kulshan will be only too happy to help you out with that as well.
Where: 2238 James St. Info: http://www.kulshanbrewery.com
The Redlight: Few things in life delight me as much as local musician Spencer Willows’ unabashed love of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. How deep is his love for the rock musical? Well, if you head to the Redlight on Oct. 31, you will be able to witness “A Very Hedwig Halloween,” in which, for one night only, Willows will not simply perform the songs (with his very own Angry Inch backing band) from the musical, he will become Hedwig. Seeing is believing, and I’m pretty sure this show will fill up fast, so show up early and don’t budge one single angry inch or you just might miss it.
Where: 1017 N. State St. Info: http://www.redlightbellingham.com
Rumors Cabaret: My love of Rumors exists for many reasons, not least of which is that they’re the only venue in town to truly embrace the notion of the Halloweekend. Not only are they throwing a party on Oct. 31—dubbed “Halloween, Take 1” and featuring a costume contest with a hefty cash prize and expert hosting by Betty Desire—they’ll do the whole thing, costume contest, Betty Desire and all, the very next night (appropriately named “Halloween, Take 2”). But that’s not all. Come Sun., Nov. 2, Rumors will present The Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with virgin sacrifice at 11pm. Now that’s a Halloweekend to remember (if you can).
Where: 1119 Railroad Ave. Info: http://www.rumorscabaret.com
The Shakedown: Bellingham’s beloved horror rockers Black Eyes and Neckties were supposed to reunite and rekindle their Halloween tradition once again, but then fate intervened, schedules conflicted and when it was all said and done, they were down too many members to make a go of it. Never ones to say die, they’ve added some special guests and retooled themselves as White Guys and High Fives, a Murder City Devils cover band (insert obvious joke here). They’ll be joined by Girl Guts and Vaticxnts, and the whole shebang should be in the same vein as the raucous good time BENt became locally famous for. If you have enough energy for round two on Saturday night (and you should), Aireekah will don what I’m sure will be an incredible costume to host “A Very Scary Karaoke.” Don’t worry, she’ll have a costume for you too.
Where: 1212 N. State St. Info: http://www.shakedownbellingham.com
Skagit Valley Casino Resort: First, at press time, the Halloween party at the Skagit Casino was not yet sold out—a minor miracle in and of itself. Second, spending Halloween at the Skagit neatly solves most of my conundrums related to this particular occasion, namely that most costumes are not made to be worn outdoors (indoor party at the Pacific Showroom, check) and getting home from the Halloween party can be kind of a pain (book a room at the resort, check). Add to that $1,000 in costume contest prize money, a live band and the ability to play blackjack while dressed as naughty nun, and this event becomes downright spooktacular.
Where: 5984 Darrk Lane Info: http://www.theskagit.com
Swillery Whiskey Bar: I’ve said it before and I will no doubt say it again: it’s not Halloween in Bellingham until Horror Business shows up somewhere. This year, it’s the Swillery that will be treated to their trademark devillocks and Misfits covers. Although they only emerge once a year, they’ve honed their show over the course of many Halloweens and are sure to be in fine form once more. They invited Noise Toys and Gypsters to get in on the act, and although they may be wearing costumes, their getups will have to be pretty good to overshadow those devillocks.
Where: 118 W. Holly St.
Wild Buffalo: Polecat has been dropping hints for weeks on various forms of social media as to what their big Halloween show at the Wild Buffalo will entail, so I think it’s safe to say they’re both excited and prepared. They’ve called it their “8-Bit Halloween” and are getting a little geeky with it, working all of our favorite video games into their already incredibly well-honed live show. They’ll also be dressing the part, and I have a sneaking suspicion their costumes alone will be more than worth the price of admission. Polecat is a band that doesn’t do anything halfway, living in a town that feels exactly the same way about Halloween, and I think this might just be a match made in Halloween heaven.
Where: 208 W. Holly St. Info: http://www.wildbuffalo.net
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