I scream, you scream
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Even though I’ve spent the entirety of the pandemic in close proximity to my boyfriend, I’m still apt to scream at the tippy top of my lungs when he sidles up behind me while I’m doing the dishes or engaged in some other mundane household task. And although I mentally prepare myself for the fact that he’s known to appear out of nowhere—sort of like a bearded, grinning ghost—he often manages to catch me in the precise moment when I’ve let my guard down.
Truth be told, though, there’s something cathartic about letting loose with an ear-piercing, soul-cleansing shriek once in a while. Sanctioned screaming is one of the reasons I can often be convinced to visit local haunts, which are back on the calendar this year after Halloween was effectively cancelled in the fall of 2020. But although fright night/month is back on, please be prepared to follow all current COVID-19 mandates, including wearing masks, socially distancing and staying home if you don’t feel well. (Some venues will also be requiring proof of vaccination, so know before you go.)
In Lynden, the return of Scream Fair to the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds this weekend and next will be welcome news to adrenaline junkies hoping to scare up a good time. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself screeching when a costumed actor dressed like a murderous villain pops up in the fairground’s parking lot outside the cattle barn, setting the stage for the horrors to come. This year’s theme, “Nightmare at the Museum,” promises visitors will not only encounter “relics abandoned and left to rot in the dark,” but also “the ghosts of space, history and time” who have awoken and are out for revenge. Needless to say, parental discretion is strongly advised. When: 7pm-10pm Oct. 22-23, 29-30 and 7pm-9:30pm Sun., Oct. 31. Where: NW Washington Fairgrounds, 1775 Front St., Lynden. Cost: $10-$12 (make a return trip for an extra $5). Info: http://www.screamfairhaunt.com
Haunted Town Tours in downtown Concrete also return on Oct. 23 and 30, with the fearsome fun in the town center starting near the Concrete Chamber office located in the East County Resource Center. “Travel back in time to the early 1900s, when Concrete was a lawless village of miners, loggers, mill-hands and cement plant workers,” organizers say. “Where there were more brothels than churches, and plenty of hardworking, hard-living characters. Those people are long gone, dead and forgotten—or are they? On some October nights, you’ll see evidence to the contrary.” Attendees will also be able to choose their own endings, so give some thought as to whether you’d rather visit a Haunted Museum or be escorted through a Maze of Madness. Decisions, decisions. When: 7pm Oct. 23 and 30. Where: 45770 Main St., Concrete. Cost: $20. Info: http://www.concrete-wa.com
In mid-August, a call went out for actors who enjoyed making other humans scream and were willing to become undead creatures wandering through the darkness as part of Whatcom Frightmare’s Haunted House. Starting Thurs., Oct. 21, visitors can see the culmination of their creepy creativity at the Barr Barn at Ferndale’s Pioneer Park. If attending with young kids, you’ll want to show up for the “light scare,” while more intrepid visitors can opt for the “full scare” alternative. On Oct. 29, the event will be taking place during Downtown Trick-or-Treat and an all-ages interactive whodunnit, Mystery in the Park, making for an extra-freaky Friday. When: 5pm-9pm Thurs., Oct. 21, 5pm-11pm Oct. 22-23 and 29-30, and 5pm-9pm Sun., Oct. 31. Where: Pioneer Park, 2004 Cherry St. Cost: $8 per person or $25 per group of four (children under 7 can be scared for free). Info: http://www.facebook.com/whatcomfrightmare or http://www.cityofferndale.org
Ghosts, ghouls and plenty of surprise scares can also be found when The Nightmare on Railroad returns to Boundary Bay Brewery’s “Fear Garden” during Halloween weekend. The seasonal event sees the brewery warehouse, alley and beer garden transformed into a spooky set thanks to students of the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, who work behind the scenes to perfect their acts—which also include the BAAY Haunted Dancers (pictured). All proceeds raised go to BAAY’s scholarship program, which provides access to the arts to underserved students. The event is all-ages until 9pm, when more mature content is highlighted. If your journey through the Fear Garden makes you scream out loud, you’ll be in good company. When: 6pm-11pm Fri.-Sun., Oct. 29-31. Where: Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. Cost: $5-10. Info: http://www.baay.org. Photo by Juliette Machado.