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Celebrating the season of the dead brings new life to Bucoda

Thurston County's smallest town changes its name every October to Boo-Coda! #k5evening

BUCODA, Wash. — Bucoda may be Thurston County's smallest town but at this time of the year it's definitely big on spirit

"We have a proclamation that as of October 1st each year we change our name to Boo-Coda," says Mayor Alan Carr.

The casket race is one of the highlights of the Boo-Coda Spook-tacular. There are new events every weekend in October.

"It's like a pine box derby race except you have a couple pallbearers pushing you through," says Wayne Fournier whose Tenino-based team is competing for the Mayor's Cup.

"The best time gets first place," says Mayor Carr. "There's second place, third place and of course dead last."

Carr says his town council came up with the "Boo Coda" concept a few years ago to bring in tourism dollars. This is Carr's final year in office after serving the town for twenty years.

"This is the best time of the year for me," he says. "I love the haunted house."

Every October weekend the old gym turns into a house of horror, run by volunteers like the mayor himself. When he passes out tickets, Carr likes to say "Hope you make it out alive!"

"The concept is to play with all of your senses," says Carr. "Not just the frontal scares or breathing on your neck but playing with all of your senses throughout."

Credit: KING 5
The old town gym becomes a haunted house every Friday and Saturday night of October.

"It was fun," says a group of friends. " It was definitely worth the money. It was scary but it was fun."

To promote the haunted house the town bought a hearse. It's kind of an unsettling sight, but this place has a long history of disturbing visitors going back to the days it was called Seatco.

"It is our understanding that word means evil spirit or devil," says Carr, who's convinced his hometown is haunted. 

"There's things that go on in this community and this town, in the gym, that makes you wonder," he says. "You can go into the gym, go to unlock the door and hear someone run across the floor even though you know the doors are locked and nobody is there. "

Celebrating the season of the dead is bringing new life to this small town.

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