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Local events for a frighteningly fun Halloween

For fans of the spooky season, Bellingham is crawling with holiday events

Photos from previous local Halloween events in Bellingham, Wash. Whether it's scary tours or zombie dance performances, Bellingham has a lot to offer during the spooky season. // Courtesy of Juliette Machado and Charles Crooks

As temperatures drop and days get shorter, rustling leaves become potential ghosts and pumpkins become jack-o-lanterns. It’s increasingly clear: Halloween is approaching.

Whether you’ve been planning your costume for months or are looking for a fun way to celebrate the holiday, Bellingham offers many unique Halloween events for all ages and price ranges. 

For a mix of history and spooky atmosphere, Bellingham Ghost Tours offers history tours with a twist, in partnership with the Good Time Girls

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the Gore and Lore Tours led by the Good Time Girls offer an experience that encapsulates Halloween.

“I mean, you can't get more Halloween than ghosts,” said Charles Crooks, director of Bellingham Ghost Tours.

The downtown and Fairhaven tours take participants through Bellingham’s historical buildings with dark pasts, including one of Fairhaven’s most haunted buildings, Sycamore Square. Tours are held on Fridays at 7 p.m. and admission is $20.

“I just want people to come with an open mind and hopefully be open to what I have to say and just have a good time,” said Crooks. 

"The Nightmare on Maple" is the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s eighth annual Fear Garden. Attendees can experience zombie dancers at the BAAY theater and then head down the street for a haunted house experience at Boundary Bay Brewery hosted by BAAY.

“We turn it into an immersive spooky experience that people can walk through,” said Juliette Machado, the executive director at BAAY. “There's different areas that have different themes.”

The event takes place Oct. 27, 28 and 31. From 6 to 9 p.m., it’s all ages at both venues before becoming 21+ from 9 to 11 p.m. 

“It's just got this extra something to it," Machado said. "Everyone's obviously dressed up and excited and it's just got a really fun, festive energy.”

General admission is $10. All proceeds go to BAAY, which allows them to remain accessible to aspiring young artists by providing performing arts education for children ages 5 to 17.

“We're all about increasing access to arts education,” Machado said. “Our work is always meaningful, but in a moment of budget cuts and general challenges around accessing arts education, we exist to create opportunities for all kids to participate.” 

BAAY’s Fear Garden isn’t the only downtown Bellingham event this season. Bleedingham Film Festival runs Oct. 27-29 at the Pickford Film Center.

For fans of scary movies, this northwest short horror film festival offers a wide range of horror subgenres in short film format with audience prizes. 

“We being fans, of course, and also filmmakers ourselves, wanted to make something where filmmakers, in particular young or new filmmakers, could stretch their legs and let their hair down,” said Langley West, co-founder of Bleedingham.

While film submissions are closed for this year, audience members still have the chance to see all the event has to offer.

Tickets are $14. The films are not censored and audiences should attend at their discretion.

“You have an opportunity to fill your entire weekend with wonderful, amazing, short horror films,” West said.

The festival has created a community for horror fans to share their projects and love for the genre, said Ryan Kerr, a Bleedingham attendee since 2016. He's submitted three films to the festival.

“There's no horror festivals that are like Bleeding[ham] right now,” Kerr said.

This year, Kerr is showing his film “Bubblegum” at the festival about a man who finds a cursed object.

The Visit Bellingham website shares more Halloween activities for people still looking to fill their schedules, including free events.

“There's little barrier to getting a sense for what the community has to offer,” said Becky Mandelbaum, communication manager for Visit Bellingham.

With dense forests, early nights and many community events to choose from, Bellingham’s fall season has a spooky atmosphere that makes it a fun place to celebrate Halloween, said Mandelbaum.

Jenna Millikan

Jenna Millikan (she/her) is a city news reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a third-year student majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. When not reporting, she enjoys cheesy movies, reading and drinking too much coffee. 

You can reach her 

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