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City Desk

Offutt says Butte is “Halloween Town”

by Diane Larson

“Boys and girls of every age wouldn’t you like to see something strange? Come with us and you will see this, our town of Halloween,” wrote Danny Elfman for the movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Halloween Town is the location of the story and home to Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King. The tale revolves around Jack’s attempts to bring Christmas Town, home to Halloween Town.


In October especially, Butte is Halloween Town. Like most holidays Butte always takes it holidays one step further. Halloween is celebrated several times throughout the month. Butte even has its own LLC dedicated to the holiday, Butte Halloween LLC, the brainchild of Gabriel Offutt.


Butte Halloween began as a spreadsheet of Halloween events occurring in 2012” There were a lot of things going on the three days before Halloween, and I was trying to figure out what to attend,” said Offutt. He went on to say, seeing it all laid out “I figured out what order I’d go to things in.”


He then placed the spreadsheet on his Facebook page, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. After a couple years of getting increasingly positive responses, he decided to branch out. He then acquired the URL, where he places as much Halloween fun as can be found.


Butte Halloween consists of three officers who are: Gabriel Offutt-Pumpkin King, who is concerned with running the parties. Toby Renner-Pirate, who is the treasurer. Kellen Stubbs-Witch keeps the records.


Other members include Cassie Meixner, Alecia Stone, Tiffanie Wood, Alicia Johnson, Elies Adams, Andrea Halvorsen, and James Jones. Plus, there are many volunteers that help with various events.


In 2014 Butte Halloween became officially recognized by the State of Montana as a company. Offutt says. “I’ve always thought of it starting in 2012 when I put together the spreadsheet because what I want us to do is to promote all of the awesome things that happen in Butte.


The vision for Butte Halloween is to have a website that “is the one place for information and education,” said Offutt, educating about the holiday, and especially dispelling the myths that surround Halloween.  However, the events grew and grew. Currently, the group hosts Second Halloween, Walpurgisnacht, Halloween Parade and Carnival, Pumpkin Carving Contest, Pirate Day Party, and the Zombie Walk.


“We never set out to be party producers,” said Offutt, but timing, as they say, is everything. Offutt explains that when they formed, there were other major Halloween related events that were happening in Butte, but “within a couple years of us forming, both of those shutdown and we had an identity crisis,” explained Offutt.


The next step was to figure out how to proceed. So they built on what they already had and took on other events as there have been “power vacuums,” said Offutt.


Toby Renner, a friend of Offutt’s, approached him and said, “You know what we should do, we should organize a Zombie Walk” to which Offutt replied, “What’s a Zombie Walk?”


One thing led to another and now we have Butte Halloween Parade, Carnival and Zombie Walk, not to mention a few other events that take place later in the year. We will get to that in a bit.


Everything has grown from there, each year getting bigger and better.


Halloween Parade October 12 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (This year will be the second parade.) The Parade goes down Park Street and starts at 5:00 pm. It will begin on the East end over by Sparky’s and will go right on down to where the Carnival Midway will be at Park and Dakota.


Carnival October 12 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm This year it will be held in the Grainger Lot, which is on Park and Dakota, where the cube is, right across from Terminal Foods. It is split into two parts, the midway will be in the Grainger lot and the Carnival will be spread throughout Uptown.


The Midway will have carnival games, vendors, Butte Magic, buskers, face paints, clowns, and Bozeman Paranormal will set up a couple of booths.


Sideshows will include Noose Von Link’s Theatre of the Bizarre out of the Covellite Theater, showing very old classic films relevant to the holiday. Also, catch the snake and spider show at the Geek Emporium by Mistress Morganna and Lady Aurelia.


FYI: There will be no rides


Shadow Carnival will be a way for businesses in Uptown to participate in some fun. When you come to the carnival and buy your tickets, which are .25 cents each you will be given a sheet. The sheet will list participating businesses. When the carnival goes come to your business they will participate in whatever game you provide and then get their sheet stamped or stickered. Bring the sheet back to the Midway, turn it in and be eligible for the grand prize. This is a way for Butte Halloween to showcase the other wonderful businesses in the Uptown area.


Zombie Workshop, Jamboree & the Walk along with the Pumpkin carving contest will be on October 20, 2018 “A bunch of people get dressed up as Zombies and they walk down the road. It’s like a parade except that it is more for the participants than for the spectators,” said Offutt. Butte’s Zombie Walk is a free event but it is also a food drive. The parade is free to walk in, but following the parade is the Jamboree, and the entrance fee to that is one non-perishable food item. The first walk happened in 2013. If you want to participate head to the zombie workshop and they will make you up. For the pumpkin carving contest, they will provide the pumpkins, and there will be a fee.


Walpurgisnacht will be on April 30, 2018 “is very much like Halloween in that it is the point where summer and winter meet. It is the spring passing, and it is one of the points where the veil is at its thinnest and where the boundaries that separate this world from the world of the dead are thin, much like Sowen (or Samhain),” said Offutt, noting that Sowen occurs around Halloween.  


A big part of the Walpurgisnacht Holiday is “Take the day off; get together with family; go down to the lake and build a huge freaking bonfire like only the Germans could organize and tell ghost stories,” explains Offutt.


They have held Walpurgisnacht for a few years, and Offutt says that it is something that really appeals to kids. The kids that come to the event year after year have gotten better at telling ghost stories each year they attend. The event encourages public speaking, camaraderie, and keeps alive the oral history of story-telling. 


It talks place on May Eve, April 30th. “A big reason I think it developed culturally, anthropologically looking at it as a species, it’s the day when winter is finally over, and we can go out and do something and that rings especially true here in Butte,” explains Offutt.


They build the fire up at Homestake Lake and have a potluck barbecue and tell fun ghost stories. Prizes for the best stories are generally books


Second Halloween (Suicide prevention event) February 16, 2019

The idea for Second Halloween came from the internet. “In 2014 there was this flood of people posting pictures and saying how about if we just get rid of Valentine’s Day and replace it with a second Halloween. So I opened up my big mouth and said well if you want to do that, I could probably make that happen,” explained Offutt. The response was huge.


The first Second was a small affair that mostly friends attended. The second Second Halloween was not so small. “We teamed up with the Clark Chateau and the second Second Halloween was crazy huge,” said Offutt. It has been as successful each year since. 2018 will be its fifth year.


Offutt wants it to be clear that this is not an anti-Valentine’s Day event. It is simply an event that is for those who may simply not be into the February Holiday for whatever reason.


The majority of the people that attend Second Halloween do so because it is just their favorite holiday, and who wouldn’t want to celebrate their favorite holiday, whatever it may be, twice.

For all the “Nightmare Before Christmas” Fans, Jack Skellington will be at the Christmas stroll for you to get your photo with and he will be also handing out prizes.


“Butte really is Halloween Town, I can’t be the only one seeing this. We’ve got these jagged, steel, derricks that we call Gallows; we’ve got the abandoned warehouse district, the towering Victorian mansions, and the narrow twisting streets. Butte is so steeped in history and so beautifully dark,” said Offutt


“Butte excels at being Butte. It is weird, bizarre and fun and like no other place on earth,” said Offutt. Celebrations like the Halloween Carnival, Zombie Walk and Parade are all meant to celebrate the wonder that is Butte.” These events, created by Butte Halloween, are their gift back to the town that is very much their muse.


“What we do is a lot of fun, and you should come and join us,” said Offutt. Butte Halloween would like to extend a hand out anyone interested in this fun organization. They would like to increase their membership and volunteer base. What we need is people behind us. Membership is $5.00 a year and some small time investment, but you don’t need to be a member to participate.


You can contact them at
r visit them at for all the fun events





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