Photos From the First Annual Grit City Costume Paddle

There isn’t usually much need for new traditions around the holidays but this year has pretty much thrown out the rule book. In Halloweens past, you would’ve seen all kinds of clever costumes and goofy getups at parties or elsewhere in public. 

This year, as with so many other things, Halloween had to get creative. That’s why Diane Hansen started the Grit City Costume Paddle. 

The instructions were simple: Start anywhere you want on the Foss Waterway at 11:00, meet up near the Murray Morgan Bridge at 12:00 and finish up at 1:00. As the press release said, “the paddle encourages our city to get weird on the water this Halloween.”

There was also a contest with prizes from Tacoma Ocean Fest, the 253Heart, and the Foss Waterway Seaport. Here are the winners from each category:

Most Artsy:

[Insert slow clap GIF here] This PAC-MAN setup was genius. It would’ve been funny with just the two kayaks but the little floating buoys made it that much better.

Best Ocean Animal:

The seal cub, the fuzzy slippers, the styrofoam icebergs, and the (maybe unintentional) commentary on climate change totally came together.


Had my four-year-old son not yelled out from the dock to ask what he was dressed as, we might have all assumed he was a spooky mummy. Turns out he was a seagull. See the beak and the webbed feet? That’s OK, it’s still pretty spooky.

There were some really clever costumes and you couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to be out on the water. Something like 40 people showed up with only a few days notice and everyone seemed to be having a good time—even the guy who wore an actual carved pumpkin on his head the entire time.

Regardless of the holiday, it was just great to see a bunch of people out doing a thing together and doing it safely. Even when COVID-19 is just a bad memory, I have a feeling this will continue to be a Tacoma tradition.

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