Everything You Need to Know About BOO Arizona 2018

Get your costumes together and get ready to party.
Get your costumes together and get ready to party. Benjamin Leatherman
We’re in the midst of the Halloween season, which — if you’re an adult — means tons of costumes, spooky creatures, and wild times. You can find all three in abundance at BOO Arizona, the annual Halloween-themed electronic dance music event that’s part festival, part costume ball, and a whole lot of rowdy fun.

It’s a kickoff of sorts to the Halloween party season in the Valley, as well as a bass-fueled rager that features a menagerie of high-profile DJs and producers dropping massive amounts of dubstep and trap music inside the confines of Rawhide Event Center in Chandler

To wit: The lineup for BOO Arizona 2018 — which goes down on Saturday, October 20 — will include sets from 1788-L, Arius, Blunts and Blondes, Boogie T, Habstrakt, Kayzo, Lick, and Tynan. Besides all the brutal sounds blasting from the sound system, expect to encounter tons of costumes at the event, as they’re very much encouraged.

What else is in store for this year’s event? The following guide to BOO Arizona has all the details, including how to get there, ticket info, and a rundown of who’s playing when.

When & Where: This year’s BOO Arizona takes place on Saturday, October 20, at Rawhide Event Center, 5700 West North Loop Road in Chandler. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the festival wraps up at 2 a.m.

Prices: General admission tickets are $55 (plus applicable fees) and can be purchased online or in person at Zia Record Exchange locations around the Valley. If you’d like to attend in style, VIP access is $75 and includes express entry, access to exclusive viewing decks, and premium restrooms, a souvenir lanyard, and passed desserts. Table packages are also available and range from $500 to $1,500.

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The scene inside Rawhide Event Center during last year's BOO Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman
Age Limits: The event is open to anyone 18 and over. You have to be at least 21 to drink, of course.

Getting There: For those of you who have never attended a festival at Rawhide, the venue is located on the outskirts of Chandler. Take Interstate 10 to Exit 162 (Wild Horse Pass Boulevard/Sundust Road), head west, and follow the posted signs and police officers that will direct you to the Rawhide parking lot.

Parking: It’s $10 to park at the event. You can either fork over the cash in person or prepay online prior to the event.

Getting Inside: An ID is absolutely required to pick up your ticket or enter the event. Each and every patron will undergo a pat-down and bag check upon entry. Be sure you have everything you need as there’s no re-entry. Period.

Food and Drink: You can get both at BOO Arizona. Multiple bars (including those in the VIP area) will dispense libations of the beer, wine, and spirituous variety both inside the event center and in the outdoor vendor area. If you get a little peckish, concession stands and food trucks will be dishing out eats of the fast-casual variety, including burgers, fries, sammies, pizza, and other options outside.

Water: Even if it's cold outside, you're going to be dancing or walking around all evening long, so be sure to drink some H2O whenever possible. Empty aluminum and plastic bottles, as well as Camelbak-style backpacks, can be brought into the event and there will be a refill station available. Vendors will also have bottled water for sale.

Weather: It’s going to get chilly on Saturday night (temperatures will get down to the high 60s), so bring a hoodie or some warm costuming. Speaking of which …

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Sporting Spongebob costumes at last year's BOO Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman
What to Wear: It's a Halloween event, so there will be plenty of people dressing as Deadpool, Deadmau5, or members of the undead. Or as angels, devils, witches, doctors, astronauts, or many other personas. (We’re also expecting to see plenty of Rick and Morty costumes, too.) Consider it a chance to field test what you’re wearing for Halloween. Of course, if you’d like to stick with your normal festival wear (read: kandi masks, fuzzy clothing, and day-glo everything), that’s cool, too.

Set Times: Performances will begin immediately inside the event center after doors open at 6 p.m. and run right up until 2 a.m. Here’s the complete schedule:

6 p.m.: Lick
6:45 p.m.: Tynan
7:45 p.m.: Arius
8:50 p.m.: Blunts and Blondes
9:50 p.m.: 1788-L
10:50 p.m.: Boogie T
11:55 p.m.: Habstrakt
1 a.m.: Kayzo

What to Bring: A good attitude, for starters, as well as your ID, some cash, earplugs, a costume, and a fully charged cell phone. Small bags or purses are okay, too, as well as fanny packs, lighters, glowsticks, LED poi, illuminated jewelry, hula hoops, inflatables, flags and banners, plush backpacks, and kandi. ChapSticks, cigarette packs, and tampons are also permitted, provided each is sealed when entering. Vaping devices are also cool, but only if they don’t have refillable chambers containing visible liquid.

Festival totems are also allowed, provided they’re less than 10 feet in height and built from lightweight materials like foam, PVC, pool noodles, or lightweight wood.

What Not to Bring: Forget about trying to bring in weapons, wallet chains, fireworks, pets, large bags, chairs, laser devices, noisemakers, air horns, or anything else that’s disruptive, destructive, or dangerous as well. Ditching your crappy or creeper attitude will also help, too.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.