As Halloween approaches at the end of the month, Denver and the surrounding area are gearing up with a variety of thrills and haunts for every age and interest. Kicking off in the days leading up to the holiday, Halloween-themed events and activities are planned throughout the city. These are just a few of the creepy possibilities.
Colorado’s Coolest Corn Maze
One of the most popular corn mazes in the country, the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield’s labyrinth stretches for eight acres of winding fun. The Botanic Gardens also offers hay rides and pony rides at an additional cost, and a free mini-maze is available just for other fall treats.
Trick or Treat Train
During the weekend before the holiday, the Colorado Railroad Museum comes alive with a railway trip to Halloween Town. A historic train featuring vintage passenger cars with fully costumed conductors leaves from the museum station every 30 minutes during operating hours. Halloween Town’s shops will make you laugh while filling you with goodies, and the Olde Railroaders’ graveyard features silly headstones. You can visit the Pumpkin Patch for a commemorative photo or tell stories around the Hobo Campfire before riding the locomotive back to the museum.
Boo at the Zoo
Visit the Denver Zoo on the Saturday or Sunday before Halloween for 25 trick-or-treat stations and other family-friendly entertainment activities. For the price of admission to the zoo, you can also participate in creepy crawly demonstrations with the zoo animals. Come to the zoo after dark on Friday evening for Boo After Dark, a special presentation with the nocturnal zoo residents.
Victorian Horrors at the Molly Brown House Museum
A yearly event at the Molly Brown House Museum, the 2012 Victorian Horrors features a dramatic nautical theme. Costumed actors tell Victorian tales of terror, heartbreak, and chilling loss on the high seas. The theme of this year’s event is in conjunction with the museum’s current "Heroine of the Titanic" exhibit.
Cemetery Crawl Dr. Colorado
A history professor at the University of Colorado Denver, and his band of ghost tour guides will lead visitors through the second-largest necropolis in the state. Meeting in the chapel at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Dr. Colorado’s groups will face eerie, exhumed celebrities as they investigate various gravesites and an old, elaborate private mausoleum. The Model A Ford Club of Colorado will provide free transit between grave locations.
The Haunted Brown Palace Hotel and Spa
One of the oldest and most esteemed of the Denver hotels, the Brown Palace Hotel has long been rumored to have ghosts roaming its hallways. Led by the building’s historian, visitors will hear some of the most frightening and mysterious tales of spirit sightings and unexplained phenomena that have occurred throughout the hotel’s history. Reservations are required for these tours as well as the hotel’s weekend Monster Brunch featuring costumed staff and holiday-themed food.
The Inspiration of the Stanley Hotel
The famed Stanley Hotel in Estes Park inspired Stephen King to write The Shining when he stayed there in the 1970s. Today, the building offers a yearly ghost and history tour that points out King’s specific inspirational locations, shares tales of haunted guestrooms and spine-chilling ghost sightings, and leads guests through its creepy underground tunnel.
Denver Halloween Pub Crawl
Patrons over the age of 21 may participate in the newly-created Denver Halloween Pub Crawl each weekend leading up to the holiday. By purchasing a ticket before the event, you will receive drink specials along with full access to some of the best bars in the city. Participants are required to wear costumes, so hundreds of Halloween-dressed people roam the streets between establishments in one of the largest crowds of costumed participants anywhere.
Arranged by Collective 360, ColoWeen offers multiple venues with something for every Halloween participant. You choose your location and experience a completely different type of party. Visit the Dark Ages at The Castle (The Hilton Doubletree), the red carpets of Hollywood at The Hotel (Jet Hotel and Nightclub), or an upscale costume ball at The Mansion (Parkside Mansion). Each party features 2,000 dollars in cash prizes for the best costumes, several specially-themed and haunted rooms, dramatic sound and lighting, professional DJs, and costumed performers running the event.
By Philip J Reed on behalf of Westwood College's Healthcare Schools in Denver.