Halloween is less than two weeks away, and the Mile High City is already in the mood for spooky celebrations. From not-so-scary haunted train rides to pumpkin-carving contests, bouncy castles, skydiving demonstrations and, of course, a whole lot of candy, we've rounded up some great family-friendly events happening this month. Many of these fun get-togethers are free or low-cost as well, so get multiple costumes ready and mark your calendars for a busy Halloween season.
Haunted Vet Hospital Denver Holistic Center/Pets 4 People, Various dates in October, $15 Touted as the country's "only haunted house for pets," this two-floor attraction is filled with cool live animals, face-painting, caricature drawing and more. Trick-or-treat indoors, meet a pet psychic and enter to win some great prizes at this haunted hospital. Pets are encouraged and get free admission.
"Zombie Murder" mystery play and more Adams Mystery Playhouse, Various dates in October, $10 With three Halloween-themed plays to choose from, the Adams Mystery Playhouse is giving families a chance to solve a haunting mystery together. More than just a theatrical production, this interactive performance makes audience members a part of the action -- and it all takes place in one of Denver's spookiest old buildings on Federal Boulevard.
Victorian Horrors Molly Brown House Museum, October 18, 19, 25 & 26, $15-$18 Utilizing the grand and spooky space of Molly Brown's famous Victorian mansion, costumed actors bring the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley and more to life. Performances run every fifteen minutes, so you have lots of chances to hear a haunted tale set inside this beautiful Denver landmark.
Family Workshop-Miniature Halloween Scene Museum of Dolls and Miniatures, October 19, $8-$16 This family-friendly workshop shows kids ages seven and older how to create miniature dioramas using tiny pumpkins, little trees and more haunted decorations of the itsy-bitsy variety. Reservations are required; contact Jillian at 303-322-1053 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original Aurora's FallFest Fletcher Plaza, October 19, Free This eighteenth annual harvest-time celebration invites families to an afternoon of pumpkin bowling, face painting, spooky storytelling, a barnyard petting zoo, a bike parade, and more. Join in the interactive fun with arts and crafts projects, live music and dancing, and a mask-making station, or sit back and watch master carver Tony Carrillo turn pumpkins into art.
Bug-A-Boo Butterfly Pavilion, October 19 & 20, $6.50-$9.50 The Butterfly Pavilion knows how to make Halloween creepy and crawly, with a day of bug-themed family fun. Dress up and participate in the costume parade led by Pete the Mantis, catch a cockroach race or get your face painted like your favorite critter. Indoor trick-or-treating will go on throughout the day; there will also be visits from a balloon artist and a stilt walker.
Halloween Boogie SkyVenture Colorado, October 25, Free Families are invited to the indoor skydiving arena for an epic Halloween show, with experienced flyers performing Cirque de Soleil-style. Skydiving demonstrations and choreographed dances will take place in the wind tunnel, complete with Halloween costume-wearing flyers. Families can enter to win a chance for some free flight time in the future, too.
Trick-Or-Treat Street Children's Museum of Denver, October 25, 26, & 27, $2-$9 A tradition for close to three decades, Trick-Or-Treat Street is a grand celebration for the little ones, with sing-alongs, cool science demonstrations and Curious George storytelling sessions throughout the weekend. Carnival games, arts and crafts, and sweet treats are part of the day's fun and for just $2, kids can take a ride on Vern's train.
Boo at the Zoo After Dark Denver Zoo, October 25, $10-$15 A candy lover's dream, this annual night-time zoo party has 25 different locations for trick-or-treaters to visit. Zookeepers will also be doing creepy, crawly demonstrations throughout the park and a live DJ will be spinning fun Halloween tunes.
Halloween Kids Fest Downtown Aquarium, October 25, 26, 27 & 31, ($2-$17.99, half price for kids in costume) Don't miss the Downtown Aquarium's fun-filled Halloween party, as divers hit the water in costume -- or participate in a costume contest yourself! Spooky science experiments, pumpkin painting and haunted train rides will also be a part of this multi-day holiday party.
Mile High Freedom Band presents: Spooktacular! Spooktacular! Kim Robards Dance, October 26, $15-$20 Mile High Freedom Band continues its yearly tradition of bringing classical, pop music and Broadway favorites together for a family-friendly show, cabaret-style. The orchestra will be throwing down songs like "I Put a Spell on You" (as sung by Bette Middler in Hocus Pocus), "Defying Gravity" from Wicked; "Uranus, the Magician" by Gustav Holst, a few Disney classics, and more. Plus, there's a matinee show for the little ones, and a second adults-only evening show with a bar.
Highland Haunt 32nd Avenue between Clay and Zuni streets, October 26, Free A neighborhood bash like no other, the sixth annual Highland Haunt has something for every age -- live music, a costume contest (for children and adults) and booths featuring various businesses in the area. Just $5 buys an all-access pass for kids to get wild in a bouncy castle, enjoy a hayride, get their faces painted, and take a trip to the pumpkin patch. This neighborhood block party is also a fundraiser for the Bienvenidos Food Bank.
Bat Encounter: Live! Denver Botanic Gardens, October 27, $7-$15 Kids and adults alike are invited to check out some of the rarest bats in the world at this unique educational event, hosted by bat expert Rob Mies, director of the Organization for Bat Conservation at Michigan's Cranbrook Institute of Science. Check the Gardens website for a full list of fun events happening throughout the season.
Pumpkin Carving Competition Little Man Cream , October 27, Free This LoHi ice cream spot's sixth annual pumpkin-carving competition and costume contest is sure to be a blast, complete with live music and pumpkin ice cream tastings. Locally grown pumpkins will be on sale for $3 to $12 and Little Man provides the cutting utensils (BYO-tools are also encouraged), for this ninety-minute tournament of creative carving.
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Monster Mash Southwest Plaza, October 31, Free Mall-wide trick-or-treating is just part of this event-packed evening, which also features games, crafts and face-painting for the whole family, along with a live, spooky dance performance from Allana's Academy of Dance. Still need a costume? The seasonally open Spirit Halloween store will also be open on the holiday.