It's October, which in Colorado means time for snow and 70-plus degree days. If you just moved here six months ago -- which is great! We're glad you did! -- there are some things you should know about Colorado. First, whatever clothes your brought from your home state, whether it was Hawaii or Wisconsin, you're set. We here in Colorado are famous for our inappropriate attire -- jeans with cowboy boots to fancy events, North Face jackets year-round and the CO-pride touting sleeveless puffy vest (or "idiot's jacket," as my native mom calls them) -- so if you want to rock board shorts and snow boots or flip flops and snow pants, just know we're fully supportive of that.
As we step into fall, one of our best mystery seasons -- along with the elusive idea of "spring," the season fall is often confused with -- we're offering these tips on how to brave and enjoy all that Colorado weather has to offer.
Fall = temperature schizophrenia Last weekend was a perfect example: Going from the 70s one day to the 40s the next, that's what fall means in Colorado. For all of you East Coast leaf-peepers, we have some color, too (especially in the mountains), but don't be surprised if snow shows up before the tree in front of your house has a chance to turn. Unlike fall in other states, where the weather cools evenly and you get a chance to acclimate your wardrobe, Colorado's version of fall insists that your bathing suit and snow boots are both a necessity until at least the end of October.
It's true: You can wash your car the same day that it snows Speaking of swimsuits and snow boots, there's a saying in Colorado: It might snow in the morning, but you could be washing your car by the afternoon. This couldn't be a better description of the summer-to-winter and winter-to-summer seasons known as fall and spring. Seriously, next time it snows in the morning and is 50 degrees by 2 p.m., step outside. At least one of your neighbors is probably washing their SUV -- or four-wheeler, boat, motorcycle, etc.
Footwear is not season-specific My best friend grew up in Malibu and went to school in Queens, but swears Denver is the only place she sees people really letting their freak flag fly. This is definitely the case for footwear: Next time you're standing in line at Moe's Bagels on a Saturday morning or wandering through LoDo, look down. You'll see cowboy boots, flip-flops, high heels, Crocs, Uggs, wading boots, riding boots, barefoot sport shoes (aka the creepy shoes with built-in toes), Chacos (those extreme-sports adventurer sandals that R.E.I. has dutifully stocked the state with), clogs, water socks, whatever. Snow or no snow, Coloradans love their specific footwear, and weather be damned, they are going to wear it.
Make sure you have two Halloween costume options The general rule of Halloween here: It will most likely snow the day before or the day of, so be prepared. Most of us growing up here had two costumes -- the one we labored over and really wanted to wear, and the one that was still recognizable, even if we had to put a snowsuit on over it. While this may apply more to trick-or-treaters, I hate being cold, so I always have a back-up "sailor" costume -- an actual vintage U.S. Navy uniform consisting of wool pants and a jacket, easily layerable with tights, fleece leggings and several long-sleeved shirts.
However, many of us natives are somehow immune to the cold (see: the guy who wears flip flops in the snow) and don't let the weather deter us from fun -- hence why the Polar Bear Plunge is not only a thing, it is a popular thing.
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Blizzards rule! Ask any Colorado native -- they know where they were during the blizzard of '82, '97, '03 and so on. I've camped out at a Village Inn for twenty hours (only to learn later that there was a wave of food poisoning that hit the location within days of my hanging out there waiting for a tow truck), I've been stuck in an apartment with my ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend for four days and I've run up a hefty tab at Streets of London because it was the only place open during a blizzard. But blizzards just mean no work and no school, and you can go sledding on your street! Cross your fingers we get twenty-plus inches of snow in one day sometime between now and May, and you'll get the full-on Denver weather experience you didn't even know you moved here for.