The witching hour is upon us! Just ask organizers of one of the dozens of Halloween-related events going on around Denver this week, including a witches' ball, an oddities expo, and a Gatsby-inspired zombie ball. All that and more is in this week's 21 best events in Denver list.
Tuesday, October 23
A crew of local comedy spooks is set to float out of the woodwork for the Roast of Halloween, a ghost story with big laughs that will haunt the Comedy Works during the last two weeks of October. Join Roast creators Dracula (Deacon Gray) and Brent Gill (Evil Clown), host Byron Graham (our man on the Westword comedy beat) and a clown car full of comics disguised as creepy characters as they go head to head in a verbal battle of wicked wits (headless horsemen, we suppose, will have to battle hand to hand...). Catch the show at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, or Tuesday, October 31, at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village, or at 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 25, or Monday, October 30, at Comedy Works Downtown, 1226 15th Street. Admission is $14 for any show; reserve a seat in advance at comedyworks.com.
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Blend a little high culture into your beer-hall ritual with Beethoven and Brews, a roving concert series from the Colorado Symphony. While guests can always expect fine performances at these events, the show that starts at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, is particularly in tune with the season, as a costume contest will award the winner — determined by an audience-wide vote — with two tickets to the upcoming Disney in Concert: The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tickets to the 21+ event are $40 and include light hors d’oeuvres and beer samples; VIP passes ($65) include early entry, an extra pour, a brewery tour and a souvenir glass. Learn more at coloradosymphony.org.
Wednesday, October 25
If you can’t make it a full week between episodes of Dancing With the Stars, don’t miss Dancing With Boulder Stars, a benefit for the YWCA of Boulder County. While you won’t get insider access to Boulder celebrities’ training snafus and stumbles at the event, you’ll get to watch them perform tango, hip-hop and salsa routines in front of judges and a live audience. Choose which couple has the correct number of left feet (that would be two) and vote for your favorite by making a donation to the YWCA. The two-stepping starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 25, at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street. Tickets to the all-ages program are $15 to $40 for general admission and $55 for VIP, which includes a reception with snacks at 5:30 p.m. and two drink tickets; get yours at bouldertheater.com.
Thursday, October 26
This year marks a decade of the Neustadt JAAMM Festival, and the celebration of Jewish arts, authors, movies and music has only gotten better with age. From Thursday, October 26, through Sunday, November 12, the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 South Dahlia Street, will host a wealth of events spanning dance, theater and literature. There’s the Stomp-style percussive movement of Israeli troupe Tararam; Klezmer music of all flavors, traditional and modern; a screening of the film Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, which documents the life of the groundbreaking comic; lectures by figures as diverse as activist Morris Dees (co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center), film critic Leonard Maltin and genealogist Lisa Louise Cooke; and more. Tickets to individual events start at just $10; see jccdenver.org for a complete schedule of events.
Hakeem Furious is Denver slam poet Andre Carbonell’s fitting stage handle, an apt description of the word-attack style he adopts at the mic as he mines the here and now of social justice. As a resident artist at PlatteForum, Furious expanded those themes as he took a group of ArtLab high school interns under his wing for a series of poetry workshops on the existential problems of modern life, from systemic racism to the crushing weight of capitalism on at-risk communities. To cap off his work there, and fresh off representing Denver’s Slam Nuba at the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam competition in Spokane, Furious will deliver Dinner With the Ego and I, an immersive spoken-word performance inspired by the search for identity in a world gone awry. Furious will unload at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street in the Temple complex; admission is free, but seating is limited. Copies of Furious’s poetry book will be available for purchase at the event. Learn more at platteforum.org.
What happened in the past often fires inspiration for things to come, and that’s what Archives as Muse, a one-night presentation hosted by the Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists, in partnership with Arthyve and Denver Arts & Venues, is all about. From 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, a panel of eight local artists will engage in the conversation, punctuating how they’ve used archival material in new work, with physical examples at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Later, participants can adjourn to an after-party at Leon Gallery, 1112 East 17th Avenue, where an exhibit of related works is currently on view through October 29. The general public can also join in at a formal reception for the show at Leon from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 27, which will include free live performances at 7 and 8 p.m. by artists Esther Hernandez and Elyssa Lewis. For more information and tickets to Archives as Muse, $15, visit arthyve.org.
Friday, October 27
Denver Comic Con is but a fading summer memory, and it’s been a few months since you last dressed up (in public, at least), so don’t miss MileHiCon. The local institution is now in its 49th year of bringing sci-fi and fantasy authors, artists and fans together in all their glorious geekiness. In addition to the typical cosplay contests, merch auctions and celebrity meet-and-greets, you can enroll in the interactive theater that is the Avistrum Academy of Sorcery and enter Critter Crunch, a rock ’em, sock ’em robotics competition. The con runs from Friday, October 27, through Sunday, October 29, at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center, 7800 East Tufts Avenue. And while online ticket sales are over, you can still register at the door ($20 to $64). Check out milehicon.org for more information, including a complete schedule of events.
Rainbow Alley has pulled out all the stops for its Halloween extravaganza, Night of the Living Queer, a festive bash bursting with tricks and treats from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 27. A safe space for LGBTQ youths to unwind among friends and allies, Rainbow Alley, 1301 East Colfax Avenue, is a crucial hub of tolerance in the Mile High City that also happens to organize some of the best teen-centric events. For youngsters with a yen for the limelight, Night of the Living Queer will offer an open stage for performers between the ages of eleven and 21, where they can act, sing, dance and lip-synch to their hearts’ content in a costume of their choosing. It’s an ideal opportunity for burgeoning drag kings and queens to strut their stuff, but the stage is open to any performer within the aforementioned age range. In addition to enjoying the show, guests can enter a costume contest for the chance to win fabulous prizes, or nibble on treats at a bake sale that will donate half its proceeds to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Find out more at Rainbow Alley’s Facebook events page.
MCA Denver’s popular Black Sheep Fridays have come to signify the contemporary art museum’s traditional autumnal slide into the holiday season by encouraging the bumping of elbows and creativity for the masses — with a big side of silly. On Friday, October 27, Black Sheep programming turns to Extreme Glamour Shots, which, as the event name implies, includes a combination of glitzy photo shots and straight-up shots — choose your poison — with all the props you’ll need for a selfie makeover. The spirits will flow during happy hour at 5 p.m., followed by flashbulbs popping from 7 to 9 p.m. at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street; admission is $5 and includes the first shot; members get in free. Go to mcadenver.org/events for details and the full Black Sheep Fridays lineup, which runs through January 19.
Now embarking on its seventeenth season, Buntport Theater remains innovative while creating original theater in plays oftentimes rooted in classic literature. The latest, Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat, brings all that and more to the stage in a story about a Poe-obsessed podcaster who lives in his sister’s basement and subsists on meals from Boston Market. When he buys a suit at the thrift store, things get weird and, perhaps, the laughs get louder. Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead premieres at 8 p.m. Friday, October 27, and runs through November 19 at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street; for tickets, $25 on opening night (reception included) and $15 to $20 thereafter, visit buntport.com or call 720-946-1388. There will be a pay-what-you-can performance at 8 p.m. on Monday, November 6.
Get a sophisticated — and delicious — sense of the real beauty of Día de los Muertos at FEED: Los Muertos, an evening ode to the departed hosted by Boulder’s Catamounts theater company, a group known for periodically blending food and drama. This event’s seated three-course meal, enhanced by live music and performance, includes small plates by the Los Dos Bros Mexican Food Truck and special cocktails courtesy of Suerte Tequila; actor Amy Luna and Kebrina Josefina de Jesus and Michael Paff of Samba Colorado will handle the entertainment. Experience FEED at 7 p.m. Friday, October 27, or Saturday, October 28, at the Firehouse Art Center, 667 Fourth Avenue in Longmont; tickets, $45 to $135, are available at brownpapertickets.com. Learn more about FEED and the Catamounts’ 2017-2018 season at thecatamounts.org.
Saturday, October 28
From its deco decor to its old-school hospitality, everything about Nocturne harks back to times gone by. And Scott and Nicole Mattson’s retro-glam supper club, at 1330 27th Street, is celebrating All Hallow’s Eve with a tribute to Gatsby, the Jazz Age...and zombies. Tickets are on sale for the third annual Great Gatsby Zombie Ball on Saturday, October 28; Gypsy Swing Revue will provide the music while you enjoy a four-course tasting menu — which is sure to include braaaaains — and the dress code is “dead but refined.” Choose from the 6:30 or 9:30 p.m. seating ($55 to $70) or nab bar seating ($15 to $20) at Nocturne’s Facebook page.
Skulls and bones, taxidermy, squirrel-jaw necklaces, preserved octopi, mummified coyotes, voodoo dolls, mourning jewelry and Victorian ephemera — these are just a few of the darker, creepier things you can expect to see at the Denver Punk Rock Flea Market’s seasonal Denver Oddities & Curiosities Expo, a vendor market that pumps up the retail horror quotient just in time for Halloween shopping. The all-ages event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 28, at the Fox Street Compound, 725 West 39th Avenue, and will overflow with Halloween-ready spooky decor, jewelry, costume props and trendy goth wear, along with sideshow entertainment and food trucks to satisfy your hunger. It’s also a great way for grownups to get ready for the official after-party — a Zombie Prom from 8 p.m. to midnight at the same location. Admission to the expo is $5 at the door (kids ages twelve and under admitted free); Zombie Prom tix are also $5, at givebacktickets.com. Visit the Denver PRFM Facebook page for more information.
Even paragons of Denver high culture can’t resist indulging in a bit of scare-season fun. Hence the return of the Colorado Symphony’s Halloween Spooktacular for another afternoon of mild frights and grand delights on Saturday, October 28, at 2:30 p.m. at Boooo-ettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hear some of composer John Williams’s most iconic scores, including the “Imperial March” from Star Wars and “Harry’s Wondrous World” from the Harry Potter series, along with canon favorites such as the rollicking final section of Giaochino Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” and Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” to name but a few. Join conductor Jason Seber for this family-friendly matinee, and foster the next generation’s love for the ageless charms of classical music. Patrons are not only encouraged to wear costumes, but the best ones will be invited on stage to show off (this year’s theme is superheroes). Get tickets — $10 for children and $25 for adults — more information, and a look at the symphony’s 2017-18 season at coloradosymphony.org.
Glimpses into Denver’s formative years are always available at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest Street, whose heyday just so happened to coincide with the golden age of morbid parties and spooky curios: the Victorian era. Discover the phrenological practices of our Coloradan ancestors, divine your future with tarot cards, and find out what tea-dueling is at Four Mile’s Spirits & Spirits Halloween Party on Saturday, October 28. Admission to the 21-and-up event includes food, two complimentary “local libations,” and a séance for VIPs. The cavorting and carousing begin at 6 p.m. and go until 9. Get more information and tickets, $50 to $80, at eventbrite.com.
The Halloween party to end all Halloween parties — at least until the next Halloween party — the 303 Halloween Ball at the McNichols Civic Center Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, will be a true graveyard smash, brimming with everything a costume-clad reveler could want, including a spooky makeover of all three floors of the building and over forty live performers, DJs and bands, not to mention an open bar flowing with Jim Beam, Exotico Tequila and Red Bull as well as Pinnacle and Effen vodkas. And no Halloween party would be complete without a costume contest, which in this case will include a $2,000 cash prize for the winner. The freaky fun starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 28; find more details and buy tickets, $69 to $119 ($39 GA tickets are sold out), at eventbrite.com. A portion of the proceeds will benefit an unnamed charitable organization.
Pull your head out of that comic book — and go find some more comic books! Kids ages nine to 99 will find something to do at the Halloween Carnival & ComicFest 2017, a comics fest and carnival hosted by Vision Comics & Oddities, 3958 South Federal Boulevard in Sheridan, with free comics, a candy buffet, pizza, a costume contest and a horror-pinball arcade. For collectors, Vision will be offering a 10 percent discount on anything in the store, and to make it even more worth your while, the shop will throw in a free eyeball tote with a $50 purchase (while supplies last). Turn the page on Halloween from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 28; get more info at the Vision Comics & Oddities Facebook page.
Make magick, explore your inner Wiccan and gorge on Game of Thrones geekery at the 26th anniversary Denver Witches’ Ball, a Samhain celebration and masquerade party that’s become a tradition in the pagan community. This year’s event runs with the GOT theme, conjuring the HBO blockbuster through music by Danaerys and the Targaryens, a Dragon Egg Hunt, photo ops on a throne of swords, a GOT burlesque show, a GOT trivia contest, and Dragontinis from the Throne Bar; the party’s prodigious eats will range from event-appropriate turkey legs to vegan shepherd’s pie. Dress up, bring the kids and dance from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, October 28, at the Highlands Masonic Center, 3550 Federal Boulevard. Tickets are $25 in advance at denverwitchesball.com or $30 at the door ($5 for children ages twelve and under); food tickets, $10 for twelve or $20 for 24, are also available online.
Sunday, October 29
Got your Deadpool costume ready for Halloween? Don those tights and be a real hero at the Superhero Heart Run, a fundraiser for Pediatric Congenital Heart Association of Colorado and Heart Heroes Inc., nonprofits that aim to support kids diagnosed with congenital heart defects and their families. Cherry Creek State Park, 4201 South Parker Road in Aurora, will host the 5K race (or walk!), which starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 29 (walk-up registration begins at noon). There’s also a 2K course for the smallest superhero in your squad. You’ll get your own fundraising page when you register ($25) at superheroheartrun.com.
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It’s not much of a marathon, but the annual Running of the Gays, now in its eighth year, is a hell of a party, where high-heeled dudes and the occasional tutu-clad lady go for the gold on a three-block stretch of East 17th Avenue. It’s all for a good cause: The Denver youth poetry nonprofit Art From Ashes will use funds collected at the event to provide creative empowerment workshops for LGBTQ+ youth. All registered participants walk — or run — away with free T-shirts, boas and goodie bags, as well as free mimosas at Steuben’s. There will also be a family-friendly after-party and free foot massages at X Bar, and free entertainment for all by local poets the Bella Diva Dancers and Elvis impersonator Lori Marie “Shelvis” Muha. The teetering runners take off at 11 a.m. Sunday, October 29, from ACE Eat & Serve, 501 East 17th Avenue; registration is $40 at bitly.com/ROTG2017.
Monday, October 30
If you’ve aged out of the trick-or-treating demographic but still fancy an amble through a spooky neighborhood on Devil’s Night, consider an informative yet hair-raising tour through some of Capitol Hill’s most haunted sites. That’s precisely what’s on offer at Best Tours of Denver’s Twilight Ghost Tour. Learn all about the scandalous histories of Denver’s founders, many of whom still reportedly haunt their stately former homes. Two Twilight Ghost Tours commence at 7:15 and 8 p.m. on Monday, October 30, and cover 2.1 miles in about two hours. Walkers will gather in front the Archer Towers Apartments, 901 Sherman Street. Visit the Best Tours of Denver Facebook page for tickets, $20, and more information.