It's October, which means it's time to grab your little ones and get spooky. Between the pumpkin festivals, trick-or-treating opportunities and events illuminated by tons of glowing lights that keep the night from getting too dark and spooky, there's plenty to do this month. Keep reading for our harvest of the best family-friendly fall events, in chronological order.
Thrill-seekers should head to Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle, for Fright Fest, a haunting event that happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, now through October 28 (prices vary). Younger kids may like the weekend daytime hours best, since they're less spooky but still include the tasty Trick or Treat Trail and plenty of themed fun. For older adventurers, the Fright by Night is the way to go; monsters and ghosts will be popping up around every corner.
Bugtober: Toxic Terrors
Just the idea of a creepy-crawly bug is enough to make many people jump,screaming for help. Yes, bugs can be scary, and the folks at the Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 West 104th Drive in Broomfield, are counting on that to keep the place jumping all month long. The whole space is bugged out for October, with giant spiders and special events to keep things hopping. You can trick or treat inside on October 20 and 21, and take a flashlight tour of the venue on October 26 and 27. Wear a costume for the trick-or-treating and find out what it's like to face your fears. Admission ranges from $7 to $11 per person, depending on age.
Corn Maze, After Dark Maze and Dead Zone Scream Park
Getting lost in the daylight in the corn maze at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton, can be frightening, so imagine if you traipsed through it at night. Then add people dressed as monsters, zombies and ax murderers jumping out as you try and find your way out: Yeah, it might not be the best Halloween adventure for little kids, but if you have mature children, you'll want to bring them here for some good, old-fashioned horror-movie fun. Attractions include the Corn Stalkers haunted maze, the After Dark Maze and the Dead Zone Scream Park, along with Fear Flicks; events run now through October 28.
Great Wolf Lodge, Colorado Springs
Head to Colorado Springs and take advantage of the Halloween festivities at the Great Wolf Lodge, 9494 Federal Drive, each evening. From now through the end of October, your little ones can go trick-or-treating any night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and that's just the start of the Halloween fun. The lodge also hosts monster-themed games in the lobby, such as Witch Hat Ring Toss, Mummy Bowling, Feed the Monster and Boo Bingo. There's a Howl-O-Ween house in the lobby, and throughout the month, visitors can expect spirited dance parties, themed character breakfasts, haunted scavenger hunts and more. All this, and guests of the resort can take advantage of the 105,000-square-foot water park when they're done being spooky.
Adams County Fair and Regional Park Complex
Expect all things pumpkin at this new, interactive adventure in the Adams County Fair and Regional Park Complex, 9755 Henderson Road in Brighton. The experience includes eight multi-sensory "Pumpkin Lands" showcasing over 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins, both of the foam and squash variety. The space will be illuminated with neon lights and paint creating the alebrijes, or spirit animals, in the animated movie Coco, which will also be screening. Chat with pumpkin-carving artists, visit the pumpkin patch, paint your own orange orb, nibble on treats and see the fire dancers flit between everything else. Pumpkin Nights runs October 17 through November 4, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.; tickets are $20 for ages 13 to 59, $16 for ages 4 to 12 and 60-plus, and free for 3 and under.
Glow at the Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens
Wander around the Denver Botanic Gardens (1007 York Street) at night and take in the stunning displays of eerie, lit-up pumpkins. All of the orange orbs were harvested from the venue's own gardens, and each is hand- carved into an amazing sculpture (look for the headless horseman and zombie cats). Aside from the organic art, guests can expect spooky tales thanks to Stories With Spirit, Chad Wonder's magic tricks, trick-or-treating, carnival games, glow-in-the-dark cornhole, crafts and more. The fun runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on October 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25, and tickets run $14 for children and $18 for adults. Children are welcome to come in costume, though masks and weapons aren't permitted.
Boo at the Zoo
For over thirty years. the Denver Zoo (2300 Steele Street) has hosted Boo at the Zoo, a two-weekend-long event featuring candy, animals, costumes and creepy-crawly demonstrations. Costumes are encouraged (though not required); it's fun to watch all the little kids in their Halloween finery parade around the venue (keep in mind that kids twelve and older can't wear masks due to safety reasons, and fake weapons aren't allowed at all). Bring your own trick-or-treat bag and arrive early before the zoo gets too wild. Boo at the Zoo runs October 20, 21, 27 and 28; prices start at $14 for kids 3 to 11, $17 for ages 12 to 64, $17 for ages 65 and up, and free for 2 and under.
Broadway Halloween Parade
Get dressed in your best costume on Saturday, October 20 and get ready to parade down the middle of Broadway at 6 p.m. Saturday, October 20. This is the second annual fete hosted by the Broadway Merchants Association and City Council Lucky District 7 and stretches from Fifth Avenue to Alameda. Aside from fellow marchers' colorful creations, expect to see phantom floats, marching bands and other spooky sights. And if you really enjoy the parade, register to have a float in next year's.
Monster Bash Halloween Party
The Curtis (1405 Curtis Street) and Pop Culture Classroom have joined forces to host the ultimate all-ages Halloween party on Saturday, October 20, from 8 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $15 for ages 18 and up and free for younger kids. Admission gets guests full access to special video game stations, a dance party with DJ There's an Ape for That, monster cameos and trick-or-treating around the hotel; they can try to win tickets to the next Denver Pop Culture Con as well as other goodies. As a bonus, the Monster Bash Halloween Party benefits Pop Culture Classroom, a local nonprofit that uses and shares comics, graphic novels and pop culture as educational resources. To purchase tickets, go here.
Fall Flannel Festival
Head to the Dairy Block and Denver Milk Market for a unique fall fete. There's plenty of safe trick-or-treating to be had (until 1 p.m.), kid-friendly games, free face painting, balloon art, live pumpkin carving and even a pumpkin patch for tykes to pick their perfect jack-o-lantern from. There's also an Artistic Scarecrow Installation, which features six scarecrows created by Denver artists Randy Segura, Sydney Eitel, Tadd Moskal, Erik Rieger, Jennifer Mosquera and Michael Rieger. The event takes place Sunday, October 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the pedestrian alleyway behind the venue.
BOOnion Station: Kids Halloween Parade & Party
For the fifth year in a row, Union Station will host a spooktacular party for kids. The free event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, and includes trick-or-treating in the merchant shops, mini-train rides for mini people, balloon artists, face painting and more. There's also a costume contest and parade around the property at 5:30 p.m., so get creative.
Trick or Treat Street
Get ready for three days of crazy Halloween fun at the Children's Museum, 2121 Children's Museum Drive, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 26 through October 28. Kids can come in their costumes and hit up various face- painting, art and sponsored stations around the venue to get candy and other goodies that, in the past, have included yogurt cups, string cheese and toothbrushes. The museum is decked out for the holiday in all its spooky splendor, so after stuffing your face, take a break from the festivities to play on hay bales, climb around the fire truck, visit the stuffed-animal veterinary clinic and other imagination-inducing activities. There's also going to be an instrument petting zoo thanks to Swallow Hill Music. Members and kids under one get in free; ages 2 to 59 pay $16.
Halloween at the Museum: Family Overnight
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
If the idea of sleeping among the chilling dioramas in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (2001 Colorado Boulevard) sounds spooky, then this special Halloween night at the museum on October 26 is for you. Planned for kids ages 5 to 8, the haunting event entails all sorts of spirited activities, from trick-or-treating in the exhibits to bug eating with the folks from Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, playing with things that glow, and a dip in the Egyptian mummies room. Kids should get there at 6 p.m. to indulge in pizza, snacks, candy and a movie in the IMAX theater; then, after all the fun has been had, they can curl up in their sleeping bags and wake to breakfast the next morning. Tickets start at $55.
Halloween Kids Fest
The deep of the ocean is vast and dark and full of spooky creatures, so it's only natural that you'd want to head to the closest thing Denver has to the sea this season, the Downtown Aquarium (700 Water Street). On October 27 and 28, the Aquarium will host a Halloween Kids Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a not-so-haunted train ride, guess-the-weight-of-the-giant-pumpkin game, monster-mural painting, a costume contest, shark watch and more. And, yes, there will be trick-or-treating for the kids, and children in costume get half-off admission with a paying adult.
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Be-Witching Brunch Buffet
If you dress your little one in a costume and head to brunch at the ViewHouse Centennial (7101 South Clinton Street, Centennial), not only will you get to enjoy the spooky spread, but the kid will eat for free (twelve and under, everyone else pays $28.95 per person). Expect to fill up on piles of pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon-infused whipped cream, roasted sweet potatoes and pumpkin seeds, squash soup, eerie eggs, mountains of meat and more. There's even a candy bar for the kids and adults looking to cure a sweet tooth. Everything is all-you-can-eat, so come hungry and enjoy this monstrous mess of food and fun. The special holiday brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 28.
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