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Fifteen Best Spooky Special Events in Denver in October

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Even if Denver's sunny-then-freezing weather can't decide if it's fall yet, we're ready for Halloween and Día de los Muertos (and, hey, Flossy McGrews is back, everyone!). Fortunately, October's calendar is full of special, spooky shindigs in the Mile High City.  Here's our list of fifteen favorites — some for kids, some for adults, some for everyone — in chronological order. See the Westword calendar for even more haunted happenings this month, including haunted houses, Halloween parties, themed concerts and dance nights, horror-movie screenings, costume contests and kid-friendly happenings. 

Rocky Horror Show-Live on Stage
Strater Theatre, Durango
Friday, October 28 through Sunday, October 30

Ready for a spooky drive through the mountains? For the ninth year, the Henry Strater Theatre in Durango's old — and no doubt haunted — hotel is presenting Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show-Live on Stage, which dresses the transsexual aliens in funky Western wear and plenty of attitude. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For more information, call 970-375-7160 or go to strater.com

Night of the Living Dead: Live!
Bug Theatre
Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29

Now in its eighth year, the Bug Theatre and PaperCat Films' production of Night of the Living Dead: Live! has become a Halloween-season institution. This live-action version of George Romero's classic '60s zombie flick is equal parts blood and comedy, with an "urban legends" twist: The hook hand, bloody Mary and more terrifying fables make appearances in the storyline.  A visit to the Bug — and the Día de los Muertos-decorated Pirate: Contemporary Art gallery across the street — is a must this time of year. For tickets and more information, visit the Bug's website.
Moonlight History & Mystery Tours
Riverside Cemetery
Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29

Learn more about life in Denver through its famous dead on the Riverside Cemetery Moonlight History & Mystery Tour. Roam this functioning burial site with expert guides and learn about the turmoil and triumphs of early Queen City families like the Tabors, as well as such political powerhouses as former slave and Colorado pioneer Clara Brown. Wear warm clothes, but don’t dress in costume (so as not to disturb those visiting loved ones). Visit Fairmount Cemetery's website for more information, dates, times and tickets.
Victorian Horrors 
Molly Brown House Museum
Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29
$16 to $19

Now two decades in, Victorian Horrors is a signature Halloween event that combines the best of Denver's haunted history with famous authors of the past. Wander the city's famous Capitol Hill mansion and meet with Edgar Allan Poe, Phantom of the Opera author Gaston Leroux and many more writers of the past as local actors present live vignettes of spooky tales. For times, tickets and more information, visit the Molly Brown House Museum's website

Nightmare in the Air: An Aerial Dance Halloween Production
Illuminar Aerial, 2655 Industrial Lane, Broomfield
Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29
$10 to $18

This Nightmare Before Christmas-themed show is sure to excite and spook guests of all ages as Illuminar Aerial tells a scary story while flying through the air. The troupe's costumed acrobats and aerial gymnasts will work their choreographed magic on the stage and up above in this family-friendly show. Bold Barbecue will be serving up hot meals for purchase during the performances, and patrons are encouraged to dress up for the Halloween extravaganza. Tickets will be sold at the door, but advance purchase offers a reduced price. See the Illuminar Aerial website for details. 

Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Crossroads Theater at Five Points
Various dates through November 30
$19 to $24

Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe isn't the usual Halloween season tribute to the poet forever connected to spookiness. This play blurs the line between fact and fiction, using dialogue, poetry, and the operatic chops of local Ignite Theatre players to tell a detailed story about the writer's life. Featuring cabaret classics and power ballads, this genre-bending musical has something for everyone. For tickets and show dates, visit Ignite Theatre's website.

Optumentaries Presents: Phantasm & Scanners Double Feature
Mutiny Information Cafe
Friday, October 28, 10 p.m.

Optumentaries is the brainchild of Denver MC Ben "Opt Won" Chavez, who brings out favorite films from his personal collection to share with small audiences. In honor of the spooky season, Chavez has put together a double feature of the 1979 horror classic Phantasm and the 1981 sci-fi thriller Scanners. As a fan of throwbacks, the semi-regular Optumentaries series often focuses on the curator's love of music-connected movies, but Halloween calls for some freakier films. For more on this edition and other Optumentaries events, visit the Facebook page.

Keep reading for more spooky events.

Drag Nation: Hell on Heels
Friday, October 28, 9 p.m.
$15 to $30

Every edition of Drag Nation is a costume-clad banger, but add the Halloween holiday to the mix and things get even freakier. Hosted by Denver drag royalty Nina Flowers, this night brings special appearances by national queens and RuPaul's Drag Race stars like Bob the Drag Queen, Naomi Smalls and Tatianna. Filling out the evening will be a mix of talented local queens and the fearless strutting of the Denver Dance troupe, all set to the sounds of resident DJ Markie. Come dressed to impress for a chance at a $500 costume-contest prize, plus lots of photo ops with queens before and after the big show. Drag Nation: Hell on Heels is just one of many events Tracks is hosting this spooky season; go to the venue's website for more information, ticket sales and special multi-night ticket packages. 
Nightmares at the Mansion
The Governor's Residence at Boettcher Mansion
Friday, October 28, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

The Colorado’s Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion will be transformed into a spooky haunted “house” with scary, movie-themed rooms just for this evening. Members of Denver’s Black Actors Guild will perform vignettes from such classic thrillers as The Shining, Silence of the Lambs and Sweeney Todd throughout the house as horror-film-themed bites from the Colorado Chef’s Association are served along with alcoholic concoctions from Bottle Shop 33. Tickets (21 and up) for this spooky affair are good for the entertainment as well as hors d'oeuvres and one cocktail; additional drinks and draft beers will be available for purchase. For more information or to get tickets, call 303-837-8350 or visit the mansion's website
Pandemic Collective's The Woman in Black 
Bakery Arts Warehouse
Friday, October 28 through Monday, October 31

Pandemic Collective is back with its latest interactive theater piece, The Woman in Black. The troupe of eclectic artists utilizes new venues for each of its events and creates live soundscapes to set the spooky mood. This season, Pandemic Collective promises to bring the fright to its interpretation of the West End hit The Woman in Black. For tickets and more information, visit the show's Facebook event page
Boo at the Zoo and Boo After Dark
Denver Zoo

Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30
$12 to $17; free for members

The Denver Zoo becomes its own trick-or-treat neighborhood with Boo at the Zoo and Boo After Dark, with 25 stations where kids can collect candy. They can also meet mermaids, catch shows with magicians, pirates and jugglers, and sit down for a sing-along with princesses at these family-friendly gatherings. Costumes are encouraged, but no clown ensembles, masks or fake weaponry are permitted. For more information on these all-ages events or to purchase tickets, visit the Denver Zoo's website.

Boo & Brew on Colfax Avenue
The Bluebird District
Saturday, October 29, kids' activities 1 p.m.-4 p.m; adult festivities 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Dozens of local businesses help create the annual Boo & Brew on Colfax Avenue block party, which features a day party for kids and a nighttime shindig for adults. Face painting, pumpkin-decorating, a jump in a bouncy castle and, of course, lots of candy brings joy to the little ones during the day. By night, the 'Fax becomes one big pub crawl and Halloween party for adults, complete with costume contests and drink specials. Dressing up is encouraged for all ages. For more information and a list of participating stores, bars and restaurants on Colfax, visit the Boo & Brew event page on Facebook

Halloween Dance Parties
Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place, Boulder
Saturday, October 29 and Monday, October 31

From its Valentine's Day burlesque to its wild, multi-evening Halloween dance bashes, Shine in Boulder really knows how to party all year long. On October 29, Shine hosts its Halloween pre-party, offering food and drink specials and a dance floor bumping to the sounds of DJ Jahsonic. This adults-only haunted affair will host a costume contest, with winners getting gift certificates, beer and more. October 31 is a second night offering bone-chilling drink specials of the alcoholic or non-alcoholic variety while DJ Goodie keeps the dance floor hot. Call Shine in advance at 303-449-0120 to make table reservations, or just stop by the party.

Hostel Fish Insane Asylum
Saturday, October 29
1217 20th Street

The hostel above Ophelia's is hosting its second annual Halloween Party from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday night with killer cocktail deals, live entertainment and a crazy costume contest. You can check in...but can you check out? Find out more here.

Día de los Muertos
Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary and Cemetery

Sunday, October 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Celebrate life and ancestry at the annual Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary and Cemetery's Día de los Muertos gathering. Bring your own mementos, photographs, candles and other materials and join the altar-building competition, or just come to watch as these tributes to loved ones are created on the spot. Enjoy performances by the Sol de Mi Tierra mariachis and the Fiesta Colorado dancers, and learn more about the Day of the Dead holiday and its roots in Mexican history and culture. Registration is required in advance for the altar-building competition; e-mail nicole.galluzo@dignitymemorial.com. For more information on the day's events and guidelines for the altar contest, visit the event's Facebook page

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