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 theWestword 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.
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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.