After compiling these events lists all month long, Westword can safely conclude that Halloween is easily the year's most pre-gamed holiday. Indeed, the list below is positively haunted with the Samhain spirit, overtaking brewpubs, museums and even the entire city of Manitou Springs. One thing readers needn't fear, however, is the impact on their pocketbooks, as all ten of the following events charge $10 or less for admission, and most of them require no fee whatsoever. Get ready to giggle, wiggle and watch ornate coffins race to the finish line; keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.
HEAD2HEAD Boulder Block Slam
Thursday, October 25, 8 to 10 p.m.
Dairy Arts Center
Cram in some poetry slams provided by Punch Drunk Press and the Dairy Arts Center, when HEAD2HEAD invades the tony Boulder venue with the genre- and gender-bending verse of featured performer Devin Walker. Discover the poetic multitudes of the Mile High at an evening that weaves the creative potential of an open mic into a professional presentation. Readers keen to seize the mic or fade into the anonymity of the audience are equally welcome to attend. Admission is $5 at the door; get more information on the Writer's Block Facebook events page.
Cartoons & Comedy Halloween Spooktacular
Thursday, October 25, 10 p.m.
Moe's Original BBQ
Producing a comedy show tends to be more stressful than rewarding, a process fraught with unforeseen conflicts. Even six years into its existence, running Cartoons & Comedy still presents producer Chris Baker with unexpected hurdles to clear, like a double-booking mishap that required a sudden, one-time-only venue change. Luckily, Moe's Original BBQ agreed to host Cartoons & Comedy's Mystery Science Theater 3000-inspired mischief at the 530 North Broadway location. October's edition welcomes returning riffster Timmi Lasley along with Mike Stanley and Greg Baumhauer, co-hosts of "Thick Skin" at Comedy Works. Grab a bowl of cereal (or a rack of ribs) and watch as local standups lay comedic waste to the ’toons of yesteryear. Admission is free; find out more on the Cartoons & Comedy Facebook events page.
Friday, October 26, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Galavanting ghouls can indulge in a bit of Prohibition-era glamour without fear of missing the last train home at Spooky Speakeasy, a creepy yet classy way to kick off Halloween weekend. Sample themed cocktails while grooving away to beats provided by DJ Phanatic with a crowd of costumed revelers at Union Station's Terminal Bar. Be sure to bring your best regalia game; the festivities also include a costume contest that offers winners a free one-night stay at the Crawford Hotel. Guests must be at least 21 years of age. Visit Terminal Bar's Facebook events page for more details.
24th Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade
Saturday, October 27, noon to 4 p.m.
Colorado mountain towns specialize in morbidly quirky celebrations that make little sense to outsiders, and the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade in Manitou Springs ranks among the top five of the Centennial State's freakiest festivals. This event is inspired by the ghoulish fate of Emma Crawford, a tuberculosis sufferer who relocated to the scenic foothills hamlet in the hopes that the arid climate and free-flowing mineral waters would alleviate her symptoms (they didn't). Crawford was buried by request at the summit of Red Mountain, but seasonal floods washed her remains out of her final resting place, sending her casket careening down the hillside and establishing a macabre fixture of local lore. In 1995, Manitou's defiantly weird citizenry decided to commemorate the outlandish post-mortem journey of the town's most tragic resident with the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade, which returns for its 24th year on Saturday, October 27. Registration for eligible racers has officially closed, but anyone willing to arrive early enough to secure a parking spot can partake in the gleefully ghoulish spectacle as over seventy competitors hurtle down Manitou Avenue toward a grand victory or ignominious defeat. Stick around for the Festival de los Muertos in nearby Memorial Park. Visit the Emma Crawford Festival home page to discover more.
Adult Trick or Treating on Antique Row
Saturday, October 27, Noon to 5 p.m.
Eager to sprinkle some Halloween freaking onto your autumnal antiquing? Embark on a costumed cavalcade at Adult Trick or Treating on Antique Row, an ideal way to drink and dine your way through one of Denver's most tempting shopping thoroughfares. While a select number of area venues will be offering specialty tipples for the 21-and-up crowd, children are more than welcome to partake in the festivities; participating vendors will also have hordes of candy available for the younger crowd. Don your costume a few days early and amble through a gauntlet of vintage goods at an event that proves that achieving adulthood doesn't mean forsaking tricks and/or treats. Learn more on Antique Row's Facebook events page.
Candlelight Gothic Night
Saturday, October 27, 7 to 11 p.m.
Fiction Beer Company
Brew up some bonhomie in the darkened taproom of Fiction Beer Company when the brewery cuts out the lights and pumps up the jams for Candlelight Gothic Night. Best of Denver award-winning DJ Erin Stereo seamlessly blends the horrific verse and prose of Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker with the finest capital-G Gothic compositions music history has to offer. And fret not, penny-pinching Halloweeners: heebies, jeebies and freebies abound. Gussy up in your goth-iest attire and indulge in shadowy delights beneath the candlelights at one of the weekend's spookiest soirées. Visit Fiction Beer Company's Facebook events page for more information.
Broomfield Symphony: Flute Concert
Saturday, October 27, 7:30 p.m.
$4 to $22
Behold an accomplished flautist flouting her skills as the Broomfield Symphony opens its season by putting soloist Christina Jennings in the sonic spotlight. The inaugural 2018 concert program comprises a medley of masterworks composed specifically for Jennings's instrument of choice, including the symphonic Poem by Charles T. Griffes, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Flute Concerto in D Major" and the Magic Flute overture, along with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. Buy tickets, $4 to $22, and find out more on the Broomfield Symphony's event calendar.
Weird Touch Halloween Fête
Saturday, October 27, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Human contact is seldom stranger than during the year's spookiest season, and readers eager to convene with ostentatiously outfitted outliers need look no further than Syntax Physic Opera's Weird Touch dance party for a sufficient helping of weekend wilding. Boogie down to beats provided by DJs Fancy Matthew, Shannon von Kelly and Tyler Snow at a scenester soirée for costumed revelers. Admission is $5 at the door for revelers ages 21 and over. Visit Syntax Physic Opera's Facebook events page for more details.
Comedy Saved the Video Star
Saturday, October 27, 9:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Nostalgic for the Total Request Live era of MTV dominance? Local comedian and podcaster J.D. Lopez is here to feed your ’90s-based needs with Comedy Saved the Video Star, a joke-filled jaunt down memory lane. Make merry mockery of music videos with October guests Lizzy Wolfson, Mitch Jone, Tim Coleman and Sammy Anzer, who've each submitted their favorite roast-ready video. Readers with a particular eagerness to revisit their Carson Daly-calling days are advised to arrive early to help curate a pre-comedy highlights reel. Admission is free, but donations are graciously appreciated. Find out more on Left Hand Right Brain's Facebook events page.
Trick or Treat Train
October 27 to 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Colorado Railroad Museum
$5 to $15
Hop aboard a choo-choo chugging along as the Colorado Railroad Museum submits to the spirit of the season with the Trick or Treat Train, a family-friendly goodie bag bursting with delights for Hallowee-kenders. The museum invites guests to explore the decidedly mild thrills of the "Haunted Railcar" and "Olde Railroaders Silly Graveyard" exhibits with a handily steam-powered escape route. Guests can also get their gourd on at an on-site Pumpkin Patch cart, or pose for autumnally evocative portraits provided by Mama Chicken Photography. Buy tickets, $5 to $15, and learn more on the Colorado Railroad Museum box-office page.
Have an event you want included in a Westword list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.