Arts and Culture

Ten Things to Do in Denver for $10 and Under

Careen though Colorado history at the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival in Manitou Springs on Saturday, October 27.
Careen though Colorado history at the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival in Manitou Springs on Saturday, October 27. Brandon Marshall
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.

Courtesy of Terminal Bar
Spooky Speakeasy
Friday, October 26, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Terminal Bar

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.
Manitou Springs

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. 

click to enlarge COURTESY OF ANTIQUE ROW
Courtesy of Antique Row
Adult Trick or Treating on Antique Row
Saturday, October 27, Noon to 5 p.m.
Antique Row

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.
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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham