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A wild baby lion roaming free during Boo at the Zoo.EXPAND
A wild baby lion roaming free during Boo at the Zoo.
Linnea Covington

The Best Kid-Friendly Halloween Fun in Denver

With the parties, costumes, fun in the dark, silly monsters, a sense of fear and excitement, and, of course, so much candy, Halloween is one of the best times of the year for children. Family-friendly activities surrounding this ghoulish holiday abound. No matter how you like to celebrate, there's something for every family. From daytime trick-or-treating to spooky movies to Halloween animals, take the kids out for some holiday fun this month.

Butterfly Pavilion’s Annual Bugtober Festival
6252 West 104th Avenue, Westminster
Through October 31
303-469-5441

Some people find bugs terrifying, but whether you do or don't, check out the Butterfly Pavilion's creepy-crawly Bugtober Festival. From now until October 31, the spine-tingling arachnid pavilion will be erected in the center of the butterflies; it's a space where large orb weaver spiders spin beautiful webs almost big enough to catch a toddler. For those looking for a Halloween bent, participate in Bug-a-Boo trick-or-treating on October 26 and 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There's also an after-hours flashlight tour through the special exhibits on October 25 and 26 at 5:30, 6 and 6:30 p.m., an up-close-and-personal encounter with cicadas in the Katydid Experience, and a look at the master illusionists of the invertebrate world who naturally blend into their surroundings. Tickets start at $8 for children and go up to $13.

Trick-or-treating during Fright Fest at Elitch Gardens.EXPAND
Trick-or-treating during Fright Fest at Elitch Gardens.
Elitch Gardens

Elitch Gardens' Fright Fest
2000 Elitch Circle
Saturdays and Sundays in October, noon to 5 p.m.
303-595-4386

Wander the haunted theme park by day to give your kids a fun and contained Halloween experience. Of course there will be treats, too, and everyone should come in costume to wander the Trick or Treat Trail in KiddieLand. There's also creepy coloring, a screaming contest and scary-oke. Visit the park from 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for the rest of October; just keep in mind that KiddieLand closes at 6 p.m., and that's when the park's scarier events begin.

Malloween and Scary Movies at the Orchard Town Center
14697 Delaware Street, Westminster
Fridays in October, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

In Westminster, visitors at the Orchard Town Center can get into the spirit of Halloween with a funky parade, dance party and trick-or-treating extravaganza on Saturday, October 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring a non-perishable food donation to get a free goodie bag and enjoy the festivities. And if you head to the center on Fridays in October from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., your little ones can take in a free spooky movie including Hocus Pocus on October 18 and Halloween Town on October 25.

Pumpkins are just one of the fun things to see at Boo at the Zoo.EXPAND
Pumpkins are just one of the fun things to see at Boo at the Zoo.
Denver Zoo

Boo at the Zoo
Denver Zoo
2300 Steele Street
October 19, 20, 26 and 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Every year things get wild at the Denver Zoo, and we're talking about kids hyped up on candy — not the majestic creatures on display. It's fun to come in costume and see little ones dressed up just like the lions, tigers and bears at the eighty-acre zoo. Expect a lot of people gathered around the trick-or-treat stations, character meet-and-greets, festive decorations to look at, snake charmers and an overall feeling of fun and festivities as you wander around this institution. Visit October 19, 20, 26 and 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All ages are welcome, but toy weapons are not allowed. Ticket run $14 for children three to eleven and $20 for those ages twelve and up.

BOOnion Station Trick-or-Treat Parade at Union Station.EXPAND
BOOnion Station Trick-or-Treat Parade at Union Station.
Union Station

BOOnion Station Trick-or-Treat Parade
Union Station
1701 Wynkoop Street
Thursday, October 24, 5 to 8 p.m.
303-592-6712

Celebrate all things Halloween during this festive community party that's free to all the families who wish to join. There's trick-or-treating at the tenant storefronts, balloon artists, face painting, a mini train to ride on and the crowning event, a parade. Dress in your best costume and try and win either the individual prize or the group/family costume prize. It takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 24 right, at the downtown station.

School of Rock Denver Halloween Party
216 South Grant Street
Friday, October 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
720-221-6991

On Friday, October 25, from 6 to 8 p.m., little monsters can get down with an epic party. This annual event includes games, goodies and a performance by the School of Rock Denver House Band. Dress in your best getup and enter the costume contest. The event is also a food drive for Food Bank of the Rockies, so bring your own non-perishable treat bag and enter the drawing for a $25 gift card from Guitar Center. Volunteers to help with the spooktacular party are also welcome. Sign up online.

Trick or Treat Street at the Children's Museum.EXPAND
Trick or Treat Street at the Children's Museum.
Linnea Covington

Trick or Treat Street at the Children's Museum
2121 Children's Museum Drive
Friday, October 25 to 27, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
303-433-7444

Bring costumes and be prepared to play at Trick or Treat Street at the Children's Museum. The annual event includes candy, games, snacks and art stations all over the already kid-focused museum, so your kiddos can do the Halloween thing and then spend the rest of the time running around Adventure Forest or digging in the massive sand pit. It's worth it just to see the adorable sight of a tiny dinosaur or pint-sized ninja crawling all over a fire truck. This is one event everyone enjoys, even among the chaos. Join the fun Friday, October 25, through Sunday, October 27, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $16 and free for members.

Luvin Arms Halloween Party
Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary
3470 County Road 7, Erie
Saturday, October 26, 4 to 7 p.m.
720-515-8577

Head to Erie for a not-so-spooky party that involves a ton of cuddly farm animals. Sure, there's a bunch of Halloween-esque things to do, such as pumpkin carving, haunted tractor rides and trick-or-treating, but you also get to feed pumpkins to pigs and visit with the rescued creatures living on the farm. Be part of a good cause and have fun on Saturday, October 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is free, and if you want food, check out vendors such as Piante Pizzeria, Best One Yet, Migration Taco and the Veggie Whisperer. Costumes are encouraged — especially if you come dressed as a compassionate character from an animal-centric book, which also will get you a pass to the special Book-O-Ween activity and the chance to win special prizes. Just make sure you wear sturdy, close-toed shoes; it's required for all visitors.

One of the creatures of the night at Cherokee Ranch & Castle.EXPAND
One of the creatures of the night at Cherokee Ranch & Castle.
Cherokee Ranch & Castle

Cherokee Ranch & Castle
6113 Daniels Park Road, Sedalia
Sunday, October 26, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
303-688-5555

Children, come and join the creatures of the night during this Halloween celebration on Sunday, October 27. And by creatures, we're talking owls, snakes, arachnids and frogs, not vampires and werewolves; and by night we mean 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. rather than under the light of the moon. During this special event at the Sedalia nature space, learn how each animal hunts, eats and lives, and hear special stories unique to them. Kids can even touch a live snake and pose for a slimy, slithering photo. Costumes are encouraged, and the event includes a romp around the castle and a spooky craft. Join the fun for $12 a ticket (two and under get in for free), which you can purchase online.

The sandwiches at Acova aren't spooky, but they are scary good.EXPAND
The sandwiches at Acova aren't spooky, but they are scary good.
Larina Chen

Trick or Treat on Navajo Street
36th and 37th Avenues on Navajo Street
October 31, 5 to 8 p.m.

Last year the tenants on Navajo Street hosted the first trick-or-treat extravaganza, and it went so well they're doing it again on October 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event takes place between 36th and 37th avenues on Navajo Street and includes candy from Framework Cycles and Denver Pilates Movement, hot chocolate from Pinwheel Coffee, scary movies with sweets at the Bug Theatre, and product samples and treats from Second Nature Salon. Also on the stretch, Acova will be hosting a Wizard of Oz-themed party, complete with decorations, good-witch and bad-witch shots for the adults, and candy for all the kids. It's a fun and safe way to trick-or-treat, with just as many treats for the adults.

Do you have an event you want to be considered for a Westword list? Send the details to editorial@westword.com.

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