Denver newcomer Danielle Look is visiting the city's spookiest sites for this month's Mile High Haunts series.
Take a short trip to Parker for a three-part haunt that’s engaging, detailed and pretty spooky, too.
Before you even set foot in Reaper’s Hollow
, you’ll encounter a ghostly, haggard snow fairy; a cemetery with a suspicious amount of turned-over dirt; and two towering gargoyles protecting the ticket booth. While you can still see the lights of nearby shopping-center parking lots as you approach that ticket booth, once you're inside the 32-acre Reaper's Hollow, the vastness of the property takes over. With so much land to work with, this haunt creates a brand-new experience every season; that's why one die-hard couple in line behind me said they come back time and time again. And this year, the seventh for Reaper's Hollow, the entire haunt has been revamped.
Once inside, you won’t find any animatronics, but you'll jump at the bizarre behavior of over seventy live actors hidden inside three uniquely different haunts. You get to pick the order in which you experience them; we decided to start with Goblins Grove, a haunted trail behind the Dead End Motel. Filled with mischievous, terrorizing goblins who each have their own call and attitude, this low-key romp through the woods proved a fun warmup for the night.
We went from the wide-open frights of an outdoor trail to the concealed insanity of the Dead End Motel. The sign out front makes this attraction look like an actual run-down motel in the middle of nowhere, and small details like the flashing “No Vacancy” neon and vintage Pepsi machine made me feel like I was about to check in to a spot where I might not be able to check out. Indeed, this proved to be the most intense of the three Reaper's Hollow attractions. But then, I was trapped inside a motel with a bunch of psychopaths. The place inspired plenty of screams, but the TV room was definitely the standout scare.
Finally, we headed back outside for the namesake haunt, Reaper’s Hollow...but not before first spending a few minutes with the hilariously creepy ticket-taker out front. This attraction starts out in a shack, which leads down into an authentic-looking cellar that eventually spills out into a cornfield. From there, we followed the path (not maze) that brought us to new structures to explore every so often, with more than a few surprises in the corn along the way.
Reaper’s Hollow has a professional yet DIY vibe that gives it a lot of charm and individuality. With excellent actors, an interesting indoor/outdoor set design and some damn good scares, Reaper's Hollow can more than hold its own with the more renowned attractions on the Mile High haunt scene,
11321 Dransfeldt Road, Parker
Tickets: $30 general admission, $45 fast pass
Open from 7 to 10 p.m. October 19-20, October 26-28 and October 31