Spook and Ladder

SAT, 10/25

Keep your eyes peeled for paranormal behavior at today's Meet the Fire House Ghosts at the Denver Firefighters Museum. "There is some definite poltergeist activity going on around here," says the museum's executive director, Carey Southwell.

Built in 1909 as Denver Fire House Number One, the station, at 1326 Tremont Place, served as a working firehouse until 1975 and was converted into a museum in 1978.

"The psychics that we've had come in tell us that they've seen ghosts doing everything from feeding horses to washing the fire trucks," says Southwell. "There was such a camaraderie among these men that this was their real home; this is where they chose to haunt."

To celebrate the spooking season, psychics Debra Vacano and Connie Dixon will give guided tours and tarot-card readings, and author Phil Goodstein will share tales of resident ghosts inhabiting some of Denver's best-known historical properties.

"You get used to having them around," says Southwell of her supernatural co-workers. "It's not really scary."

Kids, who are encouraged to come in costume, can play Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin and make Halloween crafts. Firefighters will hand out candy along with such Halloween safety tips as remembering to blow out your jack-o'-lantern candle at the end of the night and never going trick-or-treating alone.

The public hauntings will take place today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum. The free event is appropriate for kids ages three and up. For information, call 303-892-1436 or check out www.denverfirefightersmuseum.org. -- Julie Dunn

Jump Start
VERB seeks to keep kids hopping
SAT, 10/25

Here's one thing your dear old grandma can claim with confidence: "In my day, whippersnappers, kids were still, well, thin. We didn't have a steady diet of Ritz Bits and television. We rode our bikes and built snow forts after school." It's true -- kids today are chubbier, and some are downright obese. According to statistics from the U.S. Health Department's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of overweight children in America has doubled in the past twenty years, generating a new susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes in increasingly younger patients. That's why, last year, the CDC created its VERB Campaign, an online program promoting a daily regimen of physical activities for 'tweens ages nine to thirteen. Named after the "action" word, VERB features a participatory Web site offering an activity finder and encouragement from youth-culture celebrities such as Mia Hamm, Apollo Ohno, Solange Knowles and Bow Wow. Now VERB is going a step further by urging youngsters across the nation to seize the day -- specifically, today, when clocks are set back an hour -- and spend the extra hour playing soccer or hitting a tennis ball or dancing or turning cartwheels. For details, log on to www.verbnow.com; parents can join in at www.verbparents.com. -- Susan Froyd

Horsey Halloween
SAT, 10/25

What kind of horse would willingly dress up like a mummy? "It definitely takes a special horse," says Christine DeHerrera of the Colorado Horse Park. "Usually it's a family horse -- they're just like big Labrador retrievers, up for anything." As many as fifty equine baby dolls will dress up for today's Halloween With Horses Fall Festival, which runs from noon to 6:30 p.m. at the park, located at High Prairie Farms, 7522 South Pinery Drive, Parker. A different kind of Halloween family event, the fest also features a trick-or-treat barn, pony and camel rides, a pumpkin patch, storytelling, vendor booths and even fireworks at dusk. Admission is $5 (children under six admitted free); for details, call 303-841-5550 or visit www.highprairiefarms.com. -- Susan Froyd

Spooky Music
The CSO lets kids try on Halloween tunes
TUES, 10/28

Tonight the ghosts of composers Camille Saint-Sans, Hector Berlioz and Sergei Prokofiev will arise not to spook, but to introduce little ghosts and goblins to the magic of the symphony. The occasion is the Colorado Symphony Orchestra's Classic Halloween, a special performance of whimsical, kid-friendly works. The program will include such dynamic pieces as Saint-Sans's "Danse Macabre" and selections from Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and Prokofiev's Cinderella. Narrator Frank Oden will tie things together with funny, spooky poetry, and absolutely everyone will be in costume. Conductor Adam Flatt promises that even the shortest attention spans will be captivated by the exciting music and fantastic atmosphere.Audience members of all ages are encouraged to wear costumes to the concert, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Boettcher Hall, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7.50 for kids; call 303-893-4100 for yours. -- Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz

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Julie Dunn
Contact: Julie Dunn
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd
Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz