Halloween isn't a holiday limited to a single evening of celebrations. There are ghoulish parties all week, many of which include costume contests with serious cash prizes. Whether you're into zombies or burlesque (or both -- there are two parties for that alone) or you just want to dance and get spooky, there's an event for you.
In the list below, we've compiled the top twenty adult-friendly Halloween happenings between now and November 1. The celebrations we're highlighting are definitely adult-friendly; check the Westword online calendar for complete listings of haunted tours, family-friendly Halloween gatherings, zombies-only parties and more. And if you think we've missed a good party, share the information in the comments section below.
The Annual Lipgloss Sci-Fi Halloween Party and Day of the Dead Halloween Party, Beauty Bar, October 25 & November 1, $5 Touted as the longest-running indie dance party in the U.S., Lipgloss gets the floor jumping each and every Friday night. But the shindig goes all out for Halloween, first with a sci-fi themed gathering putting Han Solos and sexy aliens in the spotlight on October 25. Then on November 1, Lipgloss will throw a Day of the Dead night to remember with an MIA listening party as well as dancing, face-painting and, of course, costumes. Hosted by founding DJ Boyhollow, both nights will serve up some sweet concert ticket giveaways, choice music from great DJs, live visuals and plenty of photo ops. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended, as Beauty Bar fills up fast.
Halloween Boo-Lesque Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, October 25, 26 & 31, $25-$35 The lovely Clocktower Clockettes of Lannie's get spooky and sexy during a night of Halloween fun with Boo-Lesque, a tribute to zombies, vampires, witches and black cats. It's hosted by Clocktower staple and funnyman Naughty Pierre, and audience members are encouraged to come out in costume for a chance at some great prizes.
Halloween Costume Party with Zion I, DJ Cavem and more Vinyl, October 26, $15-$25 Vinyl is a dance destination with several levels of dance floors, chill-out spots and plenty of bar space where you can get your drink on. This Saturday, enjoy a costume party while getting down to the sounds of Zion I, DJ Cavem Moetavation, Fdotlawless, Lytes Edison and more inside this multiplex of dance.
Paranormal Palace Hyatt Regency Tech Center, October 26, $39 and upKevin Larson is known for his unique brand of colossal, exotic and often theatrical soirées, and his Paranormal Palace bash is one of the largest Halloween events in the city, with multiple ballrooms, several DJs playing a diverse array of musical styles and live performers at a very adult-friendly gala. There's also a $2,000 grand prize costume contest, and a percentage of proceeds goes to the Women's Global Empowerment Fund.
Rot Congress IV Skylark Lounge, October 26, $5 Local record label Hot Congress rolls over in its grave and becomes Rot Congress for an annual evening of spooky fun. Bands take on gory monikers -- The Kissing Party becomes The Missing Party, Colfax Speed Queen transforms into Colfax Scream Queen and so on -- and they take over the Skylark for the holiday-themed show. Musicians and audience members are encouraged to dress up for a chance to win cash prizes.
Nightmare on Curtis The Curtis - A Double Tree Hotel, October 26, Starting at $236 Paying homage to horror classics like The Shining and The Ring, Nightmare on Curtis lets you rent special rooms on the 13th floor for a night of unexpected visitors and spooky surprises. Freddy Krueger is known to roam the halls and rooms are decorated with a little fright in mind. Still, it's all in good fun -- and we know you'll survive the night because a Halloween stay here includes breakfast for two the following morning at the Corner Office's Disco Brunch.
Coloween 2013 Crowne Plaza DIA, October 26, $34-$69 A hotel-sized Halloween blowout, Coloween is now in its sixth year. Thousands of square feet of dance floor are illuminated with festival-style lighting and set up with a sound system supporting Colorado's best Top 40 and EDM DJs. Throw in a few scary dancers and a $1,000 costume contest, and this is one big bash. The giant party has sold out each year, so be sure to grab tickets in advance.
22nd Annual Alley Halloween Party Tennyson's Tap and The Alley Studios, 4345 West 38th Avenue, October 26, $10-15 A bash so epic it needs two venues, the Alley Halloween Party brings bands like Memory Down, 100 Shots, Sideffect and others together with a costume contest for cash prizes. Free beer will be available in the studio venue, and those in costume will get a discount at the door for a party that is slated to go well into the night.
Hallows Eve Bash The Studios at Overland Crossing, October 26, $45-$75 Put on a costume and get over to this gorgeous warehouse space in south Denver. The night of spooky fun includes food and drinks, as well as face-painting, tarot readings, fortune telling, an auction and a costume contest. Proceeds from this adult soirée benefit the Denver Women's Chorus.
Zombie Cruiser Scavenger Hunt Govnr's Park Tavern, October 26, Free This Halloween gathering starts off early at 11 a.m. and requests that all zombies come in teams of four to six. The cruiser ride and scavenger hunt will go throughout the afternoon -- then riders are invited back to the bar later for a costume contest with sweet prizes. Make sure to register your zombie cruiser scavenger hunt teams prior to the ride by calling 303-831-8605 or e-mailing Kelly at email@example.com.
Ernie's 4th Annual Nightmare on Eliot Street Ernie's Bar & Pizza, October 26, Free Drink specials and good food are reason enough to head over to Ernie's, a neighborhood pizza joint, but tonight's Halloween party makes this spot even more of a go-to destination. Dress up in your spooky best for a costume contest with great prizes, including a ski getaway to Crested Butte, and get down to a live DJ.
Bring Your Own Records Monster Mash Party Lost Lake Lounge, October 30, freeLost Lake Lounge's Bring Your Own Records night is a favorite free event throughout the year, but on this night, you're encouraged to bring Halloween-themed music to play for a room of adoring fans you never knew you had. Break out that original vinyl version of Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash," MC Hammer's "Addams Family Groove" or the spookiest track of them all, Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Get to this party early -- the BYO-DJ list fills up fast for the fifteen-minute mini-sets.
Halloween Week at the Sie Sie FilmCenter, October 30 & 31, November 1, $7-$12 each showing This long weekend of haunting movies begins with a special screening of The Phantom Carriage, a silent film set to a live score from Paul Buscarello. A one-man orchestra, the musician will go between electronic and acoustic instruments in a horror-movie style to offer live accompaniment. Dario Argento's Dracula and Zero Charisma -- a film about a metal-loving geeky gamer -- round out this long weekend of great work at the Sie.
Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Class REI, October 30, Free A ghoulish twist on basic survival skills, this Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Class tests both your readiness in dire situations and your zombie knowledge. On top of the educational, Halloween-inspired fun, there will be free giveaways from Starbucks, Justin's, Bobo's Oat Bars and Odwalla.
Halloween Trilogy Triple-Feature Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, October 31, $16 Already in the midst of a month of Halloween programming, the Alamo Drafthouse is saving the best for last with a one-night, three-film showdown. Playing Halloween, Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch back-to-back, the theater will welcome costumed fans (children are allowed with adult companions, but the night will get scary) for between-movie trick-or-treating, in-house. The Alamo also has a full menu and bar, making this night of terror a frighteningly perfect package. Be sure to check out the Alamo's October listings for other scary films playing throughout the spooky season.
Halloween at Tracks Tracks Nightclub, October 31, $10-20 On Halloween, the club will be transformed into Dyersville, a deserted mining town that fills multiple rooms with ghostly sights. A fantastic light show, a brand-new projection system and a raging sound system will back such Tracks favorites as DJ Flowers, DJ Markie, DJ Tatiana and DJ Blaque Gurl. But the real treat is a $2,000 grand prize costume contest, bringing out the finest and scariest dressers from around Colorado. For more Halloween events, go to the Tracks website.
5th Annual Zombielesque - the ZILF edition! Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, October 31, $10-$20 Going strong for half a decade, this Halloween treat from local burlesque queen Cora Vette is a night showcasing the talents of dead dames and glammed-up ghouls. But this ain't any old timey strip-tease -- it's the ZILF edition, bringing zombie culture to a whole new above-ground level.
The 2013 Zombie Ball Brown Palace, October 31, $99 Held in the Club Room -- a spot already notorious for its ghostly inhabitants -- this Zombie Ball is a full-on night of spooky fun, food and music. Dress up for a chance to win some cash prizes and enjoy an evening in one of Denver's premier destinations with a history rich in hauntings.
Fright Night Bash & Costume Contest LoHi SteakBar, October 31, Free Come to this Lower Highland steakhouse on Halloween night for a drink and food -- but don't forget your costume and your significant other (or a friend!). During a partner costume contest, one lucky couple will win a Loveland ski pass four-pack.
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Halloween with Lost Network, Roniit and more The Church, October 31, $5-$15 There's no spookier spot for a Halloween night event than The Church, one of Denver's best nightclubs. The space is sure to be full of spirits as the multi-level, multi-dance floor spot goes crazy for the sounds of national acts like Lost Network and Roniit, as well as local favorites like DJ Tower RoxyLeeHeart.