I've thought about what it would be like to be famous -- a lot. Being the self-absorbed person I am, one who grew up with parents telling me how great I was at everything I did definitely made me into an adult who wanted nothing more than total stardom. Since that kind of infamy has yet to materialize (blog writers like me don't usually merit a level of fame beyond having our own gaggle of Internet stalkers and the occasional kind of recognition that gets us into a movie for free), I jumped at the extra-special opportunity to enjoy a "demo" ride in the Ecto-1, a fully realized replica of the car from Ghostbusters.
If you've ever desired to have people stop and stare and take Instagram photos of you when you arrive at a crowded destination -- in this case, several of Denver's best haunted houses -- then book a trip with the Colorado Movie Car club as soon as possible. They will not only take you to the best scary spots around the city, but they will make you feel more important than Britney Spears at a Starbucks.
Here's how the Colorado Movie Car club's month-long Ectober event works: Groups of four or five people can rent rides like the Ecto-1 (or the sleek Resident Evil-themed Umbrella Corporation car) for $180 per person, which gets you and your homies front-of-the-line service at haunted houses like the 13th Floor, along with a prize pack of cool stuff and a night of coasting the city in an eye-catching car.
As a person who refuses to go into haunted houses because being scared on purpose is dumb, I still found this evening of haunted house-hopping in the Ecto-1 to be, hands-down, one of the most fun evenings of my adult life. (Probably because I am also someone who grew up cruising and will spend an inordinate amount of time in a nice car if I don't have to drive it and Puff Daddy-era Sean Combs is on the stereo.)
Ecto-1 owner Kevin Henry also makes sure to start your one night of fame off right, by picking you up at the spot of your choice -- preferably a well-populated one. We chose Vine Street Pub on a Saturday evening, which immediately incited cheers of "Who you gonna call?" from strangers as our ride swooped us up.
Once inside this plush automobile -- the Ecto-1 is actually a tricked-out Dodge Magnum -- Henry got the party started with the paranormal emergency vehicle's exterior soundsystem. Riding through downtown, every stop light was a dance-off, as people on the street freaked out for the original Ray Parker Jr. theme song and, of course, Bobby Brown's "On Our Own" from Ghostbusters II.
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Arriving at our first destination, the haunted house double feature of the Asylum and Primitive Fear, it was clear that this was the only way to pack in five haunted house trips in one night. If you've ever been to a big, bang-up haunted house, then you know that the lines can be hella long -- which is another bonus to the Ecto-1 tour: You get to skip to the front of the line (even the front of the VIP line!)
These things are also pricey ($25 to $50 a ticket), so you quickly see some value in the $180-per-person price tag for the night of scary spectacle. But the best part? These haunted houses donate the tickets, the Colorado Movie Car Club donates its time and, minus a small fee for gas, all of the proceeds go to charity. This year the Don't Be a Monster anti-bullying campaign will receive all the funds raised. Last year's version of the Ectober fest fundraiser brought in more than $10,000 for Children's Hospital.
After spending the evening standing outside each haunted house watching countless Ghostbusters fans pose with the Ecto-1 (and seeing my friends who actually went into the haunted houses start to wear thin mentally and physically from being scared, repeatedly), Henry took us to a well-lit hotel valet area in LoDo for a photo shoot. Everyone stopped to take pictures of us getting our picture taken -- it was like the ultimate meta-moment for all of my celebrity fantasies.
Raising money and enjoying a night of totally freaky fun is worth $180. And being escorted to the front door of a haunted-house line like a celebrity as camera phones flash and fans shout, "Who you gonna call?" Priceless.
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For more information on Ectober Fest or to reserve a night with the Ecto-1, visit the Colorado Movie Car club's Facebook page.