The Ten Best Halloween 2016 Concerts in Denver

'Tis the season for spooky shows and Halloween-themed musical events. Listed in chronological order, here are ten of the best concerts offered in the Mile High City to set the tone for the Samhain holiday season. For more seasonal events, please visit the Westword calendar

1. True Widow, Emerald Siam and Lowlands
Larimer Lounge 

Saturday, October 22

Not at all a Halloween-themed show, True Widow's dark, brooding music nevertheless captures the mood of the season better than that of almost any other band playing this month. If Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs was listening to hip bands like the Fall, Savage Republic, Colin Newman and Q. Lazzarus, then with any luck, True Widow will be tapped to be the house music of the third season of True Detective.

2. Nobunny, Shiii Whaaa and Riprats
Larimer Lounge 

Wednesday, October 26

Nobunny is basically a garage-rock artist, but Justin Champlin wears a variety of creepy bunny masks that, regardless of the season, can be fascinatingly disturbing. The music isn't challenging, but its sheer catchiness combined with the imagery of the mask and Champlin's transgressive fashion choices give the performance a darkly surreal quality.

3. The hi-dive's Annual Halloween Tribute Blowout: The Strokes, Limp Bizkit, The White Stripes, The Wonders as covered by Dirty Few, Bad Licks, Bud Bronson + .he Good Timers, Muscle Beach, River Wolf and DJ MTV VJ.

Friday, October 28

Cover shows for Halloween are hardly a new concept, but this one promises to blur the line between sincere and ironic with the participating bands dressing up as the bands that they're covering. The potential for these local bands covering these heroes of the late '90s and '00s is terrifyingly hilarious.

4. Anklepants, Mirror Fears, French Kettle Station, Saint George, f-ether
Syntax Physic Opera

Friday, October 28

Australian experimental electronic dance-music artist Anklepants wears an unusual mask with an elongated controller for a nose shaped like a penis. It's a commentary on how so-called underground music is marketed the same way as commercial music. The special effects and animatronics will visually give pause to more conventionally minded people, and the unusual music Reecard Farché produces will seal the deal on the freakout.

5. Demon Knight Masquerade featuring John Kassir (the voice of the Crypt Keeper) and musical performances from First Jason featuring Ari Lehman (the original Jason Vorhees), Rockissity (Kiss tribute band) and The Hollow. 
Gothic Theatre

Friday, October 28

John Kassir will host this show and probably use the Crypt Keeper voice to do so. That's worth the price of admission alone, but you'll also get to see First Jason, a band that includes Ari Lehman, the original Jason Vorhees from the Friday the 13th film franchise.

Read on for five more of the best Halloween shows in Denver.

6. HELLoween Ball featuring Velvet Acid Christ and DJs Roland, Ritual, Mudwulf, Junkyard, Mr. & Mrs. Hoodbats, Randall, E.D. Gain, Slave 1, Parallax
Bar Standard

Saturday, October 29
$10 advance, $50 VIP

In the Goth-industrial subculture, every day is Halloween, right? Well, this night, some of the best Goth-industrial DJs will spin the classics. Also, Velvet Acid Christ will perform an extremely rare live set of his already often dark and creepy EBM.

7. Seventh Circle Halloween Covers Night – Blink-182, D.R.I., Circle Jerks and Descendents
Seventh Circle Music Collective

Sunday, October 30

Punk and metal bands playing cover sets by other punk and metal bands seems a bit meta, but who but the Seventh Circle Music Collective could convincingly pull it off with integrity? Since it's so close to Halloween, there's a good bet that costumes will be involved. But who will dress as Tom DeLonge's aliens?

8. Mac Miller, Vince Staples, BIG K.R.I.T., Pouya, Soulection feat. The Whooligan, NJOMZA and Clockwork DJ
Red Rocks

Monday, October 31

The scariest thing about this Halloween show will be whether it will snow and turn Red Rocks and the trip home into a nightmare. For conservative Christian types as shown in the video above, Vince Staples might be the most frightening rapper in the modern era.

9. Repo Man Halloween Show featuring members of Quits, Homebody, Poison Rites, NGX, The Nervous and Tim Tebow Antichrist.

Monday, October 31

What could be cooler than a night of bands covering the entire original soundtrack to Repo Man for Halloween? Not much. Also playing this night is Devo cover band Jocko Homo.

10. Hallowmass: Itchy-O and Acid Bat
Gothic Theatre

Monday, October 31

Itchy-O's larger-than-life, cult-like live show dominated by tribal percussion seems like the perfect music to ring in the Day of the Dead on Halloween. The thirty-member-plus band is basically its own disciplined flash-mob horror movie.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.