Denver, This Could Be Your Night to Howl!

May's full moon is called the Flower Moon, named for the abundance of blossoms at this time of year.EXPAND
May's full moon is called the Flower Moon, named for the abundance of blossoms at this time of year.
Ganapathy Kumar / Unsplash
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

If you've heard howling in Denver recently, don't worry. It's not wolves running wild through an empty city. It's people — more specifically, members of the Facebook group Go Outside and Howl at 8pm.

"We thought, ultimately, if we could get our friends to do it, it would be really fun and a way to connect with people we couldn’t connect with in person," explains Shelsea Ochoa, who created the group with friend Brice Maiurro while they were practicing social distancing. They started out by inviting their friends, who in turn invited their friends, and the idea snowballed from there. In the four days since its creation, the Denver-based group has amassed 64,200 members (and counting) in the metro area, as well as fans across the U.S. and around the world.

In addition to holding down day jobs, Maiurro and Ochoa are both community organizers who were inspired by past experiences howling at the moon— in Brazil at sunset, in a Boulder alley at midnight on the full moon, and as a community in California.

Their Facebook page reads: "What better time to howl than this time of isolation? Every night at 8pm in your time zone, take a minute to step outside and let out a cathartic howl! We'll post up daily events with themes that you can invite your friends and family to. Let's see how many people the world over we can get to howl at once."

Although some members want to coordinate a massive howl at the exact same time around the globe, for now the organizers are keeping it simple and encouraging everyone to howl at 8 p.m. in their own time zone.

Brice Maiurro and Shelsea Ochoa, before 8 p.m.
Brice Maiurro and Shelsea Ochoa, before 8 p.m.
courtesy Shelsea Ochoa

"We went to Cheesman Park and howled, and we heard a bunch of other people howling," recalls Ochoa. "People in Lakewood have heard each other." As the group grows and more people participate, the founders hope that wolf packs will form around the world.

"The group is growing exponentially right now, so I think it’s going to grow a bunch," says Maiurro. "We’ve seen people doing it in Switzerland; we have friends doing it in Mexico and Brazil."

Ochoa attributes the speed with which the idea took off to the ease of participation. "It’s pretty easy to get behind it — it’s not a huge commitment," she says. "And it’s a worldwide thing."

Besides, adds Maiurro, people have been looking for something to do: "It’s an easy sell when everyone’s hanging out at home all day. Some people have said that they were looking forward to it all day."

People are howling with their families, their kids, their neighbors; even dogs are howling along. "Now a lot of people have put their own meaning on it," says Maiurro, a poet as well as an organizer. "We see people who say, 'I’m going to howl for all the hospital workers, the people on the front lines.' I think it was a fun thing. It made sense with being in isolation; it makes people feel connected to each other when they howl and hear someone howl back."

Adds Ochoa, "It's a really primitive, primal release of energy."

And these days, who couldn't use a reason to go outside, release some energy and remember that we're all in this together?

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.