Commentary

Tips for Transplants: Ten Rules for November in Denver

Halloween is over, and November is in full swing. That means trick-or-treating is done, the leftover candy is all yours, and all activities will start to move indoors. You might think that November is pretty much just like October, only with fewer zombies and a lot more turkey. But November comes with its own rules here in Denver, many that have nothing to do with cranberries, stuffing or flightless birds. The responsibilities of November are more than just Thanksgiving — especially in these ten ways.

10. Throw Away Your Jack-o-Lanterns
Just because pumpkins are still in season doesn’t mean you get to let those suckers rot on your front porch. Don’t kid yourself: You’re not “feeding the squirrels,” despite what you may tell your spouse. It’s not a long walk from your front porch to your dumpster in the alley, but it’s going to feel a lot longer when those caved-in ghosts of Halloween past are frozen and weigh about six times what they normally would. If you still have produce on your porch by the Saturday after Halloween (that’s a generous five days this year), you’re not doing November right.

9. Jackets Required
Sorry, Phil Collins: I hate to correct you and your 1985 album, but November in Denver demands some outerwear. Put away the flip-flops and get out the galoshes. November isn’t always wet and rainy, but it can be — and the only way to prepare for the weather in Colorado is to over-prepare.

8. Last Month for Street Sweeping
Those signs along the road that you often forget — you know, the ones that tell you that you need to move your car once a month by 8 a.m. or else it’ll fuck up your day? This is the last time you need to remember that until street-sweeping resumes in April. Which is great, except this short break is exactly why your brain again won’t remember to move your car next spring.


7. Football + Chili = Sunday
This is Broncos country; other than Sunday, November 20, which is the Denver bye, it’s actually a city ordinance that you’re either present at Mile High or watching the game at a bar or at home. It’s also part of the ordinance that some chili is made either during or prior to the game, whether it be green chile or the more traditional version. The ordinance is pretty lenient: Chili/e can be prepared in any manner, made with beans or without, and served with either tortillas or oyster crackers. I believe this law was passed during the Elway administration.

6. Start Watching Local News
No, you don’t want to schedule time for the latest 10 p.m. local murder parade, but starting in November, you need to tune in, if only to watch the weather for snow totals in the mountains. As a side benefit, these newscasts will remind you to blow out your sprinklers, disconnect your hoses and complain about snowy patio pictures. So being reminded about all the citywide violence is a small price to pay.

Keep reading for five more tips for transplants.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen