This year’s public Halloween activities — socially distanced though they may be — are less pretend-scary and more consequential than ever.
It forces us to think about what Halloween means. Is it just about trick-or-treating and costume parties, or are there other ways to find brief but transgressive glee while marking the season? In this uncertain time, can we also include self-care and spiritual rituals? What about virtual reality and app-driven activities?
Here are some traditional and not-so-traditional events to consider. Expect all to be timed and ticketed, with mask-wearing and social-distancing requirements at in-person events.
Most are open now and run daily through Oct. 31. Listed ticket prices do not include service fees and add-ons. See individual websites for more details.
It’s an idea whose time has come: No Place to Go, a collaborative, artist-driven haunted house, will debut in Lakewood on Oct. 22 with bizarre, handmade and painfully relevant scares that address fears in the coronavirus age. Expect strong social consciousness in some of these pieces, which visitors will see from their cars in a 2-mile drive-through format that begins at 7310 W. Colfax Ave. Directed by Serena Chopra, Kate Speer and Frankie Toan, the 90-minute experience is part outdoor art installation, part dance theater, and all spooky fun — with an app and VR component to boot. The five sites span Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District and Wheat Ridge. Limited to five people per car. $25-$60. no-place-to-go.com
Denver’s 13th Floor Haunted House (3400 E. 52nd Ave.) is once again offering the traditional (if limited-capacity) haunted-house experience, but those wary of indoor spaces can try City of the Dead. Located on the same site, the drive-in haunted house brings the scares to your car with a 30-minute program of horror shorts, costumed actors and horror trivia. According to a colleague who’s already visited, it’s fun but not too intense for the younger set. $40-$60 per car. cityofthedeadhaunt.com
Colorado Springs’ HellScream Haunted House (3021 N. Hancock Ave.) is back with its main attraction, “Escape from Hellscream” (think choose-your-own-adventure escape rooms) as well as paranormal tours and the longtime, popular Haunted Mines — a “lights-off flashlight” attraction that’s been expanded for 2020. $22-$56 per person, or $300 per group for paranormal tours. hellscreamhaunt.com
The Frightmare Compound (10798 Yukon St. in Westminster), one of Colorado’s last few family-owned haunted houses, also bills itself as Denver’s oldest haunted attraction, having debuted in 1983. That means they’ve had plenty of opportunities to work out the kinks and learn which scares stand the test of time. $30-$40. thefrightmarecompound.com
The outdoor Terror in the Corn and its action spin-off, Zombie Paintball Hunt (6728 County Road 3¼ in Erie), are back at Andersen Farms with a narrative-driven experience inspired by Colorado history. $25-$30. terrorinthecorn.com Also outdoors is Thornton’s Haunted Field of Screams (10451 McKay Road), a 40-acre cornfield that’s only open on the weekends this year. $40-$55. hauntedfieldofscreams.com Finally, Parker’s Fright Acres (11321 Dransfeldt Road) offers a quartet of themed, scary walks outdoors on weekends through the end of the month. $30-$45. frightacres.com
Ritualcravt, the one-stop-shop for practicing witches (and anyone who just enjoys metaphysical decor), invites people to contribute to its public Dia De Los Muertos altar Oct. 31-Nov. 2. No pictures, though, as “leaving a picture on the altar would require others in attendance to care for your ancestors in your absence,” according to Ritualcravt’s website. “This can become an overwhelming task very quickly.” The store will also part the veil between worlds with a seance at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10. Leaving items at the altar is free. This weekend’s seance, led by Kaedrich Olsen, is $25. 7700 W. 44th Ave in Wheat Ridge. ritualcravt.com
Witch’s Tea sounds like a potentially poisonous potable, but in this case it’s your choice of herbal teas, served Oct. 24-25 in two seatings per day, at the historic Lumber Baron Inn. The popular wedding venue and bed-and-breakfast has always had a soft spot for the magical, so tarot and Lenormand card readings are available. $40 for admission and the full tea menu, plus an optional $30 for a 20-minute reading. Call 303-477-8205 or visit lumberbaron.com for reservations.
Learn about your past lives — assuming you believe in them — with facilitator Jennie McDaniel as part of her virtual event from 10-11:30 a.m. on Oct. 31. Hosted by Heart Over Ego Radio and The Alchemy Sisters, the event is geared toward channeling knowledge as much as wayward spirits. All you need, as the organizers put it, is Zoom, $33 (before Oct. 24; after that it’s $44) and an open mind to participate. Email [email protected]
Apropos of its name, Reign Rituals is offering Samhain CBD beauty and wellness services (think spooky nails and eyebrows) coupled with tarot card readings on Halloween (2801 Downing St.). The by-appointment sessions offer themed CBD giveaways and 30-minute tarot and rune readings, plus Halloween makeup sessions that are either “above-the-mask or full-face.” How very 2020. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 31. Prices unavailable. reignrituals.com
Parties and festivals
Remember parties? Some people are still having them, albeit with reduced capacity. Union Station, which is offering pumpkin carvings and a pet parade at 1701 Wynkoop St., will also roll out its Cooper Lounge MASKerade Party 7-10 p.m. on Oct. 31. Limited to 75 people, this is most definitely an adults-only costumed affair. Tickets are $80 per person and include three specialty cocktails and appetizers. Advanced purchase is required. unionstationindenver.com
Paranormal Palace, one of the city’s most iconic Halloween parties, is forging ahead with a charity event this year at the Hilton Doubletree DTC (7801 E. Orchard Road in Greenwood Village) dubbed “MASK-arade.” Tickets for event, which includes a ball and costume contest, come in packs of six and include a hotel room at the venue. Doors open at 7 p.m. Oct. 30-31. $100-$2,900. denverhalloween.org
Loveland Zombie Crawl, which comes just after the inaugural Downtown Pumpkin Festival, will gather the socially-distanced undead from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 (4th Street and Lincoln Avenue). downtownloveland.org/pumpkinfestival The city’s historic Rialto Theatre (228 E. 4th St.) is also offering ghost tours at various times, Oct. 26-30, in the run-up to its Ghouls Gala fundraiser (Oct. 30). $5. backstagerialto.com/events
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