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10 Free Things to Do in October

From perfect-for-fall hikes to a Native American film festival, here are 10 ways to give your wallet a break (while having fun) this month. 

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1. Watch the Presidential Debates | Oct. 9 & 19

Why: Unless you hide your cell phone, turn off social media, stop going to work, and forgo trips to the grocery store, it will be virtually impossible to avoid hearing about the upcoming presidential election. You might as well be informed: This round-up of places to watch includes gratis options.

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2. Ski and Snowboard Tuning Basics at Englewood REI | Oct. 18

Why: Winter is coming. For real. There is snow in the mountains, which means it is time to prep your gear in this free class (check site for other dates and locations)

3. Denver Museum of Nature & Science | Oct. 24

Why: If you’re looking for inspiration for a Halloween costume, a tour of the wildlife dioramas or space exhibits should provide plenty of fodder.

4. Indigenous Film & Arts Festival | Oct. 5–10

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Why: This week, the Denver City Council decided to permanently celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October. So it seems fitting that this film festival—which celebrates Native American culture—finishes on that day. Events are free, but a $5 donation is appreciated.

5. Hike Purgatory Creek Trail | Your choice

Why: If you haven’t posted the obligatory “fall leaves” photo on Instagram yet, pics from this hike are sure to make your social media friends envious.

6. Colorado Teen Book Con | Oct. 15

Why: A celebration of lit aimed at young adults (although, let’s be honest, we all read them), this inaugural event features some of the genre’s best talents.

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7. Hike to a Homestead | Oct. 15

Why: Take a step back in time to learn more about settlers who lived in the Soapstone Prairie near Fort Collins. Bonus: Read about a family who’s farmed and ranched in Colorado for more than a century in this month’s issue.

8. Emma Crawford Coffin Race & Parade | Oct. 29

Why: Part race, part costume contest, and part history lesson, you can cheer along dozens of teams—made up of a coffin, an “Emma,” and four runners—as they roll down Manitou Avenue (don’t forget to ask a local about poor Emma’s story).

9. Rock Creek Farm’s U-Pick-Em Pumpkins & Corn Maze | Your choice

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Why: Taking home a pumpkin will cost you, but checking out the farm’s 100-acres of pumpkin fields, petting the goats, and wandering through the hay bale maze won’t.

10. Refuge Day at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge | Oct. 15

Why: You don’t have to go far to see a Colorado’s wilder side, including live falcons and a bison skeleton at this one-day event. While you are there, take a quick trek around Lake Mary and Lake Ladora.

Looking for more things to do in Denver? Check out our events calendar.

Follow senior editor Natasha Gardner on Twitter and Instagram.

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