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Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Nights

The Best Things to Do This Month in Colorado

Your short list of the state's coolest October events.

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The Future Is History | October 6 – January 6

Photo courtesy of Virgil Ortiz (“Tahu 1680, Leader of the Blind Archers”by Virgil Ortiz)

As a child in rural New Mexico, Virgil Ortiz was fascinated by famous sci-fi series such as Star Wars and Star Trek. Their fantastical elements transported the Puebloan kid to different universes, ones so compelling he still remembers the stories. That’s why the potter and photographer decided to use similar motifs in Revolution: Rise Against the Invasion, his new exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Ortiz’s display will address the Pueblo Revolt of 1680—when his ancestors pushed the Spanish out of what’s now the Southwestern United States—by recreating the uprising in both the 17th century and in 2180. Ortiz will use pieces from the venue’s Spanish colonial and Native American ceramics collection, along with his own world-renowned pottery, to show how Spanish colonizers tried to replace tribal artwork with Catholic icons. At the same time, a futuristic interpretation of the rebellion will incorporate video projections and sculptures of costumed figures wearing wardrobes that mix subsets of Pueblo culture with attire from sci-fi films. The hope? To make the 1680 revolt as unforgettable as light sabers and Wookiees.

$325 For Your Thoughts | October 4 – 7

The foremost goal of most festivals is to entertain. But when David Holbrooke, who served as the director of Telluride Mountainfilm for 10 years, conceived of this month’s inaugural Original Thinkers film festival (weekendlong passes start at $325), he had a grander mission in mind: The event would challenge attendees to think critically. That’s why each of the 10 screenings, held at the Telluride Conference Center, will include a TEDx-style talk that deepens the audience’s understanding of an issue raised by the movie. For example, a showing of actor Jeffrey Wright’s latest drama, O.G., which was filmed in a maximum-security prison with inmates playing many of the roles, will be followed by a panel of ACLU representatives, plus Wright, discussing recidivism. Holbrooke hopes the engaging sessions will encourage viewers to get involved with big causes—instead of only watching them on the big screen.

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Gourd Glory | October 17 – November 4

Pumpkin Nights is to a corn maze as the Met Gala is to a PTA fundraiser—related, but about a thousand times more grandiose. This maiden experience will transform the Adams County Fair and Regional Park Complex into eight different pumpkin-themed worlds, including Pumpkin Pirate Cove (where foam pirates guard gourd-related treasures) and Monster Mash, a giant playground decorated with real and foam pumpkins. Round out the autumnal fun by watching fire dancers and embarking on a different kind of spooky adventure via a screening of Pixar’s Coco.

Horror Show | October 17 – 21 & October 26 – 28

If reruns of Beetlejuice and Hocus Pocus aren’t satisfying your Halloween appetite, head to Benchmark Theatre for in-person fright. The Fever Dream Festival will feature staged readings of 15 sci-fi, fantasy, and horror plays—many of which might keep you up even later than your candy-crazed kids.

Hands-On Health | October 20

In 2017, Colorado Community Media (CCM) started a wellness magazine geared toward local ladies. But the forward-thinking news organization also wanted to help Denver-area women more directly. To make that a reality, CCM is holding a free Women’s Health & Beauty Expo at Belmar Shopping Center in Lakewood. The comprehensive event will include educational skincare sessions, booths addressing opioid addiction and mental health, and even preventive health screenings.

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