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Elitch Gardens' Fright by Night. Photo courtesy of Elitch Gardens.
Culture

8 Haunted Houses That Deliver the Fright This Spooky Season

From flesh-hungry clowns to a “shriekeasy” bar to stickers for kiddos that keep the monsters at bay, here’s our list of recommended haunted houses this October.

It’s officially fall, which means it’s the season of cozy sweaters, changing leaves, crisp temps, pumpkin-spiced everything—and scaring the bejeezus out of yourself in the name of fun. While many are content spending autumn watching Hallmark movies and sipping cider, some of us require a bit of horror and fright. For the latter crowd, we’ve collected eight haunted houses that’ll make this October one to remember (or one you’ll try to forget).

The Frightmare Compound
There are many haunted houses around the Front Range, but not all of them come with their own real-life haunted past: It’s said that the founder of this 38-year-old Denver attraction, Brad Holder, is buried on the premises. Now run by his son, the haunt includes a bevy of creepy characters, a coffin simulator, mini escape rooms, and more. At the end of your trip, take a selfie with a spooky monster to prove that you made it all the way through the labyrinth. 10798 Yukon St., Westminster, Sun-Thu, 7–10 p.m., Fri-Sat, 7 p.m.–midnight; tickets start at $30

13th Floor Haunted House
For over a decade, the ever-changing storylines at this Denver mainstay have provided scare junkies with a reliable thrill. This year, attendees will pass through a thawing cryogenics lab rife with recently awakened residents, contend with a deceased doll maker’s collection of Victorian toys, and fight through a battle between vampires and werewolves. There is also a number of side attractions, including axe throwing and a “shriekeasy” bar—which might aid in soothing your post-fright nerves. 3400 E. 52nd Ave., open daily, 7 p.m.–midnight; tickets start at $20

Monster to Midnight at Distortions Monster World
Fear-loving families can rub elbows with a range of live characters, including dragons, vampires, and some personas you might have seen in TV or movies. Added bonus for parents: Little ones (and other fright-resistant guests) can receive a “monster repellant” sticker to remain immune from spooking and enjoy the creatures from a safe distance. 500 16th St.; Thu–Sat, 6 p.m.–midnight, Oct. 31, 6 p.m.–midnight; tickets start at $27

Fright by Night
The iconic Denver amusement park we all know and love—Elitch Gardens—will transform into a zone of doom and despair during this after-dark fest. As guests partake in the normal amusement park rides, they’ll have to trudge through a carnival graveyard overrun by flesh-hungry clowns, a haunted inn, and performances by zombies. 2000 Elitch Circle; Sat–Sun, 6 p.m.; tickets start at $15 

HellScream
If you’ve ever wondered what you’d do in a scary movie, this terrifying adventure is your way to find out. The detailed sets and storylines have been curated by film, TV, and special effects professionals, resulting in a hyperrealistic experience. Dodge all the circus clowns, evil doctors, and demented hospital patients, and you’ll be able to tell your friends you survived one of Colorado’s most horrifying houses. 3021 N. Hancock Ave., Colorado Springs; times vary; tickets starting at $22

Victorian Horrors
The stories at the center of this historic performance are so chilling they’ve remained with us for centuries—and are still frightening new generations. As guests rove from room to room, actors will tell gothic tales from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley. The experience is held in the more than 100-year-old Molly Brown House Museum, so be wary of spirits showing up to tell tales of their own. 1340 Pennsylvania St.; times vary; $20

Fright Acres
Cemeteries are spooky even when they’re not brimming with sinister ghouls and malevolent ghosts. Unfortunately, the burial grounds in this Parker attraction have tons of lost souls looking for revenge—meaning double the terror. This year, the acres have updated trails and new themes, so even if you’ve been before, you’ll be horrified anew. 11321 Dransfeldt Rd., Parker; Fri–Sat, Oct. 21 & 31, 7–10 p.m.; $30–45

Haunted Mines
Centered around a Colorado industry, this blood-curdling adventure will take you through a fictional Centennial State mining town named “Cold Falls.” Allegedly abandoned in 1859 under mysterious circumstances, the colony and its tunnels have been excavated and are open to the public for exploring—at their own risk. 3910 Palmer Park Blvd., Colorado Springs; $38–$56

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