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See Colorado’s (Arguably) Scariest Haunted House
The 13th Floor haunted house in Elyria, the giant home base of Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, has been recognized as one of the scariest haunted attractions in the country. This year, it plans to lure even more guests with add-ons like a full-service bar and beer garden, five-minute mini escape rooms and a new section of its horror house based on the year’s most-hyped fright film, The Nun. The group has also combined two of its subsidiaries into one giant haunt: City of the Dead & Asylum Haunted Houses in Henderson’s Mile High Flea Market. 13th Floor: 3400 E. 52nd Ave., $20–$34; Oct. 3–31, excluding Oct. 8 and 15; City of the Dead & Asylum: 7007 E. 88th Ave., Henderson, $20–$35; Oct. 3–31, excluding Oct. 8, 15, and 22
Get Trapped in a Cornfield
Also housed on a colossal campus, the 30-acre Haunted Field of Screams in Thornton preys on a common fear: being trapped. This spooky attraction offers three haunts in one—a twisted haunted house with escape room-like features, a cornfield freak show, and an undead, darkness-cloaked maze—that promise to spook even the most confident thrill-seeker. After you’ve enjoyed your fill of fear, pick up a paintball gun and hunt some zombies for a little release. 10451 McKay Rd., Thornton, $40; Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 4-28, and Wednesday Oct. 31
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
Experience the Spooky Side of Elitch Gardens
Whether your idea of a perfect Halloween simply involves candy and pumpkins, or your October isn’t complete without a scare, Elitch Gardens has you covered. With its transformation into Fright Fest this month, the theme park hosts Family by Day, which includes Trick or Treat Trail and Scary-oke. At 6 p.m., the more squeamish can head home, and courageous souls can prowl the now-ghostly park. With additional haunted attractions and demons and ghouls roaming the grounds, the rollercoasters won’t be the only place you find yourself screaming. 2000 Elitch Circle, $40; Friday through Sunday through Oct. 28; Family by Day: 12–5 p.m., Fright by Night: 6-park close, elitchgardens.com/fright-fest
Travel in Time with Molly Brown and Her Resident Ghosts
Victorian Horrors returns to the Molly Brown House Museum for the 25th consecutive year. The museum’s most popular theater event invites literary aficionados and paranormal fans alike to explore the darkened (and reputedly haunted) Capitol Hill mansion while listening to readings of horror-themed literature such as Mary Shelley’s famously eerie Frankenstein. 1340 Pennsylvania St., $2; Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 12–27, 6–9 p.m.
Learn About the Science of Fear
Learn about the science behind your screams in the Halloween variant of the monthly Science Lounge at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The one-night Science of Fear explores the biological roots of fright (and encourages costumes). Among others, this 21-and-over event answers topical questions such as, “Can you actually smell fear?” and “Why is being frightened fun?” 2001 Colorado Blvd., $13–$15; Thursday, Oct. 18, 6:30–9:30 p.m.
Party at the Stanley Hotel
Pay homage to the season and enjoy a trip to the mountains with a visit to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Though commonly thought to be the set of Stanley Kubrick’s skin-crawling film The Shining, in a perhaps creepier role, the Stanley Hotel was instead the inspiration for its literary predecessor from king of horror Stephen King. In keeping with the “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” mentality, the hotel fully embraces its notoriety each year with a series of Halloween-themed events, including the wildly popular Shining Ball. 333 Wonderview Ave., Estes Park, $119–$159; Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19–20; Saturday, Oct. 27
Do a Ghostly Walking Tour
If a busy October means staying in Denver, stop by Capitol Hill’s haunted Cheesman Park. The picturesque, tree-lined expanse was actually formed over several thousand buried bodies, aka Denver’s first-ever cemetery. In preparation for the park’s construction, bodies were unceremoniously exhumed and often dismembered, and human remains were scattered across the grounds. If the thought of taking on the chilling park alone (or rather, not alone) is a bit daunting, never fear: There are plenty of ghostly walking tours through the area. Join paranormal researcher Chris Moon or Denver Walking Tours for nights throughout October (dates and times vary), or hang out with the Denver Architecture Foundation on a one-night-only Hallow’s Eve adventure (Tuesday, Oct. 30, 5–6 p.m.; $25–$30). Make tour reservations online
Take a Break With a Mile High Costume Parade
Grab your costume makeup, work up an appetite for brains, and join thousands of walking dead at Skyline Park’s annual Zombie Crawl. If that’s too difficult to stomach, stop by Elitch Gardens’ far cuter canine costume competition for some masqueraded dogspotting; proceeds benefit local pet adoption group PawsCo. Zombie Crawl: 1600 Arapahoe St.; Saturday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; Elitch Gardens’ Pet Parade: 2000 Elitch Circle; $20, Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m.