Punkin Chunkin Colorado | September 21–22
More than 25 teams will compete at the highly anticipated pumpkin-smashing bash to see whose cannons, catapults, and contraptions can launch a gourd to world-record lengths. Beyond the joys of watching pumpkins fly overhead, spectators can also count on a pumpkin patch, car show, carving contest, beer garden, and much more to round out the celebrations. New this year is a carved pumpkin display, in which hundreds of pumpkins will be brought together to form one gigantic work of harvest art. Arapahoe Park Racetrack, 26000 E. Quincy Ave., Aurora. Tickets are $5 for single entry, $15 for a family of four and can be purchased in advance online

Photo courtesy of Water Lantern Festival

Water Lantern Festival | September 21
Send off summer and welcome the start of fall with this floating spectacle of light. Write a personal message of hope or reflection on one of the provided lanterns and send it off with hundreds of others as the sun sets over Boyd Lake, and watch as the lanterns illuminate the Colorado landscape. The Water Lantern Festival provides 100 percent eco-friendly lanterns made of wood and rice paper that are collected from the water after the festivities conclude. Festival-goers can also count on food, games, music, and more to accompany the main event. 4–9:30 p.m., 3720 N. County Rd. 1C, Loveland. Tickets are $35 until September 20, and $40 the day of the event

Anderson Farms Fall Festival | September 25–November 3
There’s no shortage of autumnal activities at the state’s largest fall festival destination, Anderson Farms. The site’s 25-acre corn maze—which is Colorado’s first-ever and longest-running—is back with a mesmerizing design to commemorate 20 years of seasonal celebration. The farm offers plenty more entertainment for every age, from pedal karts and crafts to farm animals and pumpkins for picking—or even launching, if you so desire. Times vary, 6728 County Rd. 3-1/4, Erie. Find directions and pricing online 

Photo courtesy of Visit Denver

Denver Beer Week | September 27–October 5
Calling all beer snobs: With more than 160 events dedicated to all things brewed, there’s guaranteed to be something for every kind of beer drinker at Denver Beer Week. Catch the 50th annual Oktoberfest in Larimer Square on September 27, try something new with rare beer tappings and food pairings, or even round out the week with the Great American Beer Festival—the nation’s biggest beer competition. Find more information and pricing for specific events online.

Pumpkin Festival and Corn Maze at Chatfield Farms | October 11–13
Pay a visit to Chatfield Farms in Littleton for your good-old-fashioned fall festival fix. With 10 acres of pumpkin patch to pick from, along with live performances, hayrides, carnival games, and more, the Denver Botanic Gardens’ annual October tradition promises autumn fun for the whole family. Tickets to the Chatfield Farms corn maze next door are also available to Pumpkin Festival attendees for a discounted rate of $8 each. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Rd., Littleton. Tickets are $6–$8 and can be purchased in advance online

Cherokee Fall Nature Hike at Cherokee Ranch and Castle | October 12
Connect with the land and the heritage of the west at Colorado’s iconic 15th century castle and ranch in Sedalia. Though the castle hosts its own breathtaking architectural sights, the Denver Botanic Gardens invites visitors to venture beyond the interiors and into a fraction of the surrounding 3,400 acres for this two-hour, guided hiking tour. Explorers can expect to see striking flora and fauna, with sumac and plum trees showing off their rich, fall colors and blazing star and aster flowers offering contrast with their vibrant hues. Birders in particular can look forward to spotting species not typically seen during spring and summer seasons, such as Scrub Jays and Stellar Jays. 9 a.m., 6113 N. Daniels Park Rd., Sedalia. Tickets are $20 for Denver Botanic Gardens members, and $25 for nonmembers, and can be purchased in advance online

Glow at the Gardens features gigantic jack-o-lantern displays dedicated to all things spooky. Photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens

Glow at the Gardens | October 21–25
Get in the spooky spirit with the Denver Botanic Gardens’ neon Halloween spectacular, Glow at the Gardens—an immersive adventure of light displays, pumpkin art, and otherworldly sculptures and installations, all dedicated to the ghouls and gourds of the season. Along with luminous art, visitors can expect trick-or-treating, LED and fire performances, and many other glow-in-the-dark games. 5:30–9:30 p.m., 1007 York St. Tickets are $15–$21 and can be purchased in advance online

Whisky, History, and Outlaws Tour of Downtown Denver | Through November 30
As a beacon of the Wild West, Denver had its fair share of gunslinging and bootlegging back in the day. Grab a pint at the oldest brewery in Colorado and embark on a journey down Colorado’s (mischievous) memory lane with this two-hour walking tour of downtown landmarks. Starting at Tivoli Brewing Company and working toward the Indigo Hotel, the roughly mile-and-a-half tour offers a history lesson on Colorado’s many outlaws, pioneers and con men that made the state the legend of the West. Fitting for the modern-day saloon crawl, tour-goers will also have the chance to try flights of craft beers and cocktails along the way, as well as a whisky/bourbon tasting. Every Thursday to Sunday, 2–4 p.m., Start at Tivoli Brewing, 900 Auraria Pkwy., Suite 240. Tickets start at $29.99 per person; drink package is an additional $30

Madi Skahill
Madi Skahill
Madi Skahill is 5280’s former associate digital editor.