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If your idea of Halloween involves costumes, candlelit jack-o’-lanterns, and candy—not ghouls, gore, and Get Out—you’ve come to the right place. These 10 Denver-area activities (organized from most to least kid-friendly) will help you get into the spirit of the spooky season…without actually getting spooked.
After a two-year hiatus, the MonsterDash (established in 2010) is back on Saturday, October 29. Adults, children, babies in strollers, and four-legged family members—all in the disguises of their choice, although this year’s theme is werewolves—are welcome to line up for the races that begin at the Westminster Promenade Terrace. The 10K and 5K, which you can run or walk, start at 3 p.m., and kids can wait until the day-of to decide if they want to participate in the half- or one-mile events that start between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Shoe clip lights are included with all registrations, but parents are still encouraged to trot alongside their young as dusk falls. (It’s not a full moon…but, you know, you can’t be too careful.) $35 to $45 for the 5K and 10K; $12 to $15 for the kids races
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Disney’s 1993 cult-classic film about a teenager who moves to Salem, Massachusetts, and awakens a trio of evil witches—played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najim—is more funny than freaky. (Really, calm down; it’s rated PG.) At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22, the Colorado Symphony will perform the score in the Boettcher Concert Hall, part of downtown’s Denver Performing Arts Complex, while the movie is projected onto big screens. Go early for the pre-show HalfNotes program, which consists of family-friendly activities like crafts and instrument “petting zoos.” Starting at $38 for adults; $10 for kids 12 and under
What could be better than artistically chiseling a perfectly plump orange gourd? Doing it surrounded by kitties, of course! At Berkeley’s Denver Cat Company, you can book a 90-minute session for up to four people at 5 p.m. daily, through October 31. Participants get an already scooped-out pumpkin, access to carving supplies and cat-themed stencils, and unlimited nuzzles from the adoptable felines that roam the cafe. Note: We can’t guarantee there won’t be any all-black cats in attendance…but that’s just a silly superstition, right? $40 per person
Witches stand-up paddleboarding on Chatfield Reservoir may sound ridiculous; for one thing, anyone who’s seen The Wizard of Oz knows they melt in water. But that fact—and October’s potentially chilly air and water temps—didn’t stop more than 400 people from registering for the 2nd annual Witch Paddle at Chatfield Reservoir on Sunday, October 23. It’s too late to join the main event this year, but the overwhelming response (up from around 80 participants in 2021) spurred organizer Anna Marie Madai and partner Katie Burgoyne to form an official company that will hold full and new moon outings during the warmer months. Sign up for Witch Paddle’s mailing list to find out about future happenings, or purchase a state park pass to go and watch this year’s lucky witches float. $30 (includes an Allmade T-shirt, a goodie bag, and professional pictures by MacBean Photography)
You might let out a yelp of surprise at this event—but only because a goat wandered between your legs while you were in warrior one, not because anyone threatened to suck your blood. Open to yogis of all skill levels, Arvada Goat Yoga’s three Saturday morning Halloween Goat Yoga sessions—on October 15, 22, and 29, from 11 a.m. to noon—are hosted at Picaflor Farm in Westminster. Costumes are highly encouraged, since you won’t want to be outdone by the baby goats, who will also be gussied up for the occasion. The class itself will last for 45 minutes, leaving the rest of the hour for adorable photo ops. $10 for children and $20 for adults (mat rentals available for $5 when you purchase your ticket)
OK, so the Headless Horseman’s mask looks pretty frightening—but artistic director and Iluminar Aerial performance company founder Emmy Moon assures us that it’s the scariest part of the Sleepy Hollow adaptation she helped choreograph. Plus, you’ll be too distracted by the spinning, soaring aerial dancers suspended above the stage at the Arts Hub in Lafayette to freak out about the story being told by the narrator around a campfire scene. The whole family is welcome at this year’s three shows: one on Friday, October 14, at 7:30 p.m. and two on Saturday, October 15, at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. If anyone gets inspired, they can check out Iluminar Aerial’s classes for students of all ages at the Apollo Center in Broomfield. $15 for kids four to 17, $20 for seniors, and $25 for adults; children three and under are free
Although there are no rules against creepy costumes at the Motown Halloween Dance Party, we expect most attendees to lean into the theme with ’60s-era getups. So break out the bell-bottoms, tie-dye, and go-go boots, and prepare to boogie the night away at Roots Music Project, a Boulder-based nonprofit with a cozy indoor venue and bar on Pearl Street. On Saturday, October 29, from 8 to 10 p.m., the seven-piece band Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (A Motown Stax Revue) will bring all your favorite songs from Detroit’s Motown Record Corporation and Memphis’ Stax Records to the stage. $23
There’s no shortage of Halloween events in Denver that combine costumes and consuming booze, but we like that the Zombie Crawl takes over LoDo with hundreds of dressed-up guests, lured by free welcome shots and discounted drinks at more than 15 different bars and nightclubs. (So, uh, it’s not actually all that different from a regular weekend night.) Check in at the Ginn Mill as early as 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, to pick up your wristband and Zombie Survival Kit, which includes a map of participating establishments, a book of drink vouchers and coupons, and nightclub entry passes. As long as your biggest fear isn’t a hangover, this is the perfect event to pitch to your friends who think they’re too cool for Halloween. $40
On Friday, October 28, from 8 to 11 p.m., the most frightening thing at McGregor Square’s second annual McGregor Scare event (for witches and werewolves 21 and older) is likely to be your dance moves, thanks to the Graveyard Groove silent disco. A ticket includes your headset, which gives you access to music from three live DJs (colored lights over your ears indicate which one you’re listening to); a welcome cocktail served in a jack-o’-lantern bucket; bites from seven different Milepost Zero food hall stalls; and activities like giant beer pong and a boomerang booth (think: like a photo booth, but it creates a gif-esque short video for sharing on social media). Get creative for a chance to win the costume contest prize of a night’s stay at the Rally Hotel. Early-bird tickets are $44; prices increase to $55 closer to the event
Nationally touring DJs, costume and celebrity impersonator contests with huge cash prizes, 40 bars, live performers, 20 immersive art experiences…say less. Unless you’re an agoraphobe, you have nothing to fear from Coloween 2022, the 13th annual iteration of the 21-plus event, which returns to Denver the night of Saturday, October 29, at a new, larger location: the Stockyards Event Center in Elyria-Swansea’s National Western Center. The event’s installations are built by professional set and stage designers and Burning Man artists—so, yeah, you’ll want to go all out on your costume. $44 for general admission, as of October 13 (prices increase closer to the event)