Abandoned prison cells. Spooky cemetery tours. Confusing corn mazes. Ghouls and goblins galore. Whatever your preferred haunts, get into the spirit of Halloween with these Colorado tours, festivals and trick-or-treat events.
As we creep up to Halloween and the witching hour, it’s the time of year to try Colorado’s haunted houses, ghost tours, harvest festivals and Halloween parades. Here’s a selection of both creepy and kid-friendly ways to celebrate Halloween in Colorado this season.
Colorado Haunted Houses and Tours
Unexplained orbs of light appear on photos taken at this Central City cemetery at night. A little boy follows visitors around the grounds, ducking behind trees whenever they try to talk to him. A beautiful mysterious woman in black appears twice a year and places columbines on the grave of resident John Edward Cameron. Any attempts to find out more about this mysterious woman have been unsuccessful as she vanishes into thin air when visitors approach.
The Gilpin County Historical Society leads Creepy Crawls around the city’s ghostliest sites, select Fridays and Saturdays in October. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and often sell out. Get yours early!
13th Floor Haunted House offers creepy thrills for those who love a good jump scare. Featuring three different storylines each year, visitors can explore the legend of the building’s missing 13th floor where unfortunate souls seek shelter. With costumed characters, animatronics, and interactive special effects, you won’t be able to make it through without screaming.
Tickets are available mid-September through mid-November, and prices vary depending on date.
Looking for a unique way to get scared? Check out the Ghost Tours in Fort Collins, an old western town situated at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. Fort Collins’ historic strip on Walnut Street and the old firehouse served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street. And that same strip serves up some spooky ghost stories. For families, try the Ghosts and Goodies tour, which includes family-friendly storytelling and sweet treats along a half-mile walk.
Investigate the paranormal as you take a tour of the abandoned cells in the Museum of Colorado Prisons, located in Canon City. Its first territorial prison was built in 1871, followed by 12 additional state and federal prisons, making Canon City the Corrections Capital of Colorado and the perfect storm for ghosts.
This year, the museum will host a paranormal Investigation with “Gold Rush Ghost Encounters” on Halloween night from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Those brave enough to participate will learn from the experts about how to use the latest equipment and techniques for capturing proof of the paranormal. Participants must be 16 or older.
If you’re looking for a wacky, Halloween-themed family-friendly and free event, don’t miss the Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade.
Diagnosed with tuberculosis, Emma came to Manitou Springs for the miracle mineral springs in 1889. Unfortunately, she lost her battle on December 4, 1891. Her dying wish was to be buried on top of Red Mountain. Her fiancé, William Hildebrand (a civil engineer on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway), and eleven other men carried her body up the 7,200-foot slope. In 1929, after years of stormy weather, her remains washed down the side of the mountain. Only her casket handles, a nameplate and a few bones were found. Some say she haunts Red Mountain.
The legend of Emma Crawford lives on in an annual race up Manitou Avenue, consisting of a procession of costumed “Emma” impersonators riding on coffin-like contraptions pulled by teams of four costumed “mourners.” Awards are given for the best Emma and most creative coffin completing the daylong event. Watch the parade while sitting at one of the numerous patios of restaurants and bars on Main Street. Although the event will not take place this October, it returns in 2022.
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Halloween in Colorado for Kids and Scaredy Cats
For those with children (or just plain scaredy cats), Colorado offers many family-friendly Halloween options, like community trick-or-treats and fall festivals.
The Town Center at Aurora will host a Boo and Brew Halloween event on October 30. This Halloween party includes trunk-or-treat style trick-or-treating, a beer garden, a fall market and a deejay.
The Munchkin Masquerade will take place in Boulder on Halloween from 3 to 6 p.m. Costumed trick-or-treaters can visit the downtown shops along Pearl Street.
Hang high at Boo at the Bridge. Trick-or-treat and take in the natural beauty of the Royal Gorge atop one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. This year’s entertainment will be provided by the Seven Falls Indian Dancers dance troupe, which includes dancers from the Pawnee, Flandreau Santee Sioux and Crow Creek Sioux tribes.
Get your thrills with night flights across the gorge on the Royal Rush Skycoaster and the Cloudscraper Zip Line, both open until dusk.
Take your ghouls and goblins to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo, a family-friendly trick-or-treating event. Wear a Halloween costume and bring your trick-or-treat bag for some Halloween fun. The event takes place on weekends in October from 3:40 to 8:30 p.m.
Colorado Springs also hosts the Reynolds Ranch House Harvest Festival at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. Bring the entire family to visit the pumpkin patch and enjoy a hayride, the petting zoo and live music. Tickets are $10 per person in advance, and $12 on site.
One of my favorite Denver Halloween activities is the family fun Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms, a 750-acre native plant refuge and working farm located along the banks of Deer Creek in southern Jefferson County.
On a beautiful fall day in September, my granddaughter and I took a drive to south Denver to wind our way through Chatfield Farms’ seven-acre corn maze. (For those under 10, explore the mini-maze.)
Apparently, my granddaughter takes after me as both of us are directionally challenged. We got lost, but laughed the entire time, as we followed one dead end after another. We did get some directional assistance by climbing the 15-foot tall bridges to find our way. Along the way, we snapped photos with the life-size animal cut-outs. The maze is open various dates in September and October, Fridays to Sundays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.