Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight make me a child again just for to-night! ~Elizabeth Akers Allen, “Rock Me to Sleep”
It’s that time of year again. Halloween, a signature kid holiday, is so popular it gives Santa Claus a run for his money.
But even for the young at heart, Halloween evokes delicious memories of running up and down dark neighborhood streets, clamoring for treats at some houses and anticipating the thrilling tricks at others. Perhaps there was a celebration at school, or bobbing-for-apples at someone’s house party, but those neighborhood treks were the clear highlight of the holiday.
For today’s kids, Halloween has become a much bigger event. It’s typically a major happening in many cities, and Denver is no exception. While grassroots trick-or-treating is a big production in most neighborhoods — either on the weekend prior to Halloween or on the day itself — kids, and their parents, now have a veritable menu of other choices, too. Below are just a few, organized by date to help you plan your Halloween fun.
Trick-or-treaters can visit a variety of themed stations called “treat houses,” make their own Halloween creatures, attend the Monster Carnival and take a walk through the pumpkin patch. The museum is open 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., and the fun is included with admission.
Enjoy a “Not-So-Haunted” Train Ride, Monster Mural coloring, mad science experiments, pumpkin-patch painting, a costume contest and a competition to guess the weight of the giant pumpkin. The festival is open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. each day.
More than 25 trick-or-treat stations, creepy animal demonstrations and plenty of family fun — this will be a Halloween to remember! Don’t miss the fascinating nocturnal creatures at “Boo After Dark” from 6 – 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25. All activities are free with zoo admission, which is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (grounds close at 6 p.m.).
Not only is the entire theme park open for the weekend (except for the water rides), Elitch Gardens also is featuring two all-new haunted houses, a new live show, “Ghouls Match” challenges for kids, a Trick or Treat Trail, costume contest, screaming contest, hay maze and much more. Younger guests will enjoy all-ages attractions, but fear not, there will be plenty of frights for teens and adults. Check out The Denver Channel’s article for the inside scoop on enjoying this year’s Fright Fest!
Ride behind a historic locomotive in vintage passenger cars, complete with conductors and engineers in full costume. Fill your treat bag in all of Halloween Town’s special shops, hear kid-friendly tales at the Hobo Campfire, and don’t miss the haunted railcar and silly graveyard. The train leaves the station every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
This all-day celebration includes live owls, a pumpkin patch and straw bale maze, story times, craft stations, educational demonstrations, music, food vendors and so much more. Purchase one of the gardens’ giant pumpkins for your own celebration; they’ll be on sale 11 a.m.–2 p.m., or while supplies last. (Be forewarned: Some pumpkins weigh 75 pounds or more, and the facility requires that you use non-motorized transportation to get them off the grounds!) The FestiFall runs 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
This popular 8-acre maze is in the design of the Colorado flag, according to the Denver Botanic Gardens. Enjoy the view from two 15-foot illuminated bridges, give the little ones a chance to experience the free mini maze, and enjoy hayrides, horse and pony rides, and vendors offering a wide range of beloved fall-festival foods.
Head out to Golden, just west of Denver in the foothills, to experience the Scarecrow Express, Pumpkin Patch and Spider Mansion Haunted House. Don’t miss the Boo Town 3D Maze Craze, a two-level labyrinth full of fun (but not scares!). Heritage Square is open weekends 11 a.m.–6 p.m., and all other attractions will be open, weather permitting, including amusement rides, go karts, mini golf, ropes course and zipline.
Of course, there are myriad other events happening in Denver during last week of October, from festivals at area farms to special trick-or-treating extravaganzas at community rec centers and shopping districts. Some communities, in fact, have become major destinations; these include Olde Town Arvada’s Trick or Treat Street in Historic Olde Town (5–7 p.m. Oct. 25), and the Highlands Trick or Treat Street (12–2 p.m.Oct. 27).
To learn more about what the Denver metro area is doing for Halloween, check out ColoradoKids.com for event listings near your neighborhood. Happy Halloween!