Denver, CO - October 10, 2014 - Stephen King was inspired here. It was a lonely stay at the Stanley Hotel in nearby Estes Park, Colorado that gave him the idea for the classic ghost story, The Shining. King had driven up from Denver, intending to drive across Trail Ridge Road, but the highway was closed by an early snow storm. He took refuge in the Stanley and checked into Room 217. He was the hotel's only guest. It was in room 217 that many years earlier, a maid had gone to light the gas only to discover it was already turned on. The ensuing explosion blew her through the floor and down into the ballroom below, a place she still reportedly haunts. King recalled, "we found ourselves the only guests in the place - with all those long, empty corridors. By the time I went to bed that night, I had the whole book in my mind."
Since then, many guests at the Stanley have reported strange housekeeping incidents in Room 217, as if a maid had come in and lined up their shoes, or someone had unpacked their bags. Room 217 is just one of seven rooms in the Stanley that are today noted for their paranormal activities. And, it's just one of many hotels in the area that host both the living, and the departed.
The Mile High City is home to many other tales of ghosts - and Halloween events for all ages. The residents of Denver love any excuse to dress up, drink craft beer and party - and All's Hallow Eve celebrations afford them many opportunities. From one of the world's largest zombie crawls to a haunted Field of Screams... from a haunted tour of ghostly cemeteries to a horror film festival, here are some ways to get your "spook on" in Denver.
Ghoulishly Fun Halloween Events and Activities
Elitch Gardens Fright Fest
WHEN: Friday nights, Saturdays & Sundays | October 3 - November 2
WHERE: Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, 2000 Elitch Cir.
Once the sun goes down, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park is transformed from a theme park to a scream park as haunted houses come alive and ghost, ghouls and zombies take over. Free with regular admission, this popular event is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit!
Haunted Field of Screams
WHEN: September 26 - November 1
WHERE: 10270 Riverdale Road, Thornton
Covering more than 35 acres, the Haunted Field of Screams is Denver's largest haunted attraction. The frightening cornfield is located just 15 minutes from downtown Denver and provides the most unique and bone-¬chilling experience in the area. Take your scare to the max and check out all three haunts: Haunted Field of Screams, Dead Man's Night Maze and Zombie Paintball Massacre.
Mile High Horror Film Festival
WHEN: October 9 - 12
WHERE: Alamo Drafthouse Denver, 7301 S. Santa Fe Dr.
Horror at high altitude! The Mile High Horror Film Festival at the Alamo Drafthouse Denver is dedicated to celebrating the art and entertainment of independent horror films from around the world. This festival is full of fun parties, panels, events, and, most importantly, chilling independent horror films.
Victorian Horrors XXI
WHEN: October 17-18 & 24-25
WHERE: Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St.
Costumed actors bring to life tales of terror from such masters as Edgar Allan Poe, HG Wells and Mary Shelley, all in the Victorian splendor of the Molly Brown House mansion. Come for the first time, or come again for a fresh set of terrifying tales!
WHEN: October 31
WHERE: City Hall Events Venue, 1144 Broadway
Get ready for the most anticipated Halloween costume party in Denver! City Hall Events will host ColoWeen 2014, featuring four separate rooms including the amazing City Hall Amphitheater. Grab your favorite Halloween costume and check out the Denver Halloween Party Experience featuring massive Halloween Decorations, Sexy Halloween Costumes and Colorado's best DJs playing Top 40, Electronic, Reggae and more. VIP bottle service packages are available.
Denver Zombie Crawl
WHEN: October 18
WHERE: 16th Street Mall, Downtown Denver
Spend an afternoon with 15,000 of the Living Dead! Denver will stage the largest Zombie gathering in history at Skyline Park on the 16th Street Mall for the annual horror fest -- the Denver Zombie Crawl. Put on your best zombie makeup and outfit and join the fun. This is an ALL AGES and FREE event. Everyone is welcome. The organizers do however ask that you bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Food Bank of the Rockies.
Capitol Hill Horror Stories with Tom "Dr. Colorado" Noel
WHEN: October 22
WHERE: Grant Humphreys Mansion, 777 Pennsylvania St.
Pay your respects to some of Colorado's liveliest deceased characters and dine with the disinterred while hearing their terrifying tales at the Grant Humphreys Mansion. Storytellers include Dr. Colorado (Tom Noel), storytellers Edger Allen Poe (Dennis Gallagher), Mary Elitch (Debra Faulkner), Molly Brown (Charla Stilling), Mattie Silks (Patti Lundt), Mrs. Adolph Coors II (Kim Field), Mrs. Uerttea Croke (Amy Zimmer), Helen Bonfils (Susan Liehe), and other exhumed eccentrics. Libations and light delights are included.
Ghosties and Goodies Tea
WHEN: October 25
WHERE: Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St.
Who haunts the halls of Margaret Brown's home? What spirits roam historic Capitol Hill? Explore the macabre mysteries of the Molly Brown House with a diabolical Docents and gobble gruesome goodies served by monstrous maids. Museum Tour included. Suitable for ages 12 and up.
A Halloween BOO-lesque Show!
WHEN: October 30 - 31
WHERE: Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe St.
Join the adorable Clocktower Clockettes at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret as they pay a spooky burlesque tribute to all the thrills and chills of America's spookiest holiday! You'll see zombies, vampires, witches, black cats and even The Blob... scenes so frightening they'll scare The Clockettes right out of their shirts! Aerial feats, jugglers, magicians, comedy and camp by your favorite "naughty" host, Lannie's very own, Naughty Pierre. Old fashioned fun with interactive comedy and costume contest prizes.
Ghosts in the Gardens
WHEN: October 17-18 & 24-25
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.
Denver Botanic Gardens dares you to join them after dark! At the annual Ghosts in the Gardens Tours, guides will lead you through one of three separate ghost tours of your choosing. Each tour guide will tell haunting stories of the Gardens' one hundred years of history and illustrate points of interest inside and outside what used to be called "The Boneyard".
October Ghost Ride
WHEN: October 11 & 18
WHERE: Cheesman Park, 1599 E. 8th Ave.
Ebner Tours & Events will guide you through a haunted October evening with a ghost tour of the historic Cheesman Park. Following the "hauntings" of Capitol Hill, you'll find yourself at Anderson Farms, home of Colorado's longest-running corn maze & pumpkin patch. Ebner Tours & Events also offers "Terror in the Corn", a haunted hay ride and ghost town for those who crave the ultimate night of fright.
Dine in a Mortuary at Linger
WHERE: 2030 W. 30th Ave.
Located in the hip LoHi neighborhood, the acclaimed restaurant Linger is housed in a somewhat spooky building - a former mortuary! Don't worry, the more gruesome aspects have been fully removed. In their place is a fun, retro-cool atmosphere - and delicious street fare from around the globe. The owners have displayed just the right amount of black humor in the decor. Check out the happy hour menus printed on oversized morgue toe tags, or the apothecary jars used to serve water.
WHERE: 333 E. Wonderview Ave., Estes Park
See why the Stanley Hotel in nearby Estes Park inspired Stephen King to write The Shining! King stayed at this historic hotel in the mid-70s, and ended up writing one of the great horror masterpieces of all time. On the Stanley's Ghost & History Tour, experience it for yourself. See room #217, where the creation of The Shining began, hear stories of ghost sightings in the hotel's most haunted rooms, and take a tour through the underground tunnel!
Trick-or-Treat! Great Halloween Activities for Kids
Colorado's Coolest Corn Maze
WHEN: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday | September 19 - November 1
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Rd., Littleton
Get lost at this year's Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield's eight-acre Corn Maze, one of the most attended corn mazes in the country. Wind your way through acres of corn, view the design from two 15-foot tall illuminated bridges that overlook the giant Corn Maze, and watch the delight as younger children find their way through a special free McDonald's Mini-Maze designed just for them. Hayrides, and horse and pony rides will be available for an additional cost. An array of food vendors will offer some of your favorite fall foods, including freshly squeezed lemonade, funnel cakes, hotdogs and kettle corn. And don't forget to come out during Pumpkin Fest to pick the perfect jack-o-lantern from the Gardens' 10-acre patch.
Scream Scram 5K
WHEN: October 17
WHERE: Washington Park, S. Downing St. & E. Louisiana Ave.
Halloween is all about candy, but it can also be about staying fit, thanks to the annual Scream Scram 5K Run/Walk in Washington Park. Put on your costume and your sneakers and hit the pavement. At the finish, hang out at Trick-or-Treat Street for yummy food, award presentations and prize drawings for best costumes and top finishers.
Bug A Boo
WHEN: October 18 - 19
WHERE: Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster
Come meet the Butterfly Pavilion's creepiest crawliest friends while your kids scream around this safe, educational trick or treat street. This event, including games, costumes and candy, will have you bug out, just in time for Halloween.
WHEN: October 25 - 26
WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum, 17155 W. 44th Ave., Golden
Ride the rails back in time through Railroad Halloween Town at the Colorado Railroad Museum. Catch a ride behind the historic steam locomotive in vintage coal-heated passenger cars hosted by conductors and engineers in full costume. The Trick-or-Treat Train departs every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Visit all the Town's special stops to fill your treat bag and tickle your funny bones. Visit the "not so spooky" haunted railcar or the Olde Railroaders silly graveyard. Get a picture of your costume as you pause for a photo in the Pumpkin Patch. Or warm your hands around the Hobo Campfire and sit a spell for kid-friendly storytelling.
WHEN: October 24 - 26
WHERE: Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Dr.
It's the sweetest time of year so don your favorite costume and head to the Children's Museum of Denver for a trick-or-treating adventure bursting with fun! Parade from one Treat House to the next collecting goodies, craft classic Halloween creatures, brave your chances at the Monster Carnival and stroll through Pumpkin Hill. Activities included with Museum admission.
Boo At The Zoo
WHEN: October 25 - 26
WHERE: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.
The annual Boo At The Zoo at the Denver Zoo offers more than 25 trick-or-treat stations, creepy crawly animal demonstrations and exciting family-friendly entertainment under the canopy of the beautiful fall foliage of the Denver Zoo. Activities are free with zoo admission.
For the ultimate guide to haunted Halloween events in Denver, go to visitdenver.com.