The Pikes Peak region is rife with Halloween traditions built for families, scare fanatics, lore lovers and anyone else who loves to dress up, eat candy and feel the thrill of the Halloween season. This year’s event calendar is no less packed than years past, with tons of options that appeal to every age or scare level. We’ve pulled some of the area favorites to help you pick and choose! (It’s still going to be hard.)
Skeleton Craze in Manitou Springs
Gather ‘round ye lovers of spooky fun, it’s skeleton season in the blissful town of Manitou Springs. For the entire month of October, these bony buddies gather all over downtown, decorated in hilarious, fun and spooky garb, ready to entrance onlookers with their wide grins and vacant eyes. Even better, the skeletons are competing to be the coolest in the county and visitors can vote for their favorite using ballots from the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce and several businesses around town. Bring your camera and to snap skeleton selfies … if you dare.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Iron Springs Chateau
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was poised to be a cult classic from the first day it hit the theaters in 1975. After all, what else would you expect from a film that featured the iconic Tim Curry (who starred in the original theater production) as the fabulous Dr. Frank N. Furter, catchy songs and a cool dance number? For 43 years now, the movie has endured as a lighthouse that calls the misfits of the world to strap on their finest bustiers, gather up their props and hit the theater to sing, hoot and holler along with the movie. Every Friday and Saturday in October, you can relive the fun at the Iron Springs Chateau in Manitou Springs. With a snazzy cast of live actors bringing your favorite characters into 3D, you are absolutely certain to have an epic evening. Dirt-cheap concessions and themed adult beverages will be available for purchase and you can also pick up a pre-approved prop bag for celebrating the wedding, escaping the rain and all the other antics you love and expect from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Dressing up is surely welcome, so don’t be afraid to let your inner Columbia shine!
Boo at the Zoo
For Halloween fun that’s safe, family-friendly and slightly spooky, costume up the kiddos and hit one of Colorado Springs’ favorite traditions, Boo at the Zoo. Held at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, kids will delight in the one-two combo of candy and zoo animals as they scamper up and down the hills dressed as super heroes, ghosts, cartoon characters and more. Community organizations provide all the candy for the trick-or-treaters and there are cool stops all along the path. For kiddos who delight in things just a little bit scarier, there’s even a haunted house to tour. Make sure you bundle up when you go, as Colorado Octobers are notorious for being chilly. Of course, you can also just warm up with hot cocoa or coffee at the café while picking through candy. Not all the animals will be up and out, but there will be enough to satisfy every visitor. Pro tip: Buy your tickets early — they sell out FAST at the door.
Boo at the Bridge
Your littles will love the Royal Gorge Boo at the Bridge Halloween celebration on Oct. 20. From 4-8 p.m., costumed kids take over the park, trick-or-treating, playing fun games and enjoying other fun activities. Parents will enjoy the live entertainment and knowing the candy their kiddos receive is safe and provided by caring community partners. If you were wondering, your admission to Boo at the Bridge includes a traipse across the bridge and into other areas of the park, including the visitor center and Juniper Junction.
Ghost at the Post
The Garden of the Gods Trading Post has a few unfounded rumors going around about spooky happenings, but on Oct. 26, you’ll only find humans roaming about. Ghost at the Post is a celebration of all things Halloween, perfect for families with just the right balance of chills and fun. Kids can trick-or-treat in the store, enter a costume contest or simply hang out with their friends. Parents will be treated to music spun by 95.1 Nash FM (although kiddos are more than welcome to dance, too). On the giant back patio, scary stories will offer multiple opportunities for scares, laughs and maybe a squeal or two. (They’ll take it inside if the weather is bad.) The Balanced Rock Café will be open and offering spooky specials on good eat, hot cider and hot cocoa. Get there early and you might even score a pumpkin. The first 75 people to attend get a free one (only one per family, please).
Emma Crawford’s Wake
The story of Emma Crawford is legendary in Manitou Springs, spawning celebrations and antics all throughout October. A particular favorite is Emma Crawford’s wake, a one-night-only event held at Miramont Castle. Visitors will be allowed to view Miss Crawford resting peacefully in her coffin, laid out in proper Victorian fashion (this coffin will NOT be flying down any mountains, however). A sumptuous buffet dinner will be served, along with drinks. Attendance for this event sells out astronomically fast, so it’s best to purchase tickets early to ensure that you might pay your respects to the beloved lass. While you are there, take a peek into the darker nooks and crannies of Miramont Castle. Perhaps you might see the last wisp of Miss Crawford’s spirit as she leaves this plane — or encounter another still lingering about.
Emma Crawford Coffin Races
Emma Crawford, like many transplants to the region at the time, came to Colorado to search for a way to ease the symptoms of tuberculosis — or cure the disease altogether. While she may not have found what she was hoping for, she did have a blissful romance with William Hildebrand before passing away two years later. Miss Crawford’s dying wish was to be buried on Red Mountain and her dedicated fiancé quickly complied. Now here’s where it gets tricky. More than four decades later, her resting place became not so restful when a hard rain loosened her casket from the earth and propelled it down the mountain. Today, visitors and residents celebrate her post-life adventure with a celebration, racing decorated coffins down the street to the cheers of the roaring crowds. Each team must consist of one Emma and four extremely fast “pallbearers”, sparking quite a bit of creativity each year in participants. The town will be filled with other Emma-themed activities as well and attendance and the shuttle are both free.
Although there are even more events than these, we think these traditions will give you everything you’re looking for with the exact dash of Colorado spirit (pun intended) that makes living here so fun!
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