Denver may not have the centuries-old ghost stories that some East Coast haunts have. But the Mile High City more than makes up for it by rolling out the orange carpet come Halloween, from spooky-themed bars and hotel rooms to an over-the-top, multi-sensory haunted house worth traveling to experience.
Here, five ways to have a scary good time in Denver this Halloween season.
Book a Stay in a Ghostbuster-Themed Room
Exploding with pop culture around every turn, The Curtis is a jovial hotel in the heart of downtown with 13 floors of hyper-themed rooms, including a KISS rockstar suite, a Barbie room, and floors imbued with sports, sci-fi, superhero themes and more. Really, there’s a floor to fit just about every costume scheme. But for a spooky season-inspired stay in this Instagram-friendly hotel, book a room on the 13th floor. The theme on this floor is scary movies and you can spend the night in a “Ghostbuster” suite that has “slime green” touches throughout.
Experience to the 13th Floor Haunted House
A massive collection of creepy Victorian dolls. A cryogenics lab that revives the dead. An age-old feud playing out between werewolf and vampires. There’s three distinct plots for scare-seekers to scamper through in the 13th Floor Haunted House, an award-winning attraction that has a Hollywood-level style of set design. In addition to characters popping out in every direction, the haunted house uses scent pods to create a “scentscape,” so you’re not imagining it if you smell decaying vegetation as you meander through a swamp scene. Inside the haunt is a “Shriekeasy Bar” slinging ghoulish drinks like the Coffin Crew (i.e. vodka and cranberry).
Mingle with Monsters
Considered “artainment,” Distortions Monster World is an immersive experience that feels as though you’re on the set of a sci-fi movie and have been granted up-close-and-personal access to the creepy creatures. The museum is a collection of art from Distortions Unlimited, one of the most renowned haunt manufacturers. (Yes, you can bring home an almost-too-realistic creepy doll rocking back and forth on a swing to plant in your yard and scare trick-or-treaters). The 19,000-square-foot-space includes life-sized snarling gargoyles, aliens stranded on Earth, and dinosaurs frozen in a mid-roar, attack stance. “I have never seen monsters as ugly, and certainly haven’t associated them with just one time of the year,” says Distortions Unlimited co-owner Ed Edmunds. “My hope is that visitors will walk away appreciating the art and beauty behind these creatures, and realize there is more to monsters than meets the eye.” The limited-run engagement goes beyond Halloween.
Marvel at Pumpkin Art
To get some inspiration for your own pumpkin masterpiece, check out the gourds at Hudson Gardens. The Magic of Jack O’ Lanterns includes 7,000 immaculately hand-carved pumpkins that look like they should be on display in an art museum. When you enter, there’s a colorful field of photo-worthy pumpkins. Throughout the gardens there are pumpkin vignettes, like an under-the-sea scene and another dedicated to Dia de los Muertos. The numerous caricatures, like those of Tim Burton and Edward Scissorhands, are so elaborate you’ll say “oh my gourd.”
Imbibe at a Horror Bar
Horror movies spanning the decades play in the background at Slashers, a dive cocktail bar that has a punk meets metal meets goth-head feel. The bar has rotating punches on draft or you can order a cult classic drink like one with jalapeno-infused tequila that the bartenders say will fire you up before fighting a bar full of vampires.