How to Have a Scary Good Time in Denver This Halloween

Look no further for a terrifyingly good time.

Halloween season is back in Denver, and we’re sure you’ve been up to your eyeballs in pumpkin spice and are probably on your third rewatch of Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus. But believe us when we say there’s so much more in store for the remainder of October. You can find ghost tours and creepy cabaret shows aplenty and even the Colorado Symphony getting in on the seasonal fun, but there are a few select experiences we think top the charts when it comes to Halloween celebrations. Whether you’re looking to dance, drink, or dread, there’s a party, bar, or bone-chilling haunted house for you. Mile High Halloween classics like Coloween and Fright Fest return once again, accompanied by some newer attractions that’ll have you shaking in your boots. Here are the essential Halloween experiences to have in Denver this year.

Auraria, Through October 29
Experience the fun and frights by day, by night, or both at Elitch Gardens, where all the fun of an amusement park is enhanced tenfold by Halloween decor and festivities. Delight the terrors-in-training with rides, free candy, and several challenges at Kiddieland from 12 - 6 pm, but once dusk closes in, it’s time for the grown-up ghouls and goblins to play. Test your limits at multiple themed haunted houses, including the new Carn-Evil clown mouth carnival, or be terrified at the Insidious Circus live show.

Ballpark, Through October 31
Mile High Spirits isn’t playing around this year, hosting a pop-up bar through the end of the month and its 12th annual Halloween bash on the 28th. Catch the pop-up every Friday and Saturday from 10 pm onward and enjoy Halloween-themed drinks and shots all season long. Then, when you’re really ready to boogie, grab your tickets for the Halloween Bash that’s slated from 9 pm -2 am. Dance to live DJs and pull out all the stops for your costume—$1,500 in cash and prizes is at stake for those who go the extra mile.

Ballpark, Through October 31
Heading in a different direction for Halloween festivities, McGregor Square has a new kind of fright in mind for 2023—scary camp! Don’t worry, no special equipment is required; grab your drinks from a camp counselor on duty at Camp Shiver Creek, tune in for an upcoming movie or Hocus Pocus-themed trivia, and bring Fido along for the Howl-O-Ween dog costume party on the 23rd. But if anything, be sure you’re attending the high-energy, After Hours Costume Party on October 28. A grand prize is at stake and dancing is to be done, plus you can get a tarot reading, hop in the photo booth, and of course, have a few bites at the mess hall—er, Milepost Zero.

Elyria-Swansea, Through November 5
What good is Halloween without a good haunted house? Denver’s scariest one has reopened its doors and invites you in… if you dare. The 13th Floor Haunted House is playing on all of the most (least?) popular scares right now—from infected mutants to terrifying nuns to your favorite fairytales turned into nightmares. New for 2023 is the option for monster-free tours, where you can appreciate the creepiness (and serious effort) of the haunted house design while keeping your heart rate at a normal level. Explore the house’s many horrors as well as its several themed bars, activities—like ax-throwing and a shooting range—and so much more before time runs out.

Union Station, October 19 - 31
Pulling out all the stops for every holiday is Union Station, but this Halloween is especially fun. Each night from now through the end of the month, visit between 4 pm and midnight to delight in a New Orleans voodoo-themed “Spooky Speakeasy” pop-up bar. Don’t forget tickets (and something warm to wear) for the pumpkin carving outdoors on the 21st, which comes complete with pumpkin, carving supplies, two seasonal cocktails, beers, or wines, and a nacho bar. Last but not least is the Station’s main event each year: the trick-or-treat parade where all ghouls, ghosts, and goblins don their best costumes in exchange for candy, balloon art, face painting, and much more—including prizes for those best dressed.

Various locations, October 21 - 31
The official Denver Halloween bar crawl is happening on October 21, 27, 28, and 31 this year, with a packed lineup of stops for every night. Revel in dancing and Halloween-themed drink specials at some of your favorite Denver bars, and keep that Barbie wig on straight—it could win you a prize. But even if you’re not game for the “official” crawl, there are a ton of others happening around the city leading up to the 31st; start your crawl at Icehouse Tavern or Larimer Beer Hall and have a scary good time.

Cheesman Park, October 26 - 29
In addition to its sold-out Glow at the Gardens event, the Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting a Ghosts in the Gardens Open Air Scare event for those 12 and up and courageous enough to withstand some haunted Denver history. While it’s not a costumed event, guests can truly channel the spirit of Halloween by strolling dark garden paths and listening to stories of real staff encounters and the intriguing history of the place that was formerly known as "The Boneyard."

City Park, October 28
Nearly 30 Colfax businesses participate in this multifaceted Halloween experience that’s fun no matter your age. Check in at beloved bar Middleman (where you’ll pick up your wristband for all the local specials), and either trick-or-treat with the kiddos and enjoy the block party from 1 - 4 pm or roll up after 6 to check out some of the more adult-friendly attractions. Atomic Cowboy, Cerebral Brewing, and Steve’s Snappin Dogs are just a few of the many businesses partaking this year.

LoDo, October 28
Thompson Denver’s cozy, apres-ski cocktail lounge, Reynard Social, is once again hosting its immersive Halloween event for one day only. Enjoy bite-sized snacks, themed cocktails, live aura readings, and spine-chilling experiences like the room of phobias and cursed graveyard. Then, monster mash the night away to live DJ sets with all of your frightening friends.

Central Business District, October 28
Something even better than sitting by a warm fire pit, enjoying a seasonal cocktail, and watching the sun set over the Rockies? Doing so in costume, of course! Hang out at Le Méridien Denver Downtown’s rooftop bar, 54Thirty, in your best Halloween costume while sipping boo-zy themed cocktails and jamming out to music from The Bordas Brothers for one night only. Your costume could win you a one-night stay at Le Méridien and cabana access! Tickets include one complimentary welcome cocktail.

Elyria-Swansea, October 28
Denver’s biggest Halloween Bash is back and bigger than ever. The annual party—which sells out every year, by the way—returns with its 2023 theme: Nostalgia: A Sultry Mixture of Retro Allure and Vibrant Sensations. Oh, and it’s happening at the National Stockyards, meaning you’ll have close to 50,000 square feet of dancing space. Tear it up on multiple (and massive) dance floors, imbibe at the many bars throughout the space using Coloween’s RFID-enabled, cashless wristband system, and be transfixed by mind-bending immersive installations, live performers, a laser show, and club-style DJs. And make sure you’re dressed to impress for the $1,500 costume contest—that’s the easiest 365 days of bragging rights and holiday vacation you’ll ever have.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer who loves a good DIY Halloween costume. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.