The history of Halloween informs celebrations throughout the area.
What a difference 1,800 years can make!
Halloween traditions, such as telling scary stories, first came from Europe to the Americas in the late 18th century, but it was not until the late 1800s that there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes. With the reintroduction (from Europe) of trick-or-treating in the 1930s, the night became more treat than trick.
Let’s get this party started!
Boo at the Zoo
What better place to begin than Boo at the Zoo at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (cmzoo.org), where little ghosts and goblins as well as adults are treated to seven nights of fun. Attractions include a lighted pumpkin patch in My Big Backyard; a haunted house; rides on the Boo Carousel; and special keeper talks, animal demos, and animal encounters. Select animal exhibits will be open. An elephant-sized amount of candy will be handed out at more than 25 trick-or-treat stations throughout the zoo. If the weather is good, zoo-goers can also enjoy rides on the Mountaineer Sky Ride, which provides a breathtaking view of Colorado Springs at night and a ride to two additional trick-or-treat stations at the top.
“Bring your little superhero, princess, or pirate to the fun during October when the zoo comes alive with the spirit of Halloween,” says Rachel Wright, public relations and social media manager. “Boo at the Zoo is a fun trick-or-treating event for local families, and it’s set in such a unique environment—attendees can enjoy all the zoo has to offer, while feeling good about collecting candy made with sustainable palm oil to help protect wild orangutans.”
Boo at the Zoo starts on Saturday, October 16, and continues for three consecutive Saturdays and Sundays, culminating on the three-day Halloween weekend. Activities also include the Spooky Graveyard at the Scutes Family Gallery and Pirates Cove at Australia Walkabout. Perhaps most fun will be visiting the real creatures of the night with some of the zoo animals getting tasty treats, including pumpkins filled with meat and special blood popsicles.
There are some precautions in place. For the safety of all guests, costume masks and costume weapons may not be worn by guests 12 years of age or older. Masks worn by guests 11 years of age and younger must have openings that allow the eyes to be seen and that do not obstruct peripheral vision. Balloons are not allowed inside the zoo (even as part of a costume) for the safety of the animals.
Noche de los Muertos
Come get your “dead” on when the Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts in Manitou Springs (smokebrush.org) hosts the 10th Annual Noche de los Muertos Party on Friday, October 30, at Memorial Hall in Manitou Springs. Smokebrush has been celebrating the Day of the Dead, a Mexican cultural holiday, for nine years by putting on this event, which includes traditional music, dancing, a symbolic skeleton-burning ceremony to honor the dearly departed, face painting, and revelry all set against the backdrop of Latin Gypsy music.
The evening also includes a traditional ofrenda (altar), which pays homage to the dearly departed. With deep roots in Mexican culture, Día or Noche de los Muertos bears similarities to Halloween, yet it focuses more on honoring the memories of loved ones who have passed.
“Festival de los Muertos is an annual event which began in 2011 and has been hosted by the Smokebrush Foundation, Ryan Flores, and me,” says Adriana Rincon, general manager of the Smokebrush Foundation. Both Rincon and Flores are also founding members of the band Moonhoney, which will perform during the evening.
“At the time of the celebration, we recognize that the veil between our world and the next is much thinner and this is the best time of year for this kind of celebration,” Rincon says. “During this brief period, the souls of the dead awaken and return to the living world to feast, drink, dance, and play music with their loved ones.”
This year’s show will be the most extravagant to date with musical performances by Moonhoney, Viva la Noche, Roma Ransom, the New Depressionists, and special dance performances with Noche sangria, beer from Bristol Brewing Company, a Mexican-themed buffet, and more.
Scream Haunted House/Haunted Mines
Carve out a little time and harvest some family fun at the Scream Haunted House at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry this fall. Celebrate the season with Spooky Histories and the Scream Haunted House October 2 and 3. Other family activities include visiting the giant pumpkin patch, hayrides, antique tractors, face painting, and a farmers market along with children’s games, gold and gem panning, and more in the museum’s exhibit building and 27-acre grounds. 225 North Gate Blvd., 719.488.0880, wmmi.org
HellScream Haunted House
The HellScream Haunted House has been named the “scariest and best” haunted house by the likes of KOAA TV, Mile High Haunts, and Spooky Colorado for more than a decade. Created by film, television, and special effects professionals, this intense, cutting-edge, multi-story, multiattraction haunted event thrills and terrifies visitors for four weekends in October and is also notable for its custom, movie-quality special effects; amazing actors; unique themes; and extremely detailed sets. 3021 N. Hancock Ave., 719.633.8252, hellscreamhaunt.com
The KOA campsite in Fountain gets into the seasonal fun by hosting a Halloween Spooktacular all four weekends in October. There will be lots of fun and plenty of fright; activities will include arts and crafts, pumpkin carving, costume contests each weekend, and a campsite/cabin decorating contest. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes—and don’t forget the candy! 8100 Bandley Dr., Fountain, 719.382.7575, koa.com