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.

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!

ColoWeen 2014
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.

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”.

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.

Stanley Hotel

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!

For the ultimate guide to haunted Halloween events in Denver, go to

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