Haunted getaways: Three Halloween events worth pursuing outside Summit County | SummitDaily.com

Haunted getaways: Three Halloween events worth pursuing outside Summit County

Melanie Wong
Special to the Daily

Your own backyard is always a good place to haunt, but have you ever wondered what kind of ghoulish characters terrorize the populace outside of the High Country?

While the county has its share of Halloween bashes to enjoy, venture a bit further from home to discover events that are certainly worth a weekend trip. Colorado has wholly embraced Halloween, and some events have pulled out all the stops to draw folks from around the state. Here are a few of our top picks for spooky events around the state.

For the ultimate costume party …

• Twin Terrors at the Stanley Hotel Halloween is a big deal at what is known as "one of the most haunted hotels in the world." Nestled among spectacular mountain views in Estes Park, the historic Stanley Hotel was Stephen King's inspiration for the novel "The Shining."

"Stephen King spent the night here in room 217, and that's when he had the dream — or nightmare — that led to the creation of the story for 'The Shining,'" said the Stanley's Frederic Lahey. "It's certainly a big draw, and we've crafted two weeks of hugely popular events around it."

The weekend brings iHeart Media's Boo Bash, a night of DJs, dancing and costumes on Friday, Oct. 28. Events wrap up on Saturday, Oct. 29, with Act 3 of the Stanley's Shining-themed soirees, the sold-out Masquerade Party. Visitors can round out the weekend by spending the day at nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.

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"October is one of the most astounding times in Estes Park," Lahey said. "The clouds are kissing the snow-covered peaks, the elk are in full rut, the colors are great and the air is crisp and clear. It's an extraordinarily beautiful and colorful time."

For more information and tickets, go to http://www.stanleyhotel.com/halloweenatthestanley.

For the ghost hunter …

• Cemetery horseback rides in Central City — October is graveyard tour season, and nothing makes the experience more unique than doing it on horseback in some of the most fabled and historic cemeteries in the state.

A&A Historical Trails Stables, located outside Central City, has been in the horseback touring business for 31 years. The graveyard tours operate year-round, said owner Ginger DeRay, but are particularly popular at this time of year. This is a great activity for the entire family, and DeRay customizes the trips to suit comfort and age level. Adult groups can even set up an evening ride for a spooky atmosphere.

That said, DeRay's rides emphasize history over haunting. The area is home to six graveyards dating back to the late 1800s, when the mining area was the richest square mile in Colorado. Central City swelled from a population of 200 to 10,000 in a matter of a couple of months in 1880, said DeRay.

In that crush of people came a number of notorious characters and Wild West types, as well as cholera, dysentery, pneumonia and tragic accidents.

"The tombstones are all really unique and tell the story of the people who live here," said DeRay, adding that the rides also boast amazing scenery. "Riders go over a beautiful ridge, and along the way, you'll see four 14ers, St. Mary's Glacier and the Continental Divide."

Spend the night in nearby Central City or Black Hawk, where you can hit the casinos and buffets. For more information on horseback tours, see http://www.aastables.com.