TRICKED OUT: The top haunts around Aurora for October

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A spooky zombie is just one of many hidden scare tactics at the 13th Door haunted house in Regatta Plaza. Each year from Oct. 3 through Nov. 1 nearly 100 amateur zombies, goblins and other Halloween personages spend their nights scaring paying customers. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)
A spooky zombie is just one of many hidden scare tactics at the 13th Door haunted house in Regatta Plaza. Each year from Oct. 3 through Nov. 1 nearly 100 amateur zombies, goblins and other Halloween personages spend their nights scaring paying customers. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Holiday creep is a problem that all of us see but can do very little to cure.

It’s hardly surprising to go pick up your Thanksgiving turkey in the penultimate week of November and already see displays for Christmastime.

The same is true just after New Year’s Day, when row after row of shopping aisles begin sporting pink and red Valentine’s Day accouterments.

But for whatever reason, the folks who are really serious about Halloween and the harvest season seem to wait until the calendar gets changed over to October to start spookifying their abodes and stocking up on every manner of individually wrapped treats for the youngsters and holiday enthusiasts who hit the streets in search of candy at month’s end.

In honor of those eager ghouls who are just now unpacking their fake spider webs and tombstones to turn their yards and porches into hellscapes, here are some of the top picks for Aurora residents to ring in the spooky season.

13th Door Haunted House

Doors open through Nov. 1, 3186
S. Parker Rd, Aurora, 13door.com.

Each year around Halloween, a consortium of notorious Hollywood killers, half-dead creatures and downright sinister souls start hanging out at an abandoned strip mall in central Aurora. Why not join in on the fun and fright? This spooky scene is the nightly routine at the Slaughterhouse Gulch and 13th Door haunted houses off of South Parker Road in Aurora. Each year through Nov. 1, nearly 100 amateur zombies, goblins and just about every other wretch in the gamut of Halloween personages revel in inducing eye-popping screams and frightened shrieks.

Zombies ‘R’ Us

This ghoulish edition of Stories on Stage kicks off at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at the Buntport, 717 Lipan St. Reservations via 303-494-0523 or www.storiesonstage.org.

Zombie literature — this definitely wasn’t one of the courses our college English department offered, so all the more reason for Buntport Theater in Denver to enthrall the undead-friendly masses with stories of brain-eaters and the like.

Punkin’ Chunkin’

Events start at 10 a.m. Oct. 10 and 11. Arapahoe Park Racetrack, 26000 E. Quincy Ave. Call Jessica Hernandez at 303-326-8659 for more information.

It’s difficult to determine the best part of John Hefflefinger’s business card. Really, there are two options, but both are just so damn enthralling. First, there’s the obvious: the guy’s real, legal name is Hefflefinger, which is just the cat’s pajamas. Second, his “business” logo includes the letter “o” being substituted for a rust-colored pumpkin. Tying both of those titillating tidbits together, Hefflefinger’s hulking 48-foot-tall Pluto machine is the reason for the cards he handed out the city’s annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ event last year. Held annually beside the Arapahoe Park Racetrack, the competition invites amateur engineers to hurl orange and white fruits as far as they can onto the vast Aurora prairie. The sport’s world record is just over half a mile. Yeah. Don’t miss Heff make an assault on that high water mark once again this year and go tete-a-tete with his friendly rival Greg Wolfe of team Yankee Siege II. Punkin’ Chunkin’ always has the potential to be the best, yet weirdest weekend of the fall.

Pumpkin Patch-ing

Starting in October, May Farms pumpkin patch is open weekends,1 0 a.m. to 5 p.m., 64001 CO-36, Byers, mayfarms.com or 303-822-5800. Admission is $10.

Pumpkin beer, Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin patches. There’s no doubt that pumpkin is king when it comes to fall festivities. Take a break from sporting all of that bronco orange and find something fun and orange to carve. May Farms, at 64001 US Highway 36 in Byers, is a good bet for not only picking some prime pumpkins, but for learning about life on the farm. Be sure to check out the beautiful array of gourds and pie pumpkins at the farm stand. Other activities include bale mazes, a corn cannon, tractor-pulled hay rides and a barrel train.  Mrs. May’s Homemade Chili is also a must-eat.

Explore Beauty and History at Fairmount Cemetery

Anytime between Mon.-Fri. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 430 South Quebec St., Denver, fairmount-cemetery.com or 303-399-0692

It will certainly take more than one  visit to this historic gem that borders  Denver and Aurora to see Fairmount’s 280 acres of trees, monuments, gardens and historical structures. What better way to spend a brisk fall day than admiring the Ivy Chapel, built in 1890, that reflects 13th Ecclesiastical Gothic architecture? Or how about touring the Fairmount Mausoleum,  home to the largest private collection of stained glass in the city of Denver and one of the largest in the state? Or maybe tour the carefully crafted graves and mausoleums that hold the movers and shakers that made the metro area what it is today?

Get lost at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farm’s Corn Maze

Through Nov. 1 at the Denver Botanic Garden Chatfield Farm, 8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road. Times vary, visit botanicgardens.org.   

For anyone who has seen “The Shining,” don’t worry. This corn maze is kid-friendly, and also friendly to adults who are looking for fall activities that don’t involve a fright. Wind your way through eight acres of  corn to help Farmer Green find his lost animals. Life-size animal cutouts are hidden throughout the maze for fun photo opportunities. The maze can be viewed from two 15-foot tall illuminated bridge as well. Visitors under 10 years old can also explore the mini-maze. Tickets include a hayride and unlimited jumping on a giant pillow. Pony and train rides are available for an additional fee. And of course, there’s lots of nosh for fall foodies such as funnel cakes, hot dogs, freshly squeezed lemonade and kettle corn.

Mac Miller and Action Bronson at Red Rocks

Doors at 5:30 p.m. opening acts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, tickets start at $45

How can it be that Red Rocks has never had a Halloween show before 2015? It’s a mystery for the ages, but there’s no mystery in terms of knowing that fans of foodie-rapper Bronson and the rest of the bill — including Flatbush Zombies, Domo Genesis and Tory Lanez — will need to be ready for any kind of weather for the show. So the more layers you can manage on your Halloween costume, the better.

Mile High Horror Film Festival

Individual tickets available in September at www.milehighhorrorfestival.com, Oct. 1-4 at Alamo Drafthouse Littleton, 7301 S. Santa Fe Drive

Partnered with esteemed genre publication Fangoria, the MHHFF has stepped up its range of offerings with a 30th anniversary VHS screening of “The Return of the Living Dead” with a live Q&A with scream queen Linnea Quigley, a tribute to Lon Chaney with a screening of “The Phantom of the Opera,” and a number of panels involving Colorado horror filmmakers and top LGBT talent in the horror genre.