Ghost Stories

8 Spooky Ways to Celebrate Halloween

With Aspen's rough-and-tumble mining history, there are more than a few skeletons in the community closet.

By Allison Pattillo October 23, 2018

Dean Weiler, who has offered historical tours in Aspen for 10 years, stands at the entrance to Ute Cemetery before a recent tour. 

Long before the rich and famous descended upon Aspen, the town was frequented by the Ute Indians and the first name given to it by the white settlers was Ute City. With bountiful wildlife, cooler summers, and a fresh water spring near what is now the base of the Silver Queen Gondola, this area was a popular summer hunting encampment for the Utes. Silver prospectors arrived in 1879 and, after finding rich veins of silver, transformed the bucolic Native American camp into a rowdy mining town, seemingly overnight. As the Utes were driven from the area, some say they cursed it, so that those who would live here after the Utes left would never be satisfied living elsewhere. So, since you're stuck here, you may as well take advantage of this time of year to hear about some of the other former and forever residents of Aspen, plus a few less scary ways to celebrate Halloween. 

DarkSide Ghost Tours
Tuesdays & Saturdays, 8 p.m., meet at Wheeler Opera House

Led by Dean Weiler of Aspen Walking Tours, this hour-long stroll through time and the streets of Aspen includes tales of the city's first bell (now located in front of the fire hall) and otherworldly happenings at the Red Onion and Hotel Jerome, where Weiler has witnessed inexplicable flashes of light, and more. He brings his passion for history and some welcome theatrics to makes this an entertaining experience for visitors and locals. Be sure to bundle up, as you'll be outside. $35 adults/$25 children,  

Redstone Castle Tours
October 26, 27, and 31 at 10:30 a.m., Redstone
Built in 1902 by robber baron, industrialist, and coal magnate John Cleveland Osgood, the castle is where some say his cigar smoke, and other apparitions, still linger. Find out for yourself on these 90-minute guided tours of the 42-room estate, which was originally used as a hunting retreat. $25 adults/$20 seniors/$10 youth,

Ute Cemetery Tours
Saturdays, 5:30 p.m., Ute Cemetery
Ute Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is tucked away on a scenic, rolling parcel of land overlooking the Roaring Fork River, near the start of the Ute Trail on Aspen's east side. You've probably walked or run by it, but if you've never wandered in (which you are welcome to do from sunrise to sunset), consider joining Dean Weiler for this special tour offered only in October. The cemetery was established in 1880 as a final resting place for those that passed away in the then-young mining town. More than 200 burial plots—some marked, some not—are scattered throughout the site. Weiler respectfully shares his historical findings amidst the sound of of rustling leaves and is always sure to end tours before sunset—not only because that's when the cemetery closes, but also because he doesn't want to encounter any of the permanent residents on an evening float through the grounds. The trail is uneven, so wear sturdy shoes. $35 adults/$25 children,  

Day of the Dead Celebration
October 29–November 2, Basalt Regional Library 
Stop in every day for special events, including making flower crowns and Day of the Dead masks, sugar skull decorating, and a showing of the movie Coco. Free,  

Spooky Storytime
October 31, 10:30 a.m., Carbondale Branch Library
Head to the library for a morning of spooky stories, creepy crafts, and treats. Costumes are encouraged, and the event will conclude with a costume parade around the library. Free,

Boo Bash
October 31, 2:30–5 p.m., Aspen Fire Station
Dress up in costume for an afternoon of games, face painting, snacks, clowns, balloon animals, and crafts. Free,

7908 "Suffer Club" Benefit
October 31, 6 p.m.–until the spirits come wandering home, 7908 
Come for food, drinks, and fun at Aspen's newest hot spot while benefitting the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department and Mountain Rescue Aspen. $250 (includes food and drinks from 6–10 p.m.)/$125 to donate a ticket to a first responder/$25 late night ticket after 10 p.m. (includes one specialty Halloween cocktail),

Halloween with the Spazmatics
October 31, 9 p.m., Belly Up Aspen
Dig out your best '80s attire or creative costumes because Aspen's favorite cover band is in town for a night of raucous celebration.  $25 GA,

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