Victorian horrors, giant spiders, a Witch Fest and more things to do in Denver this week

Eight legs, one pavilion

Friday. Westminster’s jewel of a zoo, the invertebrate-focused Butterfly Pavilion, is reopening its seasonally appropriate Spider Pavilion on Friday, Oct. 15. The Spider Pavilion joins the Bug-A-Boo indoor Trick-or-Treating (Oct. 22-23) for kids and spooky evening flashlight tours (Oct. 22-23, and 29-30) as part of the Halloween programming this month.

Still, the Spider Pavilion is the “comeback hit,” staffers said, which isn’t surprising considering that one of Butterfly Pavilion’s biggest year-round attractions is the hairy-legged cutie Rosie the Tarantula. Starting this weekend through Oct. 31, visitors can enter the exotic enclosure full of orb-weaving spiders, inside the Wings of the Tropics exhibit. No reservations are required, and access is included with general admission. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at 6252 W. 104th Ave. in Westminster. Timed GA tickets are $9-$13. — John Wenzel

Be afraid. Very afraid.

Through Oct. 31. With hayrides and corn mazes in full swing, hardcore Halloween fans have begun flocking to haunted houses. As The Denver Post’s Tiney Ricciardi wrote in her roundup, “If you’re looking for a spooky experience without having to hike through a mountain ghost town this fall, hair-raising scares await” in Denver (see her full list at

Victorian Horrors, a ghost-story focused scarefest at Capitol Hill’s historic Molly Brown House Museum, features actors reading classic horror tales such as “Frankenstein” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” New this year are two sign language presentations, Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22, for people with hearing impairments. Various times through Oct. 30 — with tickets are going fast. 

Also raising hairs this month: Its larger Fright Fest is already underway, but you have only a few days to get ready for Elitch Gardens’ first Witch Fest. Unlike most Halloween depictions of witches, this event honors their diverse pagan spiritual roots with live rituals, tarot readings and magic displays. “Every attendee will have an opportunity to honor their ancestors by participating in rituals honoring their lineage,” organizers at Moon Temple Mystery School wrote. Meanwhile, vendors, readers and priestesses from across the U.S. will be there to greet visitors. 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, at — John Wenzel

Polishing your sweet tooth — with beer

Saturday. Aurora’s Dry Dock Brewing Co. is celebrating its sweet 16th anniversary this weekend, with an emphasis on “sweet.” In addition to a stellar lineup of specialty beers, the brewery will serve desserts to pair them with, such as German pastries to go with German lagers and peanut butter cookies to go with porters and stouts.

Desserts come courtesy of local bakery Tickleberry and pastry chef Stacy Becker. Other attractions include a boardwalk-style arcade, lawn games, food trucks, live music from rock band Boot Gun, and a sneak preview of Dry Dock’s forthcoming line of cocktail-inspired beverages. The party runs 1-6 p.m. at Dry Dock Brewing Co.’s North Dock, 2801 Tower Road in Aurora. $40 in advance, $50 at the door; 303-400-5606. — Tiney Ricciardi

Ars Nova serves up performance two ways

Friday-Saturday. As one of the region’s finest performing arts ensembles, Boulder’s Ars Nova Singers a cappella group will make its triumphant return to the stage with shows Friday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 16. Both performances start at 7:30 p.m., with the Oct. 15 shows at St. Paul Community of Faith (1600 Grant St.) and the Oct. 16 show at First United Methodist Church (1421 Spruce St. in Boulder).

The one-hour program, “Made Perfect,” is centered around Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s “Missa Brevis,” alongside several of Palestrina’s motets and late British composer John Tavener’s “For the Fallen.” Attendees can choose between in-person performances or a livestreamed version of the Oct. 15 event. $25 each for in-person performances and the single livestream show. — John Wenzel

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