The Shining Ball
The Shining Ball at the Stanley Hotel. Courtesy Photo.

Unique Date Ideas: Spooky Dates


Zombies and fake blood might not sound like the setting for a perfect date night but think again. A spooky date can be romantic, too. Your adrenaline is pumping. You grab onto your partner tightly. There’s squealing. Maybe a bit of screaming. Heaving breathing. Heart racing. Inevitably some laughter, too.

This fall, plan a spooky date night out with your special monster. Here are some inspirations:

Locked Doors and Booze

An escape room is a thrilling date night adventure that’s a little more suspenseful than scary. In an escape room, you are locked in a room filled with hidden clues. No technology, no phones. The clock starts ticking and your goal is to figure out how to get out of the room before 60 minutes is up. It’s a puzzle that you are a part of, and it demands teamwork, communication and creative thinking.

Boulder’s Enigma Escape Room is located two floors below the Walrus Saloon, so after you solve the puzzle, head upstairs to share a drink and talk about your strategy.

Right now, Enigma’s themes are “The Psycho Killer” and “The Abduction.” Perfect for a creepy night out.

Note: A traditional escape room is done with a group of people, not just the two of you, making this ideal for a group date night out.

The Boulderado plaque. Courtesy photo

Haunted Hotel and Psychics

Stay in a (supposed) haunted hotel for an overnight date-cation with a dash of history and sophistication. The Hotel Boulderado is Boulder’s most famous hotel rumored to house spirits. See if you can book a night in room 302 or 304, which are said to be the rooms with the most paranormal activity.

Haunted or not, the Boulderado is a stunning and romantic place to stay. Make sure you book a historic Victorian room to add to the ambiance (both haunted and sexy).

While in town, book a psychic reading at the Boulder Psychic Institute. Learn about your past lives, aura, soul essence and maybe even your future. Better yet, ask about your love life. You can get a reading at the institute every Tuesday and Thursday between 7 and 8:30 p.m.

On a budget? Undergrad students perform free psychic readings throughout the week. Click here for the schedule and to book your reading. Also, ask about the discounted $30 readings by graduate students.

You can also get mini readings at the institute the third Friday of every month between 7:30-9 p.m. These 15-minute, drop-in readings cost $15.

Slasher Flicks

This scary night out is for art-lovers.  There are always new horror flicks released in October at movie theater chains, but for a more intimate and unique film experience, check out Friday Night Weird at the Dairy Arts Center. Every Friday in October, the Dairy will show a different horror film. Attend every week and experience the “evolution of horror films from German Expressionism to slasher franchises.”

The first film: what is considered the original horror movie, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” a silent film that is rarely shown. This is an opportunity to use your eyes, but not your ears.

Don’t miss the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and the “Nightmare on Elm Street,” either.

See the line-up and get your tickets here.

A corn maze (by day) at the Haunted Field of Screams. Photo by Aimee Heckel

Screams and Treats

Head outside of Boulder County for this sweet and spooky date night idea. First, stop in Thornton at the Haunted Field of Screams. This huge farm offers three different haunted attractions at one place, plus weekly free scary movies in the field. Bring a blanket or chair and sit out under the stars while you watch “Friday the 13th” on Friday the 13th, on an oversized screen in the field.

The mildest attraction at the Haunted Field of Screams is a zombie paintball hunt where you sit on a wagon that winds through the cornfield. When it comes across zombie “hives,” you and your crew shoot them with paintballs until they stop moving.

Then there’s a full-length Dead Man’s Night Maze, dotted with scary characters around random corners. You find your way through three different buildings and past dead ends of tall stalks of corn until you make your way out.

The scariest attraction is the flagship Haunted Field of Screams, which is one dark pathway through the cornfield and past all kinds of frightening scenes and characters that interact with you. Expect to leave this one running and screaming.

Spooky donuts from Voodoo Doughnuts. Courtesy photo

After you’ve worked up a sweat at the farm, head to Denver for a late-night indulgence; Voodoo Doughnuts is open 24/7. Pick up one (OK, or a big pink box) of their Halloween-themed donuts. Fall-inspired donuts vary from shop to shop and usually hit the shelves Oct. 1. In the past, Voodoo stores have carried pumpkin-cream filled donuts dusted with cinnamon sugar, ghost-shaped donuts, Friday the 13th doughnuts and even a Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Bride donut duo. Talk about romantic.

Halloween donuts from Voodoo Doughnuts. Courtesy photo

A Book Nerd’s Scary Night

Here’s a double-headed spook for the book nerd in your life.

First, on Oct. 19, visit the Boulder Book Store for an author presentation and signing of the new tarot card deck, “The Fountain of Tarot.” (Of course, tarot is not innately scary, but the mystery and anticipation of having your cards read can get that adrenaline pumping, all the same.) This book, created by Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl and Andi Todaro, claims to be a creative and fresh tarot deck with modern voices.

The Stanley Hotel. Courtesy photo

Then that weekend, head to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park for the annual Shining Ball, an elegant and haunted party at the luxurious hotel that inspired Stephen King’s novel, “The Shining.”

The Stanley does Halloween big. If you can get a room, definitely stay there (but it’s likely booked out). If you can find space on a ghost tour of the hotel, add that to your night out.

Don your best costume to the Shining Ball, which features dancing, live music, a costume contest, food and drink, all set in the supposedly haunted Concert Hall. Tickets aren’t cheap ($325 per couple) but if you have a good costume, you could win a $500 cash award and come out ahead.

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