Halloween happenings take over Highlands Ranch

Attractions include haunted forest, pumpkin patches, more

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Haunted hayrides, a haunted forest, scary movies in the middle of the woods, trick or treating, a spooktacular dance and pumpkin patches — yup, it’s that time again.

With two weeks until Halloween casts its magical spell on Highlands Ranch, there is plenty to do to get into the spirit beforehand.

The Highlands Ranch Community Association continues to add program for its residents and friends while bringing back some of the favorites, such as the Haunted Forest, which Backcountry Wilderness Area Supervisor Mark Giebel said just gets bigger and better by the year and will feature some new scary elements in 2013.

“Along with our third year of the Haunted Forest, we are also offering a family movie night and scary movie night on a portable screen in the woods,” Giebel said, adding that moviegoers get to take a short, horse-drawn hayride to the secluded movie site.

The Haunted Forest is from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26, and will depart from the parking lot of Rocky Heights Middle School, 11033 Monarch Blvd. in Highlands Ranch. Tickets are $8 in advance and $12 at the gates of the forest.

Those same nights, families will also have the opportunity to climb aboard a haunted hayride at Plum Creek Stables, 7479 W. Titan Road, as professional story-tellers narrate and six-gun-carrying cowboys and Indians battle it out around the bend. Half-hour ides take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25 and 6 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 26.

If you want to take a spooky ride through the backcountry to catch a film, hayrides will shuttle guests from the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Center off Santa Fe Boulevard to the site of the screen in the woods at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29. The first night will be a family night, featuring Disney’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” while the second night the feature will be “The Village.” Both nights will include marshmallow roasting and s’mores after the movie.

For the younger kids, Monsters, Monsters Everywhere is a chance to dress in costume and make fun monster crafts from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Southridge Recreation Center, 4800 McArthur Ranch Road. This event is for ages 2½ to 5.

Spooky Animals, a special Highlands Ranch Metro District Parks and Recreation Program, is geared for ages 3-5 and will take place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 25 at 3280 Redstone Park Circle. To learn about the area’s owls, snakes and coyotes, visit www.highlandsranch.org to register.

Trick-or-Treat Street, for ages 12 and younger, will take over Eastridge, 9568 University Blvd, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Oct. 26. The cost is $1 and the line closes at 1:15 p.m. Each trick-or-treater also gets to pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.

Speaking of pumpkin patches, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 8817 S. Broadway, has pumpkins, ranging from 50 cents to $80, for sale from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the weekends through Oct. 31. All pumpkin sales benefit the church’s youth missions, which this year are solely focused on helping Coloradans affected by the numerous disasters that have struck.

Feel like dancing? The Halloween Spooktacular Dance benefits the HRCA’s Therapeutic Recreation Program and gives party-goers ages 16 and older the chance to don a costume and dance from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25. An RSVP is required by Oct. 19.

For more information on the variety of the HRCA’s Halloween events or to register for any of them, please visit www.hrcaonline.org. Make sure to register in advance, as many of the programs are starting to fill up.