September 17, 2021 | LIFE | By Abby Mercier | Illustration by Kira Schulist

Halloween is America’s third favorite holiday, behind Christmas and Thanksgiving; but in my heart, spooky season is always number one! I mean, what’s not to love — there are costumes, fun drinks and baked goods, a surplus of candy, pumpkins, and haunted houses. 

Lucky for us, Colorado Springs has many of the above activities to offer to its fellow Halloween lovers. 

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, an 18-minute drive from campus, serves as a dark trick or treating venue for families. As a very age appropriate activity, you’re certain to see many toddlers waddling around in their superhero and princess costumes. 

But if you’re more into the scream and VERY scary vibes, the Haunted Mines might be the place for you. This haunted house offers various levels of creepy, so pick your poison! Notably, this organization puts an emphasis on community engagement; thus, it is the top choice for haunted houses in the area.

Another more unique Halloween activity includes taking the Oktoberfest train through the Royal Gorge for a day. The company offers lunch, afternoon, or dinner rides for a fairly high price ($90), so it may need to be a special occasion. However, the ride offers beer and of course traditional German foods. 

One of my favorite parts of Halloween is the pumpkins; I love the search for the perfect gourd and choosing an appropriate stencil. Although, I’ve got to say, I really dislike pulling out the guts! 

There are a number of local pumpkin patches, but the closest are the Longneck Pumpkin Farm and the Miners’ Pumpkin Patch: 9.3 and 12.1 miles away from campus, respectively. Longneck Pumpkin Farm offers beautiful pumpkins, hayrides, duck races, and many other activities that you can sign up for. Due to COVID-19, they are having people sign up for one of three sessions, Friday through Sunday. 

As for Miners’ Pumpkin Patch, pumpkin picking is offered over the four Saturdays in October. But if you’re itching to kickstart your spooky season, consider attending the Harvest Festival: here there will be live music, a petting zoo, gold panning, and other fun activities. The Harvest Festival occurs on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 and it costs $12 to enter!

If you’re looking for a cozy night in, light a pumpkin vanilla candle, grab a fuzzy blanket and turn on your favorite Halloween throwback. Personally, I highly recommend the first “HalloweenTown” movie. I mean, admit it —  didn’t you get a little bit sad when you didn’t become a witch on your 13th birthday? 

My sweet tooth also loves Halloween. Yes, obviously, the candy is fantastic, but the baked goods around this time of year may take the cake (pun intended)! When searching for some recipes, I came across a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe. For the full version, go to, but here are the Cliffnotes:

For the crust:

  • Gingersnaps (crushed)
  • Butter
  • Sugar

            For the filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 blocks cream cheese
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon/nutmeg/salt

And voilá, you have a delicious and refreshing Halloween cake!

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