Keep Manitou Weird: The Strangest Haunts, Hideouts and Happenings

Published: August 26, 2021

"Weird" doesn't even come close

If you’ve visited our quaint, little mountain town—you know the “unexpected” is, well, just expected in Manitou. On an average day in Manitou Springs, you could:

Toss fruitcakes competitively in the park

How do you get rid of all of that post-holiday fruitcake? Toss it, of course!

Gather round the drum circle

Meet up every Thursday with local drummers, dancers and hoopers—hula, that is.

Race a coffin down manitou avenue

Little known fact: the fastest mode of transportation is actually a coffin.

The first, unintentional coffin race in 1929—Emma Crawford's coffin came plunging down the mountainside after one too many spring rains.
In 1995, the Emma Crawford Coffin Races took their inaugural run—kicking off a celebrated, yearly tradition in Manitou Springs.

The coffins will race again: While this truly spooky global pandemic has put the brakes on this year's Emma Crawford Coffin Races—have no fear! We plan to race again, next year.

Where to get your haunt on
in Manitou Springs

Manitou knows how to do spooky. Locals and visitors young and old—alive and, not so alive—come together to celebrate a season of truly peculiar events, tours, and traditions of Manitou, past and present. While Manitou Avenue won’t be overrun with coffin racers this year, there’s still so many haunts and hideouts to explore. 

Skeleton Craze

When: October 1-24th
During the month of October, Manitou Springs storefronts are transformed into truly spooktacular window displays—all vying for the coveted Best of Bones bragging rights. Vote for the best skeleton displays in town. Winners will be announced on October 28th!

Ghost Stories of Old Manitou – Walking Tours

When: Weekends in October
Led by a Spirit Guide— these 45-minute ghost tours guide brave souls, like yourself, through long-lost stories of infamous Manitou residents. Presented by the Manitou Springs Heritage Center and our friends at THEATREdART, experience Manitou like you’ve never seen it before.

Ghost hunting in Manitou: Many locals believe Emma Crawford still haunts Red Mountain to this day. Trails along the side of the mountain lead to her original burial site. She was eventually laid to rest in Crystal Valley Cemetery in an unmarked grave. In 2004, she was granted an official grave site to honor her life.

Boo at the Zoo

When: October 16-17, 23-24, 29-31
It’s all treats and no tricks at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo! Your littlest ghouls and goblins will collect candy and participate in Halloween festivities alongside giraffes, lions, elephants, and more.

Halloween High Tea

When: October 29th, 30th, and 31st
This posh, four-course tea service just got a bit more peculiar. Take high tea in the Queen’s Parlour Room at Miramont Castle, a 30-room masterpiece of eclectic architecture dating back to 1895. Rumor has it that Emma Crawford’s ghost is known to still wander the halls.

Haunted Lantern Tour

When: Daily
This Halloween, explore the mysterious Manitou Grand Caverns at Cave of the Winds by candlelight on a 90-minute guided tour through dark, narrow tunnels and along low passageways. Hear the frightening folklore, scary ghost stories, and unexplained sightings of the Manitou Grands.

Creep it real in Manitou

Even though we’re mourning the 2021 Coffin Races rather than mourning at her wake—there are so many tricks or treats to experience in Manitou Springs this season. However you celebrate the Halloween season, we’re here for the boos.

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