14 free or cheap things to do in Denver this month, from trick-or-treat to $5 scary movies

Fright night

Get ready to squirm and scream in a darkened theater. Celebrate the spookiest time of the year with Harkins Theatres’ October Fright Nights. All month long, experience horror classics on the big screen (again) every Friday and Saturday at Harkins Theatres in Arvada. Even better, ticket prices have been slashed for fans on a budget, to just $5 each. Here’s what’s on the scary schedule: Oct. 8 and 9, “The Frighteners”; Oct. 15 and 16, “The Shining”; Oct. 22 and 23, “Halloween”; and Oct. 29 and 30, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” There are two showtimes each night and vary by date. All of the films are rated R, so it’s probably best to leave the “little monsters” at home. harkins.com/fright-nights

Tinseltown Tuesday

If you love independent films and documentaries, Landmark Theatres is your go-to place for a Denver date night. Every Tuesday, tickets are now just $7 each at all locations, including Chez Artiste, Esquire, Greenwood Village and Mayan. (Which also means that all locations are now open for business.) For evening showtimes, it’s a savings of $5, more than 40 percent off. (Note: Greenwood Village no longer offers complimentary popcorn and soda with each ticket purchase.) landmarktheatres.com/denver

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Watch Noah Fant (87) of the Denver Broncos for a great deal this season. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

Touchdown extra

This season, King Soopers and Pepsi are giving Broncos fans another reason to cheer on our home team. Through Dec. 31, when tight end Noah Fant scores a touchdown, King Soopers customers score a free six-pack of Pepsi (7.5-oz cans.) The regular price pack is $3.99, so it’s a deal that’s definitely worth tackling. Customers must first download the digital coupon (under “beverages”) to their shopper’s loyalty account. The offer will become available 24 hours after Fant scores the touchdown and remain valid for 48 hours. The freebie is only available while supplies last. kingsoopers.com

Gratitude grub

Illegal Pete’s is thanking some of our community heroes with its popular fare, including those large Mission-style burritos. Educators and health care workers can enjoy a buy-one-get-one-free deal on all entrées at any Pete’s location for the remainder of 2021. For educators, the special is available on the first Monday of the month, so mark your calendars for Oct. 4, Nov. 1 and Dec. 6. For health care workers, the tasty deal is available on the third Monday of the month (Oct. 18, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20). Just show a proper work ID at checkout to get the discount. illegalpetes.com/special-things

Tacos, tacos, tacos

Get some taco deals on National Taco Day. (Courtesy America’s Test Kitchen)

It’s crunch time for taco lovers! National Taco Day is on Oct. 4, so prepare for salsa and savings. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is celebrating with select tacos for only $1.50 each, all day. And Chuy’s is letting customers add a crispy or soft ground beef taco to any dine-in entrée for just $1. In addition, the chain is offering Tequila Floaters for $1 to top your favorite margarita with an extra pour of tequila. Finally, Del Taco is dishing up a free Stuffed Quesadilla Taco with any purchase via its app only. Look for more possible deals and giveaways at local taco shops. fuzzystacoshop.com; chuys.com/news/post/national-taco-day2; deltaco.com/tendaysofdeals

Free fall

Autumn may be colorful, but it also means those leaves are piling up. Denver’s annual LeafDrop is here, with weekday drop-off sites open from Oct. 4 through Dec. 5, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Weekend sites are open from Oct. 30 to Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Leaves collected through the program will be turned into high-quality compost and sold to residents next May. The collection service is free, but only open to Denver residents. Instead of plastic bags, paper is preferred because they can also be composted. As an added bonus, there’s a coupon on the site for a free five-pack of 30-gallon paper leaf bags at Denver Ace Hardware stores. Leaves cannot be dropped off at the sites, except for specified dates and times. By the way, pumpkins are accepted for composting, too. For a full review of the drop-off schedule and requirements, go to denvergov.org/LeafDrop.

Straw games

Visitors cast their votes for their ...

Denver Post file photo

Visitors cast their votes for their favorite contestants during Olde Town Arvada’s annual Scarecrow Festival. (City of Arvada Festivals Commission)

Arvada will showcase scarecrows of all shapes, sizes and designs at its annual Festival of Scarecrows on Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Arvada Olde Town Square. Admission is free. The family-friendly fun features a scarecrow contest, a cone maze, complimentary hayrides, and food and vendor booths. At 11 a.m. and noon, tiny ghosts and goblins march in the Costumed Kids’ Parade around Town Square. Plus, the Great Pumpkin Contest starts its weigh-in at 1:30 p.m. Pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks will be available for sale. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate for free entry to the cone maze. ralstonhouse.org/festival-of-scarecrows

Scary movie

Aspen Grove is giving families the opportunity to get dressed up for a little not-so-spooky fun with its Monster Movie Night, in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, on Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Enjoy live music, a beer garden, a costume contest and an outdoor screening of “Beetlejuice.” At 7 p.m., organizers will call up their favorite costumed characters from the crowd and award prizes from Aspen Grove retailers before the movie starts. If you want to add more fun to the night, head to The Thinkery for refreshments and glow-in-the-dark slime making before the movie. The slime-making costs $10 per child; pre-registration is required. aspengrovecenter.com/event/monster-movie-night

Wild time

The Denver Zoo is giving back to the community with complimentary admission during Share The Love Days. Tickets are available only through an online giveaway. The next free day is Oct. 21, with the coinciding ticket lottery available Oct. 11-13. You can register for up to five tickets. (Limit one entry per person, per free day.) At the end of the lottery period, winners will be randomly selected. If you’re one of the “lucky llamas” picked, use your vouchers to reserve timed tickets for Oct. 21. All visitors must have a timed ticket for entry, including children 2 and under. Currently, the zoo is open at 10 a.m. daily with the closing time varying by day. denverzoo.org/free-days

Monster mash

McGregor Square (1901 Wazee St.) in Denver becomes Mcgregor Scare for two weekends full of spooky shenanigans. Admission is free. Oct. 22-24, there will be music, face painting, pumpkin decorating, Halloween-themed games, a tarot card reader and more. Plus, on Oct. 22 and 23, families can watch “Coco” and “Monster House,” respectively, on the jumbo screen at 7 p.m. The next weekend, Oct. 29-31, there will be costume contests, a photo booth, yard games and more. Kids will enjoy a Trick-Or-Treat Street on Oct. 30. Plus, on Oct. 30 and 31, there will be showings of “Hocus Pocus” and “Monster House,” respectively. For grownups, there is a Silent Disco on Oct. 30 from 6 to 11 p.m.; tickets are $30. Activities and times vary by day, so review the schedule at mcgregorsquare.com/event-activations.

Trick-or-treat

Aurora’s Treat Street features community partners coming together in a safe environment to celebrate Halloween. The fun takes place Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arapahoe County “Scaregrounds” (25690 E Quincy Ave.)  Kids of all ages are encouraged to don their favorite costume and head down Treat Street. There will be games and activities, a petting farm, live entertainment, a Thriller dance performance, costume contest, food trucks and more. Tickets are $5 per person, and kids under 2 years old are free. Wear your Halloween costume for free entry. arapahoecountyfair.com/p/events/treatstreet

Ghost town

Castle Rock will celebrate all things not-so-spooky at its Spooktacular 2021 on Oct. 23 at Philip S. Miller Park (1375 W. Plum Creek Parkway). Family-friendly costumes are encouraged. Activities include games, prizes, food and, of course, candy. The event will be held outdoors, so dress accordingly. To keep the fun manageable, there’s a schedule for attendees: 1-2 p.m. for sensory-friendly activities; 2-3 p.m., for those with last names starting with A to L; and 3-4 p.m. for last names starting with L to Z. (Organizers are also looking for volunteers to run the games and activities.) crgov.com/2453/Spooktacular

Buckle up

The Sawaya Law Firm is again sponsoring free cab, Uber or Lyft rides for Halloween from Oct. 29 to 31. Just get a safe ride home and keep your receipt. For reimbursement (up to $35), send your receipt, along with a copy of a valid ID, to: Free Cab Ride Program, The Sawaya Law Firm, 1600 Ogden St., Denver, CO 80218. You can also submit your request online at cab@ sawayalaw.com. You must be 21 or older to participate. The deal is only valid for a one-way ride home within the Denver metro area. For questions about the community program, send an e-mail to cab@sawayalaw.com. sawayalaw.com/cab-program

Costume party

If you’re looking for an inexpensive or last-minute Halloween outfit, the best stop is at any of Denver’s many thrift stores. There are lots of options on the racks at bargain prices. To save even more, review each store’s sales and specials. Many offer bigger discounts on select days of the week or for certain tagged items. Some even offer 50 percent off on select days or special savings for seniors. Plus, sign up for the store’s loyalty program or e-updates for exclusive discounts and coupons. And be sure to check their social media accounts regularly for flash sales or secret specials. milehighonthecheap.com/denver-area-thrift-and-consignment-stores

Every month, Laura Daily and Bryan K. Chavez at MileHighOnTheCheap.com compile “Cheap Checklist” to help smart shoppers find freebies, discounts and deals. Send tips to info@milehighonthecheap.com 14 to 21 days in advance and find more freebies, discounts and deals at MileHighOnTheCheap.com.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news sent straight to your inbox.