Halloween in Aspen is more than a minor holiday. It is a way of life. When I first moved to town, I was fresh out of college, and I figured I’d get dressed up for a night on the town. I had no idea that literally every person in the city would be out and about in the most outlandish and impressive costumes I had ever seen.

In subsequent years I upped my costume game; the best was when a group of friends decided that we were going to win Belly Up Aspen’s annual costume contest. We custom ordered cheerleader uniforms (complete with bows, pom poms, and male cheerleaders) and though we competed in the contest, we didn’t win. The competition is that tough year after year. This year’s grand prize is $500 in cash AND $500 in Belly Up tickets. The Belly Up crew has clearly incentived its guests to put some thought and effort into over the top and creative costumes.

Belly Up Extravaganza

This year’s Belly Up extravaganza features local favorites “The Spazmatics.” If you’re not familiar with the band, their tagline should tell you all you need to know; they’re a “Nerdcore 80s Band.” The band members will be dressed in their nerdy best, you will swear that they are straight out of the 1984 classic “Revenge of the Nerds.” Their playlist is anything but dorky. The tunes performed with choreographed dance moves and serious enthusiasm will include all of your favorite 80s classics. My biggest piece of advice: even if they don’t compliment your costume, wear your dancing shoes.

Pumpkin Beer

Before Belly Up, you should swing by Hops Culture. One of my favorite local restaurants, Hops has 30 rotating drafts on tap, and over 200 bottled beers to choose from. This time of year, it’s all about the pumpkin flavored and imported European Oktoberfest selections, but Hops also has a variety of ciders if beer isn’t your thing. It’s also worth noting that they have beer specials and half priced wings during all Broncos games this fall.

For One Night Only

To close out the evening, make sure to make a stop at The Caribou Club. The ‘Bou is Aspen’s most storied and exclusive private club, and it is open to the public just one night a year. All you need to get in the door is a costume, and you can check out the club’s carefully curated interiors and wild dance floor.

Kid-friendly

If you’re looking for kid-friendly Halloween activities, your best bet is heading to the North 40 neighborhood, located across Highway 82 from the Aspen Airport. The North 40 is a cluster of homes, all of which are owned by full time locals. The folks in that neighborhood go all out for Halloween, including extravagant decorations and treats to gift the masses. Some houses even stock special treats for those accompanying little ones… so be on the lookout for Jello shots and spiked cider.

The Limelight Hotel’s Lounge will also be open until 10 PM where you can get s’mores and pizza and relax by the cozy fireplace after trick or treating.