christy fantz
Christy Fantz

F amily by day. Fright by night.

Sounds like a day in the life of a regular old American family.

We're special.

Actually, said tagline means it's time for Elitch Gardens Fright Fest. The annual Halloween shindig takes place on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 28.

For the newbies: No, Elitch Gardens is not a whitehair conglomeration of bridge, bingo and shuffleboard with denture cream -- it's an amusement park in downtown Denver.

This month, the park turns into a family-friendly costumed-kid fest during the day and a bloody massacre at night for adults.

Well, maybe not quite a massacre, but the park has crafted two haunted houses along with some other crazy Halloween shit.

For instance:

Remember that Florida dude who collapsed and died after winning a cockroach-eating contest last week?

I'll refresh you: Edward Archbold, 32, inhaled dozens of roaches and worms to win an $850 python at a Deerfield Beach reptile store.

He then collapsed and died outside the store minutes later. No one else who chugged bugs were harmed -- an autopsy won't come for weeks.

Sad. But, come on, people. What the shit is wrong with you?

Anyway, now you can eat bugs! The Wheel of Misfortune at Elitch will have two guests spin the wheel and will have to eat whatever insect the wheel lands on -- grasshoppers, cockroaches, mealworms.

Mealworm? Gross. It's the larval form of the mealworm beetle. Gross!


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Eat Ding Dongs, ya dingdongs. Or foam, whatever. Don't eat larvae.

Anyway, winner gets two front-of-line passes to the haunted house of choice (Elich haunted houses cost extra cash from admission).

Oh ant the Wheel of Misfortune loser gets nothing.

Or maybe a stomach full of roach shit.

This is grossing me out. Next...

Other attractions at Fright Fest:

Blood Bath: In this old warehouse full of corridors and mazes, guests will be subject to spraying and exploding blood throughout the journey. Yum.

The Suffering: Check out this serial killer's hidden lair, where you are the target, dear sweets. Take a spin through a labyrinth of torture rooms where you'll run into his living victims begging for help. Watch out for that crazy bastard with a demented face. He's after you.

Rides: All rides are open with a full park pass purchase.

Costume it up, too, homies. However, the park does have a strict costume policy. The park employees will be in costume, as well as hired actors. In order for Elich to recognize their breed, no face masks or face paint is allowed in the park. Wigs are permitted, but weapons -- real or plastic -- are not.

Info: Through Oct. 28 -- Fridays 5-10 p.m., Saturdays noon-10 p.m., Sundays noon-9 p.m.; Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Cir., Denver; 303-595-4386; $8-$49