Halloween events in Routt County: Witches Night Out moves to Stagecoach Reservoir | SteamboatToday.com
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Halloween events in Routt County: Witches Night Out moves to Stagecoach Reservoir

Witches Night Out has been a three-decade tradition in Steamboat Springs. This year, with COVID-19, the event won’t go on as usual, but will instead, become a paddleboarding event at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31 at Stagecoach Reservoir.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Every year, on the darkest evening ahead of All Hallows’ Eve, witches make their way to the center of Steamboat Springs to gather and combine their magic to brew a wicked stew in a cauldron and drink to gain mighty power over everyone around them.

OK, that’s not entirely true.

However, for 30 years now, women have gathered in witch costumes to celebrate the magic of sisterhood. They circle around a warm fire at Aurum Food & Wine, dubbed ‘the cauldron,’ while eating and drinking and celebrating the strength of women in Steamboat.

“It’s fun. It’s community,” said Witches Night Out regular Jennie Lay. “It’s a completely grassroots, community-driven experience that is really just beloved.”

Of course, with the pandemic and stricter gathering rules, the event can’t go on in its usual fashion, so Lay found a new way for Steamboat sisters to celebrate the event in a more socially distanced fashion: on the water.

Lay was inspired by a group of witches who paddleboarded on a Portland, Oregon, waterway. Lay called out to the local coven via social media to gather at 10 a.m. Saturday at Stagecoach Reservoir for a group paddleboard launch.

It may be fall in Colorado, but Saturday is scheduled to be a balmy 47 degrees, so transfigure your paddles into brooms and stir the potion that is Stagecoach.



The event is legendary in a way that its origins are a bit hazy. According to a 2017 Steamboat Pilot story, sometime in the 1990s, a group of friends, including Marilyn McCaulley, Carolyn Arithson, Karen Bomberg, Karin Comeau, Teri Helm, Tibby Speare, Susan Solomon and Karen Van Patten, started Witches Night Out. The event has since grown to bring more than 100 women in pointy hats to one spot.

The only thing cuter than a pet, is a pet in costume. Nothing beats a dog in a tutu or a chicken in a cowboy hat or a horse in a wig. Lovers of Halloween and adorable things can potentially spot all of the above at the Pet Parade in Oak Creek at 10 a.m. Saturday on Main Street.

Sponsored by the Oak Creek Labor Day Committee, the parade usually takes place on Labor Day during the town’s festivities.

“We wanted to do something fun for the kids, well, the adults too,” said Charli Hollingshead, owner of the Railtown Gallery in Oak Creek. “Something fun to get dressed up. I’m happy it’s going to be nice out.”

Participants can enter into the contest for $2 and win in categories such as scariest, cutest and most unique. Contest proceeds will benefit the Routt County Humane Society, which will be on site for a $15 vaccination clinic. The clinic will either be at Railtown Gallery or the park right on Main Street.

Kirra Schwartz draws a design on a pumpkin at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs on Thursday . Thanks to sponsors and gifted pumpkins, Boys &Girls Club members are able to participate in Opera Steamboat’s carving contest at no cost.

Opera Steamboat, partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs, is giving people a chance to win prizes for the most artistic jack-o’-lanterns. Ideally, the contest will spur family time and creativity while raising money for Opera Steamboat.

“With the snowfall, it seems like people aren’t as into Halloween as in the past,” said Deirdre Shattuck, Opera Steamboat office administrator. “Hopefully, this sparks some excitement.”

To participate, carvers can register at operasteamboat.org/pumpkin-carving-contest. It’s $10 for one pumpkin or $15 for two pumpkin submissions.

Upon completing the jack-o’-lantern, participants can email their pumpkin photos to pumpkin@operasteamboat.org. Carvers must have a thumb’s up in their photo, to ensure authenticity. The deadline is noon Saturday.

The Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado was gifted pumpkins and a sponsor covered entry costs for 50 pumpkins for club members.

Three judges — artist and master painter Sue Oehme, Steamboat Pilot & Today Multimedia Marketing Manager Nate Lee and Opera Steamboat General Artistic Director Andres Cladera — will determine the top-three pumpkins. The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Rex’s Family of Restaurants and a $15 gift card and candy bag from Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory.

All 18 rescue horses at Routt County Horse Rescue off of Routt County Road 179 will dress up in costumes and greet visiting families and children, who are invited to wear costumes as well.

Starting at 4 p.m., visitors can trick or treat from barrel to barrel and offer some treats to the horses.


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