A frightfully fun haunted hotel memory

I was doing a write-up last week on Denver’s haunted hotels and happened upon our fun frightmare at the Curtis Hotel back in 2013. Shamefully, I never blogged about it here so thought I’d republish. Enjoy!

After a while, Halloween memories start to blur together. Dress up, trick-or-treat, gorge on candy. Lather, rinse, repeat. But last weekend, my family experienced a Halloween event we will never forget. We attended the Nightmare on Curtis Street at the Curtis – A DoubleTree by Hilton. Each year during the month of October, the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado transforms its 13th floor into a haunted house for a most memorable Halloween.

Curtis – A Doubletree Hotel

This family-friendly, pop-culture hotel is dedicated to all things quirky. Case in point: last summer’s pop-up, inflatable room that rose 22 feet in the air.

The hallway of each of the 16 floors boasts a different theme, like One-hit Wonders, Big Hair, and Dance. The playful lobby hosts impromptu hula hoop contests and offers board games for check-out as well as a small book-filled library.

The 13th floor’s theme is Horror. I’m not the ghost-hunting type and at ages 7 and 9, neither are my kids. I’d think twice about staying somewhere that claimed to be legitimately haunted but I took a gamble that my family would love Nightmare on Curtis Street.

Eerie elevator operator at the Curtis Hotel's Nightmare on Curtis Street

The 13th Floor

Upon check-in in the late afternoon, the 13th floor’s transformation was already underway. We walked through hallways dripping in cobwebs and filled with creepy decorations. A fidgeting fake rat was caught in trap while a macabre black cat plotted his next move. An unearthly motorized Carol Anne from Poltergeist alternately stared at us and a television. Redrum “murder” was scrawled on our bathroom mirror and our sink was teaming with plastic spiders. The kids were curious but not overly freaked out.

After dinner in the nearby Larimer Square, one of Denver’s hippest and most delicious areas, the sun had set and we were ready to continue our spooky staycation. At the Curtis we found a cadaverous woman guarding the lobby elevator. “This elevator is only going to the 13th floor,” she announced.

Nightmare on Curtis Street at the Curtis Hotel in Denver, Colorado

We timidly boarded. When the blood-lined elevator doors opened, the 13th floor had come to life; or had converted to the death zone. A sinister-looking lady was serving treats and shots…in the head. Ghoulish characters roamed the hallway but none were more unsettling than a perma-grin clown and two ghostly little girls. We interacted with them all and squealed as we dodged around the cobwebs, finding refuge in our hotel room.

“I’ll give each of you a dollar if you run to the end of the hall all by yourself,” my husband announced to the kids. My daughter, Hadley, was the courageous first, reluctantly followed by her little brother, Bode. They quickly realized it was all in great fun and this was the impetus to a hilarious night.

Our hotel neighbors got into the spirit of the event too. At one point, I heard a man recoil in fear as he screamed, “Someone is coming out of the room. It’s so hideous!”

It was cherubic-cheeked Bode.

Then, there was a knock on our hotel room door.

Creepy playdate at Nightmare on Curtis Street

Creepy play date at Nightmare on Curtis Street

When my daughter opened the door she found a strange character had stopped by, perhaps for a play date from hell.

When the kids returned from their haunted hallway adventure, Hadley cried, “Dad, why didn’t you open the door? Couldn’t you hear us screaming?”

My husband just grinned, relishing it all and said, “Yup.”

And then there was The Clown.

Creepy clown at the Curtis Hotel's haunted Halloween event

This won’t give him nightmares, right?

Murder Mystery Solved

To wind down, we headed to the lobby to check out Clue, the murder mystery deduction game. The kids had never played before and they loved trying to solve the mystery of who done it, with what, and where, as their game pieces moved from room to room in the board game’s mansion.

Our findings? It was the Clown. With the revolver. At the Curtis Hotel‘s Nightmare on Curtis Street.


Side note: The next day at church, Bode was coloring as usual. What wasn’t usual was when he later handed me his artwork…and it was all black squiggles with the repeated phrase “I’M NOT SAFE.”

The good news is he didn’t need therapy.

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