Free and cheap things to do in Denver in October

Broncos bargains 2022

The Mile High City is always rooting for a Broncos football victory. However, there’s a little more hunger in the collective cheer of fans because of the tasty deals offered every regular season. After game day, fans can score a few deals around town. This season, there are three deals to tackle: Conoco, King Soopers and McDonald’s. The day after a game, fans can sip on a complimentary 12-ounce cup of coffee at Conoco, all day. If the Broncos win, pick up a free donut at King Soopers, the next day. (That offer requires your shopper’s loyalty card at checkout.) And, finally, when the Broncos score any points in a game, fans can head to McDonald’s the following day for a free, six-count Chicken McNuggets with a minimum purchase of $1 or more. The deal is only available via the McDonald’s app. Go, Broncos!

Noodles & Company’s October deals

Hungry bargain-hunters can find big bowls of savings this month at Noodles & Company. First, enjoy 50 percent off a regular entrée every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Then, on National Noodle Day, Oct. 6, save 20 percent on all regular-sized entrées. And, to top off your oodles of savings, the popular fast-casual restaurant is offering a free small entrée with the purchase of a regular entrée on Halloween, Oct. 31. All of the deals are only available to members of the chain’s loyalty program, Noodles Rewards. Sign up by visiting or downloading the Noodles Rewards app.

Elk Fest

Let the bugling begin as Estes Park hosts Elk Fest. As usual, the festival coincides with the annual autumn elk rut, providing the natural sight and sound spectacle created during the big game’s mating season in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. While the park charges an entrance fee or requires a National Parks Pass, admission to Elk Fest is free on Oct. 1 and 2, from 10 a.m. to about 5 p.m. each day. Festivities include bugling contests, elk exhibits, elk-inspired arts and crafts, and Native American music, dancing and storytelling. In addition, vendors will display artwork and offer distinctive elk cuisine. Alongside the bugling, live country, rock and bluegrass music will fill the air. Elk Fest is one of Estes Park’s busiest weekends, so planning ahead can help in getting to and around the downtown area.

National Taco Day

Tuesdays are for tacos! Fittingly, this year, National Taco Day falls on a Tuesday. On Oct. 4, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is serving select tacos for just $1.50, all day. Quantity limits may apply, so check first before ordering. The restaurant’s signature Baja tacos are made with your choice of protein, including shredded chicken, seasoned ground beef, shredded brisket or carnitas, as well as grilled veggies and fried avocado. The special is also available for takeout and online orders placed through the Fuzzy’s Taco Shop site or app. Plus, every order placed on Oct. 4 through the restaurant’s app will automatically be entered for a chance to win free tacos for a year.

Arvada’s Festival of Scarecrows

This year's free, family-friendly Festival of Scarecrows in Old Towne Arvada features costume and pumpkins contests, hayrides and more.
Provided by City of Arvada

This year’s free, family-friendly Festival of Scarecrows in Old Towne Arvada features costume and pumpkins contests, hayrides and more.

Arvada has been scaring up a good time for more than 25 years with its annual Festival of Scarecrows. The fall event showcases scarecrows of all shapes, sizes and designs on Oct. 8 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 hay rides, fall treats for sale, vendor booths and more. At 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. The Arvada Gardeners will also be onsite with their fresh produce for sale at the farmers market, including pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks.

Boulder’s Eat and Be Happy Pass

Diners now have a fun way to experience dining out in Boulder and enjoy some tasty perks along their culinary journey. Visit Boulder recently launched its new Eat and Be Happy Pass, a free digital passport that offers rewards and discounts. So far, there are 50 Boulder restaurants participating, including everything from hot dog eateries and local faves to the most upscale dining in town. Passport-holders can win prizes, including a monthly drawing for a $50 Boulder Downtown gift card and tumbler. However, the tastier tidbit is that select restaurants are offering discounts, including complimentary cocktails, buy-one-get-one free specials and more. The pass runs through Nov. 30.

Oroweat Bakery Outlets

The deals are rising on bread and baked goods at Oroweat Bakery Outlet. Owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA, the outlet store sells Oroweat, Entenmann’s, Sara Lee, Bimbo, Thomas’ and more. The shelves are full of everything you’d find in the grocery store’s bakery department, but up to 50 percent off. Stock up on baked goods and treats, from loaves of bread and dinner rolls to tortillas and sweet baked goods. Check out the outlet’s Deal of the Day for specials on items that are overstocked or about to expire. For maximum savings, join the store’s loyalty program by downloading its app. There are four outlets in Colorado: Commerce City (5305 E. 72nd Ave.), Denver (5050 E. Evans Ave.), Loveland (373 N. Denver Ave.) and Colorado Springs (3232 Chelton Circle).

Denver’s LeafDrop

Marge Mills bags leaves in front of her home along Sunset Street, near Sunset Circle in Longmont. Any extra leaves not needed in the landscape can be shared or taken to local leaf drops. Check with your municipality for dates and locations.
It’s the season for Denver’s annual LeafDrop, starting Oct. 10. (Denver Post file)

Autumn leaves may be colorful, but that also means lots of leaves are piling up. It’s time again for Denver’s LeafDrop. Weekday drop-off sites are open Oct. 10 through Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Weekend sites are open in November, also 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 the bags 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. Review the drop-off schedule and requirements at

BOO @ 9+CO

Get those costumes ready! Bring your “boo and babes” to BOO @ 9+CO, a family-friendly Halloween gathering on the green space at Eighth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard on Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fun includes picking a pumpkin from the patch, face painting, craft activities, trick-or-treating for candy from select 9+CO shops and more. Plus, enjoy a costume contest for kids, parents and pooches. A ticket includes one pumpkin (for all ages) and a trick-or-treat bag for kids (12 and under), as well as all food, drink and entertainment. Tickets (available online) are just $5 per person. Children under 3 are free. Best of all, 100% of ticket sales go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado.

Treat Street

Trick-or-treat! Families are in for a real treat at Treat Street. The event takes place on Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds (25690 E. Quincy Ave.) in Aurora. Wear your favorite costume for free entry (otherwise it’s $10) and enjoy lots of spooktacular family fun including games and activities, a petting farm, live entertainment and costume contests. Highlights include bounce houses, face painting, hayrides and Hallo-weenie races for dressed-up dachshunds. Of course, most important to the kiddos will be trick-or-treating booths from more than 20 local businesses and partners. Adults can enjoy some “boos” at the beer garden and food trucks will be parked onsite.

Jeffco Used Book Sale

It’s an ocean of deals at the largest book and media sale in Colorado, sponsored by the Jefferson County Library Foundation. The Fall Whale of a Used Book Sale runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 21 and 22 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 23. Held in the massive exhibit hall of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds (15200 W. Sixth Ave.) in Golden, the sale boasts thousands of gently used books from all genres, DVDs, CDs, LPs, puzzles and games. Prices range from 50 cents to $3 on most items.  Sunday is “Bag Day,” when $8 buys you as many items as will fit into a grocery-sized bag. Admission is $5 per person, with those under 18 admitted for free. If you want to lend a hand, hundreds of volunteers are needed for the massive event. Volunteers are rewarded with two free books for every four-hour shift. For more information, call 303-403-5075 or e-mail

Pop Up Grocer

Have you been in a disco fridge room? If you’re looking for a fresh shopping experience and are committed to supporting small businesses, you’ll appreciate a new grocery store popping up in Denver for just one month. Pop Up Grocer is open in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood (2645 Walnut St.) from Sept. 30 to Oct. 30. The grocery store features a selection of emerging brands from women-, LGBTQ+- and minority-owned businesses — all in a whimsical setting, including a human-sized Plinko game. Plus, 90 percent of the brands are vegan. The store will stock more than 120 brands and 300 products in food and beverage, plus home-, body- and pet-care. Shoppers can fill their carts with brands committed to sustainability, ingredient transparency and innovative flavor. Denver is the ninth city to host the unique grocery store. Pop Up Grocer is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Find out more about Halloween costumes by checking out Blossom Costumes.