Saturday, October 12, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Halloween at the Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel, built between 1907 & 1909, is famous for it's charm, architecture and interesting history. The Stanley might be most famous for it's inspiration of Stephen King's 1977 horror novel, "The Shining".

The story goes like this:

While King and his family were living in Boulder, CO, his wife decided that she and King needed a mini vacation.  Following advice from locals, the Kings decided on the Stanley hotel, located in Estes Park, CO. Upon arrival on October 30th, they almost weren't allowed to check in because the hotel was scheduled to close for the season the very next day and the credit card slips had already been packed up. King and his wife, Tabitha, were the only guests in the hotel that night. The staff put them in room 217, which was said to be haunted. They ate dinner in the hotel's grand ballroom alone, sitting at the only set-up table, where they were offered one choice for dinner. Taped classical music echoed through the large room while they ate. After dinner, Tabitha went to bed while King wandered through the deserted hotel, eventually ending up in the bar, served by the last bartender on the premises. The bartender's name was Grady. 

"That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind."[1]

And the rest, my friends, is history. 

The Stanley has continued to profit and benefit from the connection to King and one of his most famous novels. It doesn't hurt that even before Stephen King's visit, the Stanley had a ghost story-inducing past. One of the most entertaining times to visit the Stanley hotel is during Halloween. They have many scheduled activities to tingle your spine and spook your senses. One of the most popular events is The Shining Masquerade Ball.

The Shining Ball is, of course, based on "The Shining". Always held on or around Halloween, The Shining Ball boasts an impressive list of features; a showing of the film on the big screen, food, cocktails, costume contest and a live DJ, so you can dance until you drop (dead). The Shining Ball sells out early (and is already sold out for this year, in fact!), so you have to sign-up early to attend.

All photos are from The Stanley Facebook page 
Other Halloween events include a murder mystery dinner, regularly scheduled ghost tours, special paranormal investigation with Michelle Tate from Ghosthunters and the "Doctor Sleep" package (based on King's newest book). If you're interested in Stephen King, "The Shining", or just have an appreciation of old hotels, I urge you to look into The Stanley for some of your Halloween festivities. It will be a scream.........

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