Category Archives: Halloween

Revel in the Macabre: The Emma Crawford Coffin Races

Emma Crawford did nothing in her short lifetime that would be considered legendary, nor was her unfortunate death an uncommon one. It was the events following her death that would make Emma the most famous woman in Manitou’s history.emma crawford Emma arrived in Manitou Springs, a fashionable health and summer resort, in 1889 seeking a cure for her tuberculosis. At first she prospered from Manitou’s clean mountain air, warm sunshine, dry climate, and natural mineral springs. Then one fateful day she was beckoned by her spirit guide, a handsome, young Indian brave, into climbing to the top of Red Mountain. While at the top Emma tied a scarf to a tree branch and when she returned home that evening she told her family that if she died she wished to be buried beneath the designated tree. Emma suffered a relapse and died on December 4, 1891 at age 28. Emma was buried at the top of Red Mountain according to her wishes. Shortly after the burial  it was reported that Emma was seen strolling on the mountainside dressed in her favorite gown and in the company of…an Indian brave.After the turn of the century, a cog railroad was built at the top of Red Mountain and Emma’s grave was moved to a different location on the mountain. Following decades of erosion, a particularly heavy rainfall dislodged Emma’s coffin and sent it sliding down the side of the mountain scattering fragments of the coffin and Miss Emma along the way. Eventually, Emma was buried for the third and final time in Manitou’s Crystal Valley Cemetery …but her story wasn’t quite finished….

For the past 20 years, on the last Saturday before Halloween, Manitou hosts the weird, the macabre, and the fiendishly-fun Emma Crawford Coffin Races. At the foot of her beloved Red Mountain, teams dressed in outlandish costumes compete against each other by pushing hand-built coffins…on wheels…through downtown015 Manitou. Inside each coffin is a team member dressed, of course, as Emma. Prizes are awarded for the fastest coffin, the best-decorated coffin, and the best-dressed Emma. Each year thousands of spectators line Manitou Avenue to cheer the madly-careening coffins as they race toward the finish line. Spectators are often costumed as well. With each year the event grows in size and popularity and now includes Emma’s wake, fireworks, a parade, and walking ghost tours; altogether, a fitting observance of Emma’s ride down the mountain and into local legend. Continue reading


Halloween Heebie-Jeebies: movies and books

Maybe it’s because the nights are getting longer…darker…colder.
Maybe it’s because the wind outside is less friendly than recent summer breezes. Maybe it’s because newly stripped tree
moon and branch cropped 2
branches stand out starkly against an autumn moon.
For whatever reason, each year the season leading up to Halloween provides a great excuse for curling up with a cup of hot cider and reading spooky stories or watching creepy movies. A gazillion horror stories have been written; a gazillion horror movies have been made. Here are some favorite films and stories for the Halloween season. And yes, this has nothing to do with staging or design but falls in the category of fun and interesting…& cheap entertainment for the working class…good enough for me.
An American Werewolf in London
1981, rated R, combines humor, horror, & a great soundtrack, high gore-score

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