(MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo.) — The month of October brings Halloween and the Emma Crawford Coffin Races to the city of Manitou Springs.

“It was originally started at the request of the chamber to have something to do in October,” said Neale Minch, Board Member, Manitou Springs Heritage Center of the ghost tours put on in Manitou every year. “We used to just do this on Saturday night after Emma Crawford coffin races, but we were always sold out. So we began to expand.”

Leading up to the festival, the Manitou Springs Heritage Center partnered with TheatredArt to put on ghost tours throughout the city.

“We were approached by the Manitou Springs Heritage Center to kind of bring the theatrical process to this project,” said Jonathan Andujar, TheatredArt President. “And since then, it’s just taken on a life of its own. We went from history lovers to theater and history lovers, and we’re trying to merge the two worlds together.”

Throughout the ghost tours, the city’s 150 years of history comes to life through the tales of the living and the dead. 

A scene in the downtown Manitou Springs ghost tour.

“The tours are founded on the basis of fact,” stated Minch. “We just add a bit of humor to them.”

The ghost tours also pay homage to Emma Crawford and share her spirit. Shelby Evanoika plays Emma Crawford and said Emma is such an iconic historical figure and it is so much fun to have her role.

“The costume and makeup definitely help for me. It all finally comes together after I get into the space, I get everything on,” said Evanoika. “I just try to kind of listen to my characters and figure out the story that they need to tell.”

The tours are taking place on weekends in October and meet at the Manitou Springs Heritage Center. Advance tickets can be purchased online.

“So the proceeds we share with TheatredArt,” stated Minch. “So the actors are paid and the rest goes towards keeping the museum open and free.”

Each tour comes with a spirit guide who brings you to the thrilling scenes.

“It’s really nice to pay homage to those people that have come before us in this city and to really just kind of play with their stories and talk about what it means to kind of be remembered,” said Andujar.