HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Wildlife experts sent out the warning last spring and the last several months have been very active for bears along the Front Range. Now the bears are even more active as they load up for hibernation.

It turns out one of their favorite foods is Halloween pumpkins and it’s the talk of the town in suburban Highlands Ranch as bears have been roaming neighborhoods looking for jack-o-lanterns.

“It’s a little scary, now that I think about it,” a resident said.

Sgt. Ron Hanavan with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said there’s been more than a dozen bear sightings in the area in the last three weeks alone.

“They’re obviously looking for an easy type of food they’re able to find,” Hanavan said. “The best thing for individuals to do is to lock up their food; whether it’s pumpkins, food stored in a garage.”

Pumpkins are full of calories bears are trying to store up before hibernation. Because pumpkins are so abundant before Halloween, they’re easing pickings for hungry bears.

highlands ranch bear Jack O Lanterns Are No Trick For Bears, But More Of A Treat

A bear sighted in Highlands Ranch (credit: CBS)

Hanavan said all trash cans should be sealed and pumpkins should be taken inside at night.

“I guess I’m going to need to move those pumpkins,” another resident said.

As more unwanted visitors head to Highlands Ranch looking for easy treats, the Herring family says Halloween will go on, but they will move their jack-o-lantern inside.

“It’s actually one of the exciting things about living in Highlands Ranch, but I will tell you that a big bear is a little too exciting for us right now,” Margee Herring said. “We’ll just have to be more alert, more careful.”

The sheriff’s office says those who see a bear in their neighborhood should make as much noise as possible to try to scare the animal away and call authorities.


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