Why wait until the actual day to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year? Besides the bonus of getting extra mileage out of costumes and having more excuses to indulge in sweets, Halloween festivities are a treat any day. And there are gobs of ways to get into the spirit during the days leading up to the grand event. From no-fright fun to cool and creepy thrills, this annual KFDC round-up has all of the details on where and when you and the kids can have a wicked good time around DC and even a bit…beyond. Happy Halloween!
“Eye Spy” Halloween Trains
Where: Cabin John & Wheaton Regional Parks | Bethesda & Wheaton, MD
When: Saturdays & Sundays, October 2-31
Hop on board the Halloween Trains! All ages can take a ride through “Trainslyvania” on Montgomery Parks’ Cabin John Miniature Train and the Wheaton Miniature Train. They’ll run every Saturday and Sunday in October 10am – 6pm, and it’s best to purchase tickets in advance online to guarantee a ride (only a limited amount are available onsite.)
Drive-In “Spooky” Movie Nights
Where: DC Party Box | Rockville, MD
When: Many dates through October
Admission: $15/adult, $10/13 & under
Enjoy Spooktacular theater at this drive-in, featuring an LED screen, FM broadcasting, and spooky surprises. There are two showings each night, a family-friendly film at 6pm and a classic or scary movie 8pm. Different movies are shown every night, so check the website to see what’s playing. A Family Movie Bundle is available that includes 2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets, popcorn, drinks, and priority parking. Reserve in advance online, one reservation per car.
Witchwartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Thurs-Fri, 10:30am |Sat-Sun, 11:30am & 1pm
Admission: $15/age 2+
The wonderful Puppet Co. has reopened and just in time for Halloween! Witch Wartsmith (the sister of Witch Wartsmith from our Legacy show Rapunzel,) hosts the annual Halloween Spooktacular and you get to vote on the winner! Part contemporary competition show, part vintage telethon, and part punpalooza, this spooky variety show will tickle your funny bone. Don’t miss this year’s performances, because some contestants will change year to year!
Where: Great Wolf Lodge | Williamnsburg, VA
When: October 1-31
Admission: Rates vary
Enjoy a Halloween-themed family getaway to Great Wolf Lodge, where there will be spooktacular fun all month. Kids and parents alike can enjoy special activities including a Trick-or-Treat Trail, Howl-O-Ween House, Costume Parade, Monster Bash Dance Party, Spooktacular Story Time, and much more. This, plus the ongoing fun and indoor waterpark will make for an extra special and spooky Halloween! Read more about Great Wolf Lodge in this KFDC post.
Halloween Movies on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Sundays through October
Throughout October, National Harbor will be screening Halloween-inspired films for their Movies on the Potomac series. They are shown every Sunday from 4-6pm, and all are welcome to grab food (or not) from one of the many eateries and head to the Plaza to enjoy the free showing. Here’s the line-up: October 3: Nightmare Before Christmas, October 10: Casper, October 17: Addams Family, October 24: Hocus Pocus, October 31: Goosebumps.
Pumpkins & Pours
Where: West Grove Urban Park | Chevy Chase, MD
When: October 16, 4-8pm
There’s something for the kids and adults at this event! Local craft beer, pumpkins, pizza, and more will be part of the festivities at this event to in the fall and Halloween spirit. Join for drinks from 7 Locks Brewing, delicious food from Flame and Cones Food Truck, and while you’re at it, grab a FREE pumpkin from Maynes Tree Farm and get decorating. Lawn games and picnic seating will also be available to make an afternoon and evening of it. All ages are welcome, so bring the whole fam!
Where: Congressional Cemetery | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 16-17 & 23-24
Admission: $35/adult, $15/child
Trespass into the past and discover the secrets of some of Congressional Cemetery’s “residents.” Soul Strolls, the Cemetery’s annual twilight tours, explore the stories of individuals buried here through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Experience the history of this hallowed ground exactly the way it should be experienced in October – in twilight and darkness, happening upon vignettes and individuals under the guidance of one of our “Dozen Decent Docents.” Hour-long tours depart every 15 minutes 7-10pm on Fridays, and 6-10pm on Saturdays.
Where: Alethia Tanner Park | NoMa, DC
When: October 28, 4-8pm
NoMa’s free annual community-wide celebration of Halloween returns to in-person this year with live entertainment, free food, music, a seasonal scavenger hunt, and, of course, free “pick-your-own” pumpkin patch! This year’s event also includes a kids’ costume contest with amazing prizes and a special performance by the award-winning children’s entertainer, The Great Zucchini. Capping off the celebration is a special showing of everyone’s favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus from 6:30–8pm. Registration is encouraged to confirm your free pumpkin.
Mystery Mansion and Bonfire Bash
Where: Woman’s Club of Chevy Chase | Chevy Chase, MD
When: October 22-23 & 29-30, 5-9pm
This Halloween experience for the entire family has it all — a Haunted House, Bonfire Bash, Pumpkin Patch, and Costume Shop. The Bonfire Bash will feature live entertainment, food sales, outdoor Halloween movies, photo backdrops, and fire pits with s’mores. A hay bale maze and spooky surprises will add to the festival atmosphere. The Women’s Club of Chevy Chase is locate at 7931 Connecticut Ave.
Glow in the Park
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: October 29-30
Celebrate in the trees at a special Halloween themed night of climbing under the stars, complete with neon colored lights and lively music! Wear your costume (just make sure it’s comfortable & safe to climb in, no capes or masks). Start times will be available every 10 minutes between 6pm & 8:20pm, and tickets are good for two hours of climbing & ziplining + 40 minutes for the safety briefing and getting geared up. Online reservations are highly recommend, as this event tends to sell out. Ages 5 & up are welcome!
Halloween Toddler Time
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: October 21, 10:30am
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 2-12
Bring little ones in costume for this spooktacular session of Toddler Time, as the B&) celebrate the end of this year’s program Halloween-style. Featuring festive fun, hear a reading of The Spooky Express Maryland by Eric James, before joining a trick-or-treating parade around the Museum’s campus.
Scarea 51: Haunted Car Wash Experience
Where: Splash In ECO Car Wash | Clinton, MD
When: OCtober 21-24 & 28-31, 6-10pm
“Scarea 51” is a Prince George’s County first! Haunted car washes are a trend coming out of the pandemic and are created to provide car owners and their families with a socially distanced haunted house experience — all while getting their car scary clean. Splash In’s custom-designed experience of surprising and startling moments is sure to deliver an evening of family-fun and spooky (splashy) scares. Splash In is located at 7509 Old Branch Avenue in Clinton, MD.
Where: Gateway Interim Dog Park | Rosslyn, VA
When: October 22, 3-7pm
The Rosslyn BID and the Rosslyn Dog Owners Group are teaming up for a Halloween themed celebration of Rosslyn’s new Interim Dog Park at Gateway Park West! Rosslyn’s pet community is invited to enjoy local pet-themed vendors, speakers, a social media dog costume contest and giveaways. After the event, all guests (humans & dogs) are encouraged to walk over to Gateway Park East to enjoy onsite food and drinks beginning at 5pm for Rosslyn Cinema.
Halloween at DPR
Where: Multiple DPR locations around DC
When: October 22-31
It’s Halloween in DC, and the Separtment of Pars and Rec is hosting events in all eight wards to celebrate. Enjoy a family Halloween movie, pick up a costume accessory kit, join a boos and ghouls parade, tour a House of Horrors, play some Halloween tennis, and much more. Visit the website to see where all the spooky fun is happening and sign up to attend!
Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: October 23, 10am – 4pm
Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, and more! Timed-entry tickets and activities spread out across the park’s 30 acres will make this a fun and safe event. More than 50 local businesses and organizations will be here handing out treats for the kids, plus there will be fun and games, a DJ dance party, food trucks, and lots of other festivities. Masks are required for all guests over the age of 2 (more safety info here). Read more about Annmarie here and here.
Spooky Pooch Howl-o-ween Celebration
Where: Hillwood Museum & Gardens | Northwest DC
When: October 23, 3-5pm
Admission: $13/adult, $8/member $5/age 6-18, free/under 6
Hillwood’s Halloween event for pooches (and their people) is back! Bring your “best friend” for Halloween fun — explore Hillwood’s 25 acres of landscaped gardens and lush natural woodlands with your four-legged friend, while enjoying a costume competition and yappy hour. Interesting tidbit: This event is inspired by Marjorie Post’s affection for dogs and the memorial dog cemetery she created.
Haunted Tales: The Online Halloween Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Where: Online | Watson Adventures
When: October 23 & 30, 6-7pm
Are you prepared to Zoom with ghosts? Kids and adults team up to explore real places that are said to be haunted, and you’ll learn the tales of the ghosts who linger there. You’ll follow a trail of clues across eerie websites, in search of answers to tricky questions. Ghost-plagued places include the Hollywood Hotel where Marilyn Monroe and other celeb ghosts haven’t checked out; the White House in search of presidential ghosts, and the Salem Witch Trial Memorial where you’ll learn the chilling fate of Giles Corey, just to name a few. For ages 10 and up. No previous knowledge is required. Teams of up to six can play together or remotely, and each team must have one adult.
Día de los Muertos
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 24, 2-5pm
Celebrate the Day of the Dead at The Wharf! Head to the District Pier for a free afternoon of activities, including live music, street food, a beer garden, and more. If the season has your creative juices flowing, decorate a sugar skull or get your face painted! Read more about The Wharf.
17th Street High Heel Race
Where: 17th Street NW, btwn P & S | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 26, 9pm
The High Heel Race is a 30+ year DC tradition, with a rich history of “Crossing The Line Since 1986.” On the Tuesday before Halloween, thousands of spectators pack the Dupont Circle Neighborhood to watch hundreds of costumed drag queens show off their extravagant outfits and race down Historic 17th Street, NW. There’s also live entertainment, a parade, and more festive fun! The race begins at 9pm, but people start gathering at 6pm.
Bethesda Row Trick or Treat
Where: Bethesda Row | Downtown Bethesda, MD
When: October 27, 5-7pm
Bring all the little ghosts and goblins and other cute costumed kids to Bethesda Row for an early trick or treating experience and some retail scare-apy! Tickets are required, and all proceeds will go to the Capital Area Food Bank.
Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead Festival
Where: Online | National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 28
The museum’s annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration will be online again this year. In recorded presentations by two renowned Mexican families, the program will showcase two traditions central to Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos): The art of making figures from sugar and papier-mâché. These two presentations will take place in Spanish.
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 29, 5:30-7:30pm
Capitol Hill’s annual neighborhood event that is legendary for little ones will be back this year! Details are still to come, but for past events the block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market is closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. There have been moon bounces, goody giveaways, face painting, wagon rides, and more exciting festivities (some of it very likely to change this year). The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.
Where: 3 Locations in PG County, MD (see below)
When: October 29, 6:30-8:30pm
From the safety of your vehicle, enjoy touring through a unique holiday themed drive-thru (or a spooky themed trail with lots of scenes to view)! This will take place at three locations in PG County: Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Cosca Regional Park in Clinton, and Glenn Dale Community Center. Children will receive a goody bag, a pumpkin (while supplies last), and more! T Please register your vehicle for the event, not each participant. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and will be limited to the first 500 registered vehicles (sign up through links).
Halloween Night Hunt with Sweets
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 29-31
Celebrate the BOO season on a zany treasure hunt at one of the neatest places in the city. Dress in costume, pick up your complimentary bag of Trick or Treat candy, and have a spooktacular time exploring the 100 room Mansion — decorated special for Halloween. Look for some of the 70 secret doors — be warned they are tricky to find! — and check out the eclectic collection of secondhand items, all of them for sale. Learn more about the Mansion on O Street here.
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: October 30, 9:30-11am
The Hirshhorn is hosting its first-ever dog-friendly event, just in time for Halloween! Join with (or without) your dog for a morning of costumes and coffee in the Hirshhorn’s outdoor Sculpture Garden. Dress up your pup, and if they’re feeling fierce, sign them up to strut their stuff in a furry fashion contest ($25 to register, free for Hirshhorn Insiders) for the chance to win a few special prizes. Local experts District Dogs will be there to keep the dog party going with free activities like peanut butter portraits. This event is open to all ages, and kids are encouraged to join in on the fun with Hirshhorn-inspired creative projects geared toward little artists.
Haunted Halloween Hunt
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: October 30, 10-11am
Admission: $15/non-member, $10/member, $5/adult
Experience Halloween at Tudor Place with a spooky one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt. Wear your costume and join with your friends and family. Create a creepy craft to take home, then explore our garden to discover bats, spiders and other outdoor Halloween secrets. Scavenger hunt finishers will receive a special prize. Recommended for ages 7–12. Capacity is limited, so reserve tickets in advance.
Spooky Seconds Sale
Where: Brookland Arts Walk | Brookland, DC
When: October 30, 10am – 4pm
Head to Brookland on the eve of Halloween for a Spooky Seconds Sale! Grab seconds, samples, mystery grab bags, one-offs, and more made by the artists and makers of the Brookland Arts Walk. Plus, enjoy some Halloween festivities like a fall crafts and coloring station with Only Make Believe from 10am-1pm, trick-or-treating at the studios, and more. Go early for the best selection of the sales!
Air & Scare Outside
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: October 30
The annual Air & Scare event at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will be back this year and taking place outdoors with lots of fun festivities: Trick or treat stations with free candy and snacks; creepy crafts, spooky experiments, and other Hallloween-themed activities; special story times and puppet shows for the youngest Halloween revelers; photo ops with your favorite Star Wars characters; and a chance to enter a costume contest to win sweet prizes (get all the details and rules). For those who aren’t comfortable going to the event in person, there are be digital treats to enjoy, too.
Día de los Muertos Virtual Family Celebration
Where: Online | American Art Museum
When: October 30, 10-11am
Celebrate Día de los Muertos online with Ballet Folklórico Mi Herencia Mexicana and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. There will be fun for the whole family during the virtual performance. Watch as ballet group demonstrates several Mexican folk dances including El Toro Viejo from Sinaloa and the popular, El Son de La Negra from Jalisco. Learn more about Día de los Muertos as the dancers perform and explain the history behind their dance traditions.
Family Day Piano Show
Where: Bobby McKey’s | National Harbor, MD
When: October 30, 4-6pm
It’s a Family Show at Bobby McKey’s on Halloween weekend, so it’s likely to celebarte the spooky season, too (ie, go ahead and dress up!)Head down to the National Harbor for 2 hours of all request live piano music, plus food and drinks, and of course encouragement of singing along and wiggling in your seats! Bar is open for non-driving parents.
Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens | Mount Vernon, VA
When: October 30, 2-6pm
Admission: $17-25/adult, $9-15/child
Trick-or-treat at Mount Vernon as George Washington’s estate open its gates for Halloween fun and spook-tacular activities. Along with collecting candy around the historic grounds, enjoy live entertainment, check out a chocolate-making demo (and get a taste!), watch sparks fly in the Blacksmith Shop, learn about wool carding and spies, stop at selfie station, and more!
Nightmare on Elm Street Urban Park
Where: Elm Street Urban Park | Bethesda, MD
When: October 30, 1-4pm
You won’t find Freddy Kreuger there, but Montgomery Parks’ FREE Nightmare on Elm Street Halloween event at Elm Street Urban Park will have spooky, silly fun for everyone! Go on a “Trick or Treat Trails” scavenger hunt, play lawn games, enjoy clices and scoops from O’Boy Pizza & Ice Cream, get into the spooky groove with a Halloween DJ. There will be also be lots of Halloween props and decorations for snapping pic and plenty of picnic seating.
Lil’ Pumpkins Festival
Where: Black Rock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: October 30, 11am-5pm
BlackRock Center for the Arts, providing opportunities to explore, celebrate and engage in the arts, is hosting a day of spooktacular celebration! Family programming includes free pumpkins, improv workshops, exhibits, trick-or-treating, visual arts, haunted hip-hop, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and more. All guests must be masked when entering BlackRock’s facility, and all persons above the age of 12 entering the facility must show proof of vaccination status.
Where: The St. James | Springfield, DC
When: October 30
Admission: $15, $10/members, free/2 & under
The St. James is hosting a fun-filled, safe Halloween evening. BYO blanket for socially-distanced family movie night in Field House. Guests cal also join for trick-or-treating, a costume contest, pizza, popcorn, and more. Additional food, plus beer and wine for adults, will also be available for purchase. Read more about The St. James here.
Best in Show at The Boro
Where: The Boro | Tysons, VA
When: October 30, 1-3pm
Join The Boro for the ultimate dog costume contest at Boro Park! Pets will be able to strut the doggy catwalk and pose for judges with one winner crowned “Best in Show”. The top three looks will take home a prize-packed doggy gift basket. Don’t have a dog? Join anyway for some fall family fun! The spooktacular day will be filled with trick-or-treating, games, and Halloween crafts. It is guaranteed to be a paws-itively wonderful day! Free, but registration required.
Where: Community Center | Falls Church, VA
When: October 30, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $2/children ages 2 and up (adults free)
The City of Falls Church has been hosting the annual Halloween Carnival for over 30 years, welcoming babies through elementary-aged kids to enjoy all kinds of fun activities. More details for this year’s event to come soon, but it will all take place outdoors.
Halloween Mystery at the Cabin
Where: Riverbend Park | McLean, VA
When: October 30
Can you solve the history mystery at Riverbend Park? Meet people of the past and discover their secrets to uncover the mysteries along the Potomac on a walk through the woods. A sweet treat will reward your success. The program runs from 3:15-4:30pm, 4:45-6pm, and 6:15-7:30pm.
Frames of Fear
Where: Around Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 30
Where do your favorite monsters shop? When the stores go dark, what creatures come to life? Join the 5th Annual Frames of Fear from DC in Motion, a community that strives to cater to all things motion graphics/animation in the DC area. Animators, illustrators, and motion designers were invited to create wicked windows showcasing all-things-spooky, from possessed novels flying around bookstores to zombies thrifting for fashion. Now, these visions from both local and national artists will be brought to life via looped animations projected onto the storefronts and buildings throughout Adams Morgan. At sunset, projections will begin to reveal themselves on numerous storefronts, windows, and walls at the following Adams Morgan locations. Visit the website for where you can see them!
Family Dance Party
Where: Hi-Lawn @ Union Market | Northeast DC
When: October 31, 11-1pm
The Rumpus Room, DC’s only daytime dance party for families, returns for Halloween! They’ll be getting (slightly) spooky outdoors under the sun, so put on your costumes and go boogie! Get ready for dance floor filled with little ghosts, goblins, witches, dragons, and pumpkins of all ages. Adults can relive their night-life glory days and show off those rusty moves with little ones in tow. The soundtrack for the day will be a family-friendly mix of dance floor and Halloween classics, all at a kid-friendly volume. Use promo code SPOOKYSEASON for an early bird discount (limited time only).
Where: Great Country Farm | Bluemont, VA
When: November 1-2 & 6-7
Admission: $16/adult, $14/child
Continue the Halloween fun after the holiday! Bring your leftover jack-o-lantern to Great Country’s smashin’ station and let it fly! The Silo Drop and the Zip Wire Sploosh let you do the smashin’ yourself or opt for the Pumpkin Drop Zone and add it to the upside down “fireworks display” as pumpkins are dropped from a 40-foot lift — so fun to watch! (What happens to all those smashed pumpkins? The pigs and cows love to eat them and GCF composts the rest.) There will also be live music, marshmallow roasting, and cider press demos, plus The Roosteraunt concession stand will be open. Of course, plan to enjoy the farm’s playground, full of fun, too!
Where: Around the DMV
When: Through early November
Admission: Varies by locale
Many of the fall festivals around the area incorporate Halloween fun into their offerings. Pick out potential jack-o-lanterns, do Halloween-themed crafts, go on rides, and more. See a list of seasonal celebrations here.
HAUNTED (SCARIER) EXPERIENCES
Fields of Fear
Where: Cox Farms | Centreville, VA
When: Fridays & Saturday through November 6
Admission: $20-35 (purchase in advance online)
When night falls on Cox Farms, it’s time for Fields of Fear — for ages 12 and up! The Dark Side Hayride feature The Lost Circus, a circus abandoned in the early 1900s that now comes to life when the living approach. The friendly Imaginature Trail takes a dark turn for Fields of Fear, transforming into The Forest: Back 40, which consists of half a mile of fear. The Forest joins two other haunted attractions at Fields of Fear, the Dark Side Hayride and the Cornightmare. The Firegrounds feature several bonfires, a six-lane slide, music, karaoke, entertainment, tasty treats, Foamhenge, and more!
Where: Paxton House | Leesburg, VA
When: October 1-30
Paxton Manor is Northern Virginia’s only REAL Haunted House. Brand new this year, the first 3 levels of the haunted manor have turned into Paxton Hall, a horrifying and haunted boarding school. Encounter new characters, including rebellious students and frightening teachers, as you unravel the dark and mysterious past of Paxton Hall. The haunt also includes Carnival of Souls, the basement of Paxton Manor, an attraction full of creepy clowns and carnival carnage. These haunted attractions are not for the faint of heart; this annual event is PG-13 Scary Fun.
Where: Six Flags America | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Select days through October 31
Fright Fest is back at Six Flags America. It’s a spooky time of year as zombies and ghouls take over the park. Enjoy thrills and activities for the whole family throughout the day and go back for a truly frightening evening of fun after the sun goes down. Fright Fest offers a wide variety of places to get your scare on, including several haunted houses and scare zones located throughout the park. The stuff of nightmares lurk around every corner as the dark of night washes over the park. The ghouls are set free for their daily hunting rituals.
Laurel’s House of Horror
Where: Laurel, MD
When: October 1 – November 6
Admission: $25 and up
We all enjoyed this creepy and fun haunted experience. Built inside an abandoned movie theater, it’s sensory overload with a lot to look at and listen to and several good jump scares. There’s always chilling sense of anticipation as you get ready to round the next corner. There are also escape rooms open all year during the weekends, and for private parties and special dates. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Getting into the spooky spirit at home can be just as fun as going out for it! Elevate the experience for your fam and neighbors by decorating the front yard and adding some festive accessories inside. Here are quick links to find Halloween supplies to help with that:
Did I leave out any good events? Let me know in the comments!