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. Mwahahaa. Happy Halloween!
American Scream: Halloween Selfie Museum
Where: Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA
When: Through November 3
Admission: $15-18 (find discounts)
This unique, immersive experience is a celebration of all things Halloween and Horror. Unlike other Halloween events, guests and fans of Halloween will have the opportunity to interact and enjoy Halloween and horror in a completely ‘Made for Instagram’ experience with incredible photo opportunities to share with their friends.
Fields of Fear
Where: Cox Farms | Centreville, VA
When: Fridays & Saturday through November 2
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: Great Wolf Lodge | Williamnsburg, VA
When: Through October
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.
The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience
Where: Lake Fairfax Park | Reston, VA
When: October 3-27
Admission: $16 (find discounts)
The Glow isn’t a place to expect frights and ghouls, but you will scream with delight to see pumpkins come to life. The Glow features an enchanting and unforgettable wonderland of more than 5,000 hand carved, illuminated pumpkins transformed into beautiful landscapes, iconic figures and larger than life structures. As jack o’lanterns illuminate the park for an unforgettable evening, make sure to grab few photos and some seasonal snacks. Don’t forget to check out master carvers as they demonstrate their artistry or to pick up a gourd at the pumpkin patch. There is something everyone will enjoy at this truly magnificent fall spectacular.
Where: Paxton House | Leesburg, VA
When: October 4 – November 2
Admission: $40-50 (find discounts)
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.
“Eye Spy” Halloween Trains
Where: Cabin John & Wheaton Regional Parks | Bethesda & Wheaton, MD
When: October 4-27
Hop on board the Halloween Trains! Great for families of all ages, Montgomery Parks’ Cabin John Miniature Train and the Wheaton Miniature Train will take a ride through “Trainslyvania.” They’ll run every Friday, 4-6pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 6pm. Purchase tickets online starting October 1.
Where: Six Flags America | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Select days through November 3
Fright Fest, presented by SNICKERS, 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.
Book Some Halloween Fun
Where: DC Public Libraries | Around DC
When: Several October dates
Story times, crafts, and children’s parties all with Halloween themes are taking place at libraries around the city. Drop in for the fun — all of the activities are free! Be sure to check age recommendations to confirm they’re appropriate for your child as they vary by event.
Laurel’s House of Horror
Where: Laurel, MD
When: Through November 2
Admission: $25 and up
Built inside of an abandoned movie theater, Laurel’s House of Horror is one of DC and Maryland’s scariest haunted attractions. The attractions offer sensory overload, a chilling sense of anticipation, and fear with several new exhibits. New and unique escape rooms are open all year during the weekends, and for private parties and special dates. The elaborate House of Horror feature starts up again each September with new themed areas and special guests. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: October 18-20, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members
Join the National Zoo for their annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, one of DC’s most popular events for the kiddie crowd. With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, keeper chats, a dance party and kids’ karaoke, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. By the end of the evening, Boo at the Zoo commemorative bags will be brimming with your favorite chocolates, snacks and souvenirs. Treat stations will include goodies for all ages, including adult treats like craft beer and food tastings. Costumes encouraged!
Where: Congressional Cemetery | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 18-19 & 25-26
Admission: $25/adult, $12/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. Beer, wine, and cider will be for sale at the cash bar in the Chapel.
Glow in the Park
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: October 19, 6pm
Do the monster mash through the trees! Enjoy Halloween festivities at the Adventure Park’s spooky Halloween-themed Glow in the Park. Wear your costume for a chance to spin a prize wheel (just make sure it’s comfortable & safe to climb in) — you could win free tickets, a t-shirt, or something else special! 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!
Creepy Cupcakes Kids Confectionery Class
Where: Creative Saints Loft | Hyattsville, MD
When: October 19, 1-3pm
This event is for kids who love being in the kitchen and parents who love to eat their creations! Children ages 6-12 will learn pastry decorating techniques such as molding and piping from one of the areas Top Pastry Chefs Padua Player of SugaChef Desserts! If you’re looking for an exciting way to have some not-so-scary day time fun bring your little ones dressed in their BEST costumes ready to create! Each ticket includes a 2-hour instructor lead class by Executive Pastry Chef Padua Player of SugaChef Desserts, 1/2 dozen uniquely decorated cupcakes (Spiders, Witches, and Frankenstein Oh MY!!), Vigilante Coffee and sweet treats for adult ghouls, + candy and punch for kid ghouls
NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: October 20
Enjoy spooky fun for the whole family at this annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when our ghoulishly attired musicians perform new and old classics to celebrate Halloween. Nicholas Hersh leads this exciting concert experience, which features music from Harry Potter and more. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Recommended for ages 5+.
Rumpus Room Family Dance Party: Halloween Special
Where: Black Cat | 14th Street NW, DC
When: October 20, 11am – 1:30pm
The Rumpus Room, DC’s only daytime dance party for families, returns in time for Halloween! This October they’ll be getting (slightly) spooky in the club, so put on your costumes and go dance. Get ready for a dance floor filled with little ghosts, goblins, witches, dragons, and pumpkins of all ages. The soundtrack for the day will be a family-friendly mix of dance hits and Halloween classics, all at a kid-friendly volume. Rumpus Room is designed for kids 10 and under and their caregivers, but older siblings are welcome.
Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center | Fairfax, VA
When: October 20, 2-3:30pm
Create a spooky mobile of your favorite Halloween characters. All materials will be provided. For children ages 3-12, and must be accompanied by an adult for this 90-minute program.
Halloween on the Farm
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: October 20, 4-7pm
Admission: $4/ages 2+
Head Old Maryland Farm at Watkins Regional Park for a Halloween & Fall themed event for little ones. Enjoy hayrides, games, crafts, cider, creepy-crawly animals, a costume contest, and pumpkins for purchase. Kids 13 & under must be accompanied by a paying adult. Read more about Watkins and Old Maryland Farm here.
Boos and Brews (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 21, 6-9pm
Admission: $20 ($10/members)
It’s that spooky time of year again, so join the National Building Museum for an evening to eat, drink, and be scary! Boos & Brews will feature scary ghost tours around our haunted halls, a monster mash-up of songs by DJ EPX, a costume contest, fun games, devilishly delicious food, and wicked good beer from various breweries including Port City and Right Proper. For ages 21+.
Night of the Living Zoo (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: October 25
Admission: $30-40, $65-90/VIP
Step right up for Friends of the National Zoo’s adults-only night of curiosities, grotesques and beastly good fun. The dark carnival arrives to thrill crowds. Street performers—including a sword swallower, a fire eater, living statues, magicians and stilt walkers—will delight guests. Food trucks will sell delicious food to pair with craft beer and wine. There will be dancing, live-band karaoke and animal encounters, and, of course, no Halloween event would be complete without a costume contest. VIP guests also can enjoy complimentary food from local restaurants, an exclusive mixed drink and a souvenir, fortune telling, treats at a candy bar, a private DJ and dance floor, and a special photo station.
Toddler Time Halloween Parade
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: October 24, 10:30am
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 2-12
Join the B&O for a spooktacular Toddler Time, as we celebrate the end of this year’s Toddler Time program Halloween style. Featuring festive fun, we’ll read Alice Schertle’s Little Blue Truck’s Halloween, before making monster grab bags to fill with all sorts of fun tricks and treats during our costume parade around the Museum’s campus.
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 25, 5:30-7:30pm
Capitol Hill’s annual neighborhood event is legendary for little ones. The block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market will be closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. And more will be in Eastern Market’s North Hall. Moon bounces, goody giveaways, face painting add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: October 25, 6:30-7:30pm & 7:30-8:30pm
Celebrate the Halloween season with this annual event at Frying Pan Farm. Attendees enjoy a variety of themed games, dare to enter the slightly-spooky BOO barn, and take a wagon ride. Finish the evening with a small treat bag. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so sign up soon!
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: October 25, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $18/child (free for parents)
Gather the family together for a fun evening! Children can dress in their favorite costume, participate in a garden costume parade, paint a pumpkin, try a pumpkin treat, and top the evening off listening to award-winning storyteller Gary Lloyd present “Pumpkin Tales for the Young” telling tales more funny than scary. Space is limited. Register children ages 3–12, parents are free.
Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: October 26, 12-5:30pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm
Explore the spooky side of air and space at the Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center’s 13th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Arrive in costume to get into the Halloween spirit and enjoy safe indoor trick-or-treating.
Spooktacular Kids Pizza Class and Party
Where: Matchbox locations around the DMV
When: October 26
Matchbox invites all mini chefs to a kids pizza party featuring a hands-on pizza-making class complete with chef hat and customized personal pizza, a tour of the kitchen and pizza ovens, jack-o-lantern cookie decorating, and other Halloween treats, plus a round of mimosas for parents! Tickets are available here for select Matchbox locations — Capitol Hill, 14th Street, Rockville, Merrifield, Pentagon City, Potomac Mills, One Loudon.
Día de los Muertos Family Day
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: October 26, 11:30am – 3pm
Celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with SAAM! Enjoy Mexican folk dance performances throughout the day, a live Mariachi band, and face painting! Leave your handmade ofrendas (offerings) including paper marigolds, calaveras (skull masks), and paper monarch butterflies on our beautiful Day of the Dead altar.
Haunted Washington Scavenger Hunt
Where: Lafayette Square | Downtown, DC
When: October 26, 2pm
You just might after this spooky tour that reveals the stories of the restless souls you might disturb. On teams, you’ll follow clues to ghost-plagued buildings near the White House and answer tricky questions about what you find. Possible cameos by the spirits of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Abigail Adams, Andrew Jackson, the (allegedly) suicidal Mrs. Henry Adams, and losing duelist Stephen Decatur. The hunt is a bit spooky, a bit macabre, a bit goofy, and a lot of fun. It’s also a bit slower paced than Watson’s regular hunts because the questions are longer, in order to fill you in on the eerie events that transpired at each location. Recommended for older kids or KidFree. For private groups, they also offer a Kids Edition of this ghoulish game, suitable for ages 7 and up.
Spooktacular Family Day Piano Show
Where: Bobby McKey’s | National Harbor, MD
When: October 26, 12:30-2:30pm
Need an excuse to dress up? Bobby McKey’s is offering an afternoon Halloween party that’s not to be missed. Head down to the National Harbor for some serious FUN! They combine 2 hours of all request live piano music with a costume contest, a lunch buffet, fountain 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 26, 3:30-6:30pm
Admission: $16/adult, $8/child
Trick-or-treat at Mount Vernon as George Washington’s estate open its gates for Halloween fun and spook-tacular activities. Join a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft. Guests can also check out wool carding, spinning, and fish net making in the historic area before greeting “Martha Washington” on the piazza of the Mansion. Historic chocolate-making demos and tastings will take place. Burn off all the extra excitement (and calories!) with 18th-century dancing. A children’s costume parade around the Mansion will begins at 5pm, and prizes will be awarded for most fang-tastic “George” and “Martha” costumes!
Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: October 26, 10am – 4pm
Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, lunch and more! The 20th Annual Halloween in the Garden will feature more than 70 community organizations and businesses donning costumes and handing out candy and treats to all the children. Booths will be spread out around the Parking Circle and down the Wooded Path allowing guests to roam at their own pace – free range trick-or-treating! Also enjoy g Halloween-inspired music and dancing with a guest DJ. Admission fees will benefit local charities. Don’t forget to bring your camera — there are always unique photo opportunities with the boo-tiful decorations.
Trick or Treat in the Garden
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: October 26, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $15/non-member, $10/member, $5/adult
Get into the Halloween spirit! Explore the Tudor Place garden as the seasons change, and trick or treat throughout the site. Make your own superhero bracers and festive owl decoration. Play traditional outdoor games, enjoy face painting, and paint your own pumpkin to take home. Costumes suggested but not required. This outdoor event will take place rain or shine, so dress for the weather!
Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: October 26, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities
The Glen Echo Park Partnership’s annual Halloween-themed family event is open to the public, and visitors of all ages are invited to the Park to explore the arts through hands-on crafts, Halloween activities, trick-or-treating and visiting open studios. It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone. Register here.
Where: Capital Cider House | Petworth, DC
When: October 26, 10-11:30am
Join Little Moon Yoga at Capitol Cider House for a morning of Halloween Yoga FUN! This family yoga class is for families of all ages and abilities. While wearing your best halloween costume, practice playful yoga postures and games all centered around a Halloween theme. Doors open at 10am, yoga starts at 10:30am – bring a mat. Space is very limited for this event, so purchase tickets in advance to guarantee a spot. Full food and drink menus will be available.
Halloween Kids Cooking Class
Where: Maggiano’s Little Italy | Chevy Chase, DC
When: October 26, 9:30-11:30am
Admission: $25/child, $15/adult
Join a fun, hands on Kid’s Cooking Class Experience featuring all your favorite Halloween fun! A chef will guide your little one on creating a culinary masterpiece. Before the event, everyone will enjoy a Maggiano’s Breakfast Buffet and coloring activities. Next, the Chef will demonstrate and instruct hands-on how to make caramel apples, step by step! Pumpkin and cookie decorating is also included during this fun-filled morning.
Spirits & Spirits
Where: Downtown Occoquan, VA
When: October 26, 11am – 10pm
Admission: Free (some activities require fee)
The Town of Occoquan will host Spirits & Spirits, a full day of activities for everyone, in downtown Historic Occoquan. The brand-new event includes kids’ events, a costume parade, a magic show, a Haunted Maze and a Spirit Garden with all of your favorite beverages from 5-10pm. In addition to these fun activities, Hauntingly Historic Occoquan Ghost Tours will host spooky town tours from 11am – 4pm. Purchase/prebook your tours here.
Día de los Muertos
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 26, 2-6pm
Celebrate the Day of the Dead at The Wharf. Head to Pearl Street for a memorable afternoon with live music by La Unica, beer stations for parents, street food, a photobooth, an altar contest, and more. Want to get creative yourself? Decorate a sugar skull or get your face painted. Plus, there will be prizes for the best self-painted faces.
Historic All-Hallows Eve
Where: Sully Historic Site | Chantilly, VA
When: October 26, 4-7pm
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Virginians celebrated All Hallows Eve with storytelling, fortune telling, fall foods and family gatherings. Experience these traditions as you tour the house and grounds by lantern light. For ages 5+.
Where: Falls Church, VA
When: October 26, 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! Infants through fifth graders are invited to enjoy carnival games, a moon bounce, face painting, crafts, a haunted house, movies, candy, and a live creepy creature show featuring the spookiest reptiles in nature. The first hour is best for children up to 2nd grade, and 3rd – 5th graders will enjoy the second hour.
Pumpin Rock ‘n Roll
Where: GIGS Courtyard | Kensington, MD
When: October 26, 2-6pm
Join the 2019 Pumpkin Rock N’ Roll! The GIGS Courtyard in Kensington, MD, will be transformed into a full-blown Halloween extravaganza. Participate in a costume parade and enjoy family-friendly attractions including live musical performances, food trucks, inflatable rides and slides, and a hay maze. Don’t miss the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars.
Spooky Pooch Howl-o-ween Celebration
Where: Hillwood Museum & Gardens | Northwest DC
When: October 26, 2-4pm
Admission: $13/adult, $8/member $5/age 6-18, free/under 6
You’re invited to bring your “best friend” to Hillwood for Halloween fun. Explore Hillwood’s twenty-five acres of landscaped gardens and lush natural woodlands with your four-legged friend, while enjoying a costume competition, yappy hour, and a visit by City Dogs rescue.
Calabash Carnage: Family Pumpkin Carving
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange | Hyattsville, MD
When: Saturday, October 26, 2-4 pm
Admission: Free, but pumpkins are $5
Celebrate Halloween and have lots of fun at Brentwood Arts Exchange! Families are invited to join a Pumpkin Carving Workshop. Use your imagination, create your own designs, and leave the mess with them. Let them know you’re attending by going to the Facebook event page.
Pumpkins in the Park
Where: Canal Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: October 26, 4-8:30pm
Enjoy a cauldron full of spooky new surprises at the Capitol Riverfront BID’s annual event. Bring little monsters out to decorate their own pumpkins, play in the moon bounce, and get their faces painted (all for free). Kids-at-heart can make insta-worthy leaf wreaths, enjoy beer, wine, and cider (for purchase), and get cards read by a real life fortune teller! The whole gang can hop on brooms and head across the street to catch a free screening of Hocus Pocus. Dress to impress — they’ll be handing out prizes throughout the day for best-dressed humans and howlers (that’s “doggos” in Halloween-speak).
Where: Cathay Future Center | Rickville, MD
When: October 26, 4:30-8:30pm
Join a creepy, creative family experience filled with seasonal art activities, delicious food & treats, great gifts & prizes, an international art competition exhibit, and a grand art academy opening! Activities are suitable for children age 1.5+. RSVP by October 23 to be entered in a SPOOKtacular raffle! (Note: RSVPs can be after 10/23, but you will not be entered in the raffles.)
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 27
The Mansion will be decorated for Halloween just for this — celebrate the BOO season on a zany treasure hunt! Have fun searching for autumn & Halloween themed items found only at The Mansion. Over 100 rooms and 70 secret doors (yes 70!) are there to explore, and they guarantee you can see at least 60 of the legendary rooms — but be warned secret doors are tricky to find — if you find 2 or 3 you are an above average sleuth. Learn more about the Mansion on O Street here.
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: October 27, 1-4pm
Join the annual Harbor Halloween event at National Harbor. Trick or treat around the shops at the Harbor. There will be trick-or-treating from 1-3pm. See a showing of Hocus Pocus on the Plaza Big Screen (movie will begin at 1:30pm). Watch a chef pumpkin carving contest. Plus, enjoy special activities, including pumpkin decorating, a Halloween coloring station, and a fabulous family fall themed photo station.
Del Ray Halloween Parade
Where: Del Ray Neighborhood | Alexandria, VA
When: October 27, 2pm
One of Del Ray’s favorite traditions, the 23nd Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade begins at Mt. Vernon Avenue, south of E. Bellefonte, and continues down to the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center play fields at Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues. Children, pets, and strollers in costumes are invited to march and show off their finest and scariest Halloween garb. Awards and goody bags are given out, too. The Parade and all activities are free. (PS: All of October C&W will be focusing on the adoption of black cats and kittens. Superstition or not, black cats often have lower adoption rates. They’re two-thirds less likely to be adopted than white cats, and half as likely to be adopted as tabby cats. But black cats are just as adorable and deserve a loving home!)
Where: Fort Hunt Preschool | Alexandria, VA
Date: October 27, 3-5pm
Admission: $5/age 3+, $18/family of 4
Bring the kiddos for a spooky obstacle course, festive crafts and treats, and some Halloweeny fun and games! This annual event is one of our favorites and is open to the public. Rain or Shine. More info + get your tickets online here.
Purr-anormal National Cat Day Celebration
Where: DC Cate Cafe & DC Kitten Cafe | Georgetown, DC
When: October 28-31
Admission: Free with cat costume (see below)
Crumbs & Whiskers’ purr-anormal celebration for National Cat Day is a real treat. With Halloween and National Cat Day (Oct29) just days apart, the kitten and cat cafes have a scary good skela-bration. That week, October 28-31, the Cat and Kitten Cafes are offering FREE experiences to the first 10 people who dress up as cats. So put on your cat suits and ears, and draw on some whiskers and prepare for some hocus purr-cus.
17th Street High Heel Race (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: 17th Street NW, btwn P & S | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 29, 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. The race begins at 9pm, but people start gathering at 6pm.
Monster Mash-Up Workshop
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: October 30, 4-7pm
Boos and ghouls of all ages are invited to create their own paper monster! All templates, markers, and sparkly bits provided. Join this family workshop in the JRVC on the 3rd Floor. Face painting, too!
Trick-or-Treat at the Mall
Where: Fashion Centre | Pentagon City, VA
When” October 31, 5-7pm
Calling all little pumpkins! Ghouls and gals are invited to enjoy not-so-spooky fun at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City on Halloween evening. Costumed kiddos can trick-or-treat for crave-worthy candy and tempting treats at participating stores displaying a Jack-O-Lantern sticker in the window. Families can also shop for the season’s latest looks at top brands, including Gap, Macy’s, Nordstrom, The Children’s Place and more.
Fall Halloween Festival
Where: Ronald Reagan Building | Downtown DC
When: October 31, 10am – 2pm
Enjoy Halloween and Fall Festival fun at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center! Bring family and friends to enjoy free Halloween festivities including: a hay bale maze, face painting, pumpkin decorating with Blick, candy giveaways, costumed characters, DC Public Library Book Bike, music, food vendors, and so much more!
Where: Ashburn Iceplex | Ashburn, VA
When: October 31, 12:30-2pm
Wear a costume and pay only $5 for public skate with skate rental. Please no costumes with masks that cover your face. Skaters can participate in the costume contest and trick or treat around the rink.
Hall-O-Screen Party: A Nightmare Before Christmas
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 31
The Kennedy Center brings the fun outdoors this Halloween with a free night filled with tricks and treats for the DC community. Patrons are welcome to come in costume to celebrate the haunted holiday at the REACH. Join a dance class to learn the moves to ghoulish tunes such as “Thriller,” “Monster Mash,” The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Time Warp,” and more. Watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on the REACH Video Wall. Enjoy savory and sweet items from food trucks as well as drink specials. Patrons must show valid identification to consume alcoholic beverages. There will also be opportunities to get sweets and swag.
Spooky Awesome & Amazing Celebration
Where: The St. James | Springfield, VA
When: October 31, 6-10pm
Trick or Treat, play fun games, enjoy food and drinks from a satellite bar, costume contest for prizes, a haunted Nerf battle zone walk through and more! Costumes are welcome, but not mandatory. Trick or Treat throughout The St. James with fun games like Mummy Races, Capture the Ghost, Spider Climb on the Rock Wall, and more! Vim & Victor, the restaurant there, will offer a late night Halloween Happy Hour for parents until 10pm. This ticket also includes free access to the Super, Awesome & Amazing activity center.
Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead Festival
Where: American Indian Museum | National Mall, DC
When: November 1-3
Celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), with an after-hours event, performances, and family activities. The Day of the Dead is a festival celebrated by people in Mexico, parts of Central and South America and in many Latino communities across the U.S. as a way to honor family and friends that have passed away. This celebration originates from the indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica, including the Mexica (Aztec) and Maya.
Post-Halloween Smithsonian Sleepover
Where: National History Museum | National Mall, DC
When: November 2-3
The Nation’s T-rex has returned to the Natural History Museum, and his towering skeleton has been drawing big crowds to the amazing Deep Time exhibition in the brand-new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils. A post-Halloween Smithsonian Sleepover offers the perfect way to avoid the rush and spend plenty of quality time with your favorite dinosaur. And as a bonus, you can wear your Halloween costume one more time. Pack your sleeping bag and a toothbrush and join a small group of fellow adventurers as one of the world’s most popular museums closes its doors and the crowds leave for the day. For kids ages 8-14.
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: November 2, 2-4pm (Rescheduled from 10/27)
The Yards is celebrating the spooky season with a puppy costume party at The Yards Park! Families and their furry friends are invited to enjoy Halloween festivities including Halloween crafts, costume face painting, puppy trick-or-treating, festive music and, of course, a puppy fashion show. Puppy parents can enter their pets into the competition for a chance to win gift cards to your favorite shops and restaurants at The Yards and other prizes.
Día De Los Muertos
Where: General Getty Neighborhood Park | Wheaton, MD
When: November 2, 2-4:30pm
Join Montgomery Parks to celebrate Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Originating in Mexico, the vibrant tradition is an opportunity for family and friends to gather and celebrate the lives of deceased loved ones. The festive event will include a Mariachi band, face painting, games and building a communal Altar de Ofrendas (Offerings). Altar de Ofrendas traditionally include candles, flowers, food, photographs, and mementos to honor the memory of passed relatives. Everyone is encouraged to bring items to include in the altar.
Where: Great Country Farm | Bluemont, VA
When: November 2-3
Admission: $10/adult, $8/child
Bring your leftover jack-o-lantern to a smashin’ session and let it fly! The Silo Drop and the Zip Wire Sploosh let you do the smashin’ yourself or bring your pumpkin to the Pumpkin Drop Zone and add it to the upside down “fireworks display” as the pumpkins are dropped from a 40-foot lift. You will be sure to love giving your pumpkin one final ride. (What happens to all those smashed pumpkins? The pigs and cows love to eat them and GCF composts the rest.) The Roosteraunt Concession stand will be open 11am-3pm — don’t miss the Cider Donuts! Of course, plan to enjoy the farm’s playground, full of fun, too!
Sunday Funday: A Halloween-Themed Event
Where: Wheaton Veterans Urban Park | Wheaton, MD
When: November 3
Keep the fun going after the big day and head at this Sunday Funday Halloween-themed event! Activities include a Halloween costume contest, pumpkin painting, s’mores roasting, face painting, balloon sculptues, lawn games, and a DJ and music. There will also be plenty of food, hot chocolate, cider, and beer available for purchase.
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.
Did I leave out any good ones? Let me know in the comments!