Tag Archives: What to do with kids in DC

Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Dracula and Fairy Butterfly Princess on Halloween 2012

Dracula and Fairy Butterfly Princess, Halloween 2012



Why wait until the actual day to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year? Besides the bonuses of getting more mileage out of costumes and having extra excuses to indulge in sweets, Halloween festivities are a treat any day. And there are loads of ways to get into the spooky spirit during the days leading up to the grand event. From no-fright fun to wicked cool thrills, here are the many ways you can scare up a good time this Halloween season. (Be sure to note that a few events will not occur if the shutdown is still in effect.)

Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum
When: October 11, 6-9pm
Admission: $14

Has your brother been spying on you? Is grandma really a secret agent? Does dad really have lethal ninja skills? Now’s your chance to find out as your family of spies gains exclusive after-hours access to the Museum, including the new exhibition Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains. Test your family’s spy skills as you run top secret missions, go deep undercover and transform your appearance with the help of professional make-up artists, challenge yourself in Code Cracker competitions, play VINGO (Villain Bingo), and enjoy SPY snacks and a chance to explore all forms of spy tradecraft. Come in disguise as your favorite spy! Includes exclusive after-hours admission, SPY snacks, scavenger hunt, prize competitions, and more! Space is limited — advance registration required.

“Eye Spy” Halloween Train
Where: Cabin John Regional Park
When: October 12, 13, 19, 20, & 24-30
Admission: $5 and a can of food

Hop on board the Halloween Train! Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Along the ride through the woods on the train, kids can try to find Halloween friends hiding along the way and mark them off their “Eye Spy” game cards that they receive with admission. Guests can also enjoy Halloween movies every night, face painting on Saturdays and Sundays, and light refreshments for sale. The train runs 3-8pm on weekdays and 1-8pm on weekends. Purchase tickets online.

Haunted Train & Creepy Carousel
Where: Wheaton Regional Park
When: October 12, 13, 19, 20, & 24-30
Admission: $5 and a can of food

Wheaton Regional Park’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel are back and scarier than ever! This annual Halloween attraction is best for guests ages 8 and up, because they do their best to make it “very scary” (and this is part of the website description, so take their word for it). Admission includes one ride each on the train and carousel, plus entrance to the Hall of Jack o’ Lanterns movie theater presenting scary films every night. The train runs 6-9pm each night. Purchase tickets online.

Planet Spooky & Trick-or-Treat with Dinos
Where: Kings Dominion
When: Weekends October 6-28, 12-5pm
Admission: Free with park admission
A brand new event at Kings Dominion, Planet Spooky will feature all of the treats (but no tricks) for little ones to enjoy! Some of adventures include a pumpkin painting patch, petting zoo, foam pit, pedal tractors, a hay maze, live shows and more, that all take place in the new Planet Snoopy at Kings Dominion – which features 18 rides, with many of the rides designed for families to experience together. During Planet Spooky, all of the rides in Planet Snoopy will be open. The park also unveiled its all-new Trick or Treat with Dinosaurs! Kings Dominion has a 6-acre animatronic dinosaur park called Dinosaurs Alive, with 39 life-sized dinosaurs that make sounds and move as if it was 65 million years ago. New in 2013, Kings Dominion will dress up several of these dinosaurs in costume and offer children a chance to trick-or-treat through Dinosaurs Alive with their families before Halloween!

Dia de los Muertos
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 6-27
Admission: Free
Join the American Indian museum for its annual Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), a celebration originating in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, to commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and welcome the return of their spirits. Learn and take part in this centuries-old tradition, which includes pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs alike. (Note: This will not occur if the shutdown is still in effect.)

Boostravaganza
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 17, 6-8pm
Admission: $8/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in their favorite costumes anytime between from 6-8pm. Enjoy fun, games, and a wagon ride. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so go here to sign up.

The Spooky Magic of Joe Romero
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: October 19, 1pm
Admission: $14
BlackRock celebrates the Halloween season with Joe Romano providing tricks that are a real treat. This skilled and exciting magician will perform jaw-dropping illusions for the whole family. Joe will float on a broom, turn a child into Harry Potter, make a friendly ghost appear, and more! Go early to join the free pre-show party, with arts & craft and a snack. The one-hour performance is recommended for children ages 4 and up.

Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: October 25-27, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members
Princesses, mythical creatures, kid-wizards, and other costumed guests are invited to join us at our annual Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo. There’s no safer or more exciting way for families with children ages 2-12 to trick or treat. A ticket is required for all attendees 2 years and older. Enjoy animal encounters and festive decorations along with tasty candy and delicious snack foods from more than 30 treat stations throughout the Zoo. Take a ride on our Conservation Carousel, too! Tricks optional. (Note: This will not occur if the shutdown is still in effect.)

Fall Harvest Festival Halloween Weekend
Where: Great Country Farms
When: October 26-27
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult, free for ages 2 and under

The farm’s annual seasonal festival includes Halloween fun for the weekend, when guests are encouraged to come in costume. Celebrate and create an unforgettable experience picking pumpkins, cheering on the fastest piglet, smashing pumpkins with P-Rex, getting lost in our corn maze and having your little princess meet their little princess. And don’t forget those freshly made Cider Donuts!

Wax Frightful
Where: Madame Tussauds
When: October 26, 10AM – 4PM
Admission: $20/adult, free for ages 4-12 (online)

Join Madame Tussauds for fun Halloween crafts, costume competitions, spooky tales and more! Three sessions are available at 11am – 12pm, 1-2pm, and 3-4pm.

Haunted Hangar
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: October 26, 7-9pm
Admission: $4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/ages 2-18, free for under 2

Wear your costume and enjoy fun fall themed activities. Explore the museum’s gallery and all of its hidden haunts. Arts, crafts, hayrides, and spooky fun are waiting for kids and families.

Falloween
Where: Market Common Clarendon
When: October 26, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

It’s a day of fall fun at the shopping center, including trick or treating, a costume parade (for people and pets), a Rocknoceros performance, a petting zoo, face painting, a kids circus, strolling entertainment, balloon creations and much more. People and pets in costume are invited to join in the FALLoween Parade at 11am, led by The Jokesters. Visit the website for the schedule of festivities.

Halloween at the Medical Museum
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: October 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join NMHM for some spooky Halloween fun on Saturday. Children of all ages are invited to learn about skulls through fun arts and crafts activities at NMHM’s free Halloween event. Visitors can also tour the Museum’s exhibits, which feature several full human skeletons and skeletal preparations. Halloween costumes are welcome.

Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: October 26, 2-7pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 7pm

Discover the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 9th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Be sure to pose for a photo with your favorite Star Wars character! (Note: This will not occur if the shutdown is still in effect.)

Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: October 26, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities
It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Explore the arts through hands-on crafts, Halloween activities, and performances at Glen Echo’s annual celebration. There will be pumpkin decorating and face painting ($1 fee for pumpkin; $1-2 for face painting) and other craft activities, including decorating trick-or-treat bags to use in the Park. And new this year are pumpkin-themed kiddie games with prizes. The Halloween celebration will conclude with a costume parade through the Park at 3:30pm. (Note: This will not occur if the shutdown is still in effect.)

Trick or Treat with the Boo-tiques
Where: Old Town Boutique District in Alexandria
When: October 26, 11am – 6pm
Admission: FREE

Bring your ghosts and goblins for a day of trick or treat in the Old Town Boutique District. The OTBD’s annual Trick or Treat with the Boutiques event is a great way for families to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween day in Old Town Alexandria. All of the participating OTBD stores will offer treats, and some may also offer family-friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged. Tricks and treats will be available during the day and during store hours.

Spooky Science
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: October 26
Admission: $16.95/adult, $13.95/ages 3-12

Celebrate the chills and thrills of Halloween at our fifth annual Spooky Science, where creepy chemistry and mysterious science combine to provide a hauntingly good time. There will be hair-raising activities, creepy crafts, and fangtastic demonstrations. Visitors can look forward to making gooey, glowing slime, decorating pumpkins and trick or treat bags, playing mummy bowling, and exploring mystery boxes filled with eerie items. Save room for more spooky fun with Reptiles Alive! Their live animal show will feature slithering snakes, terrifying toads, beaded dragons and more. Shows will be at 1pm and 3pm.

Fall-o-ween Family Festival
Where: Port Discovery
When: October 26
Admission: $13.95/ages 2 and up

Dress the kids up in their favorite costumes and join Port Discovery’s annual festival! Enjoy not-so-scary, family friendly programs and performances include nature-themed activities, crafts, tutu making, wildlife adventures, spooky science, live entertainment, and more.

Haunted… Chocolate House Workshop & Tea
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 26, 10am & 1pm
Admission: $12/members, $15/non-members

Enjoy a Spooktacular family friendly tour through the historic gardens. After the tour, children participate in a chilling chocolate workshop to create their own 3D haunted chocolate houses to take home! Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Monster Mash
Where: National Children’s Museum
When: October 26, 10am
Admission: $10, under 12 months are free

Bring your little “monsters” for a day of Halloween surprises, mask making, Sesame Street character fun and much more! Make sure to wear your best Halloween costume!

Haunted Halloween Pop-Ups
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 27, 1-3pm
Admission: $10/members, $15/non-members, adults are free

Celebrate the spirit of Halloween as you design your very own pop-up haunted house. Learn the pop-up architecture technique from guest artist Carol Barton. Decorate a spooky haunted house scene to take place on your window sill. Fun for the whole family, the festivities include crafts, treats, and ghosts stories (more silly than spooky!) about the Museum. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Prepaid registration required. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Baby Loves Disco Halloween Ball
Where: U Street Music Hall
When: October 27, 11am
Admission: $15/ticket or 4 for $55

Come dressed up in your costume (you, too, Mom and Dad!) for a special Halloween family dance party. Prizes, contests, tricks, and lots of treats will be part of the fun along with the always-groovy DJ-spun music set and energetic MC.

Crime Museum Halloween – Just for Kids!
Where: National Museum of Crime & Punishment
When: October 27, 1-5pm
Admission: $10/costumed child, $10/adults accompanying children

Batman, Wonder Woman, police officers, and all other costumed characters can enjoy a day of Halloween fun at this Penn Quarter museum. Festivities include a regular museum tour, Police Academy Jr. Activity Sheet, McGruff the Crime Dog appearances, finger print identification cards, candy, and more.

NSO Halloween Spooktacular: The Sequel!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 28
Admission: $15-18
Is it ever cool to “boo” the orchestra? It is on Halloween! But watch out, because at this frightfully fun follow-up to the NSO’s popular Halloween Spooktacular program, ghoulishly attired musicians might “BOO” you from behind their instruments in return! Don your spookiest ‘ween wear and come early for pre-concert trick-or-treating plus a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Then take your seats for a “spirited” performance as an incognito Ankush Kumar Bahl conducts a new round of goosebump-inducing favorites. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Joanie’s Halloween Party
Where: Discovery Theater
When: October 31 – November 1, 10am & 11:15am
Admission: $5-8

At this session of Tot Rock: Jammin’ at the Smithsonian, there’s no reason to scare up an excuse to dance like crazy when the energetic Brooklyn-based, kindie-rock band Joanie Leeds and The Nightlights make their Halloween debut at Discovery Theater. Leeds brings songs from her latest album, Bandwagon, along with other hits and kid-friendly Halloween tunes. The band will be in costume—and families can be, too! (Note: This will not occur if the shutdown is still in effect.)

Hilloween
Where: 7th Street SE in front of Eastern Market
When: October 31, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Capitol Hill’s annual event is a legendary neighborhood event 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. Hayrides, moon bounces, goody giveaways, and even a mini carousel add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.

Nightmare Manor Family Night
Where: Ijamsville, Md
When: November 1, 5-9pm
Admission: $20
Family Night is a fun and interactive Halloween experience suitable for all ages. Scares are toned down for younger children, and kids going through the haunt will be given magical rings that are capable of warding off all forms of ghosts and monsters in case they get too frightened. Go hungry and roast smores over the bonfire, or enjoy our other delicious foods.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Halloween, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Let the Halloween Festivities Begin!

Boba Fett walking to school... just one of many reasons why Halloween rules

 

Halloween may still be weeks away, but its spirit has been pervading for awhile. Mostly in the form of costume catalogs sliding through the mail slot, but also with cobweb covered front yards and, of course, hauntingly endless conversations with the kids about what/who to dress as this year. And we can take that even further with activities and events that celebrate the spirit, some starting as soon as this weekend. Here’s where the treats, tricks, scares, and kicks will be happening, listed in order of start date. Be sure to note that even though some may be weeks away, you can get your tickets now, and some require advance registration. And if there’s anything good that I’ve missed, feel free to mention it in the comments.

“Eye Spy” Halloween Train
Where: Cabin John Regional Park
When: October 6-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-31
Admission: $6/person, $5 with canned food donation, free for kids 2 and under

Hop on board the Halloween Train! Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Along the ride through the woods on the train, kids can try to find Halloween friends hiding along the way and mark them off their “Eye Spy” game cards that they receive with admission. Guests can also enjoy Halloween movies every night, face painting on Saturdays and Sundays, and light refreshments for sale. The train runs 3-pm on weekdays and 1-8pm on weekends.

Haunted Train & Creepy Carousel
Where: Wheaton Regional Park
When: October 6-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-31
Admission: $6/person, $5 with canned food donation

Wheaton Regional Park’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel are back and scarier than ever! This annual Halloween attraction is best for guests ages 8 and up, because they do their best to make it VERY SCARY (and this is the website description, so take their word for it). Admission includes one ride each on the train and carousel, plus entrance to the Hall of Jack o’ Lanterns movie theater presenting scary films every night. The train runs 6-9pm each night.

Howl-O-Fest
Where: Kings Dominion
When: Weekends October 6-28, 12-5pm
Admission: Free with park admission
It’s frightful fun for little ones at the Virginia amusement park with all sorts of treats at daytime during Howl-O-Fest’s Boo Blast. Families can enjoy a Halloween treasure hunt, foam pit, pumpkin painting and more! Kings Dominion is located in Doswell, about 90 minutes from DC. Admission to the park starts at $37.99 and you can usually find discounts online.

Nightmare Screamplex Family Night
Where: Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md
When: October 7 & November 2, 5-9pm
Admission: $20
Family Night at the haunted venue is a fun and interactive Halloween experience suitable for all ages. Kids going through the haunt will be given magical rings that ward off all forms of ghosts and monsters in case they get too scared. The show will be a “lights on” tour, but guests are welcome to bring flashlights. And on Family Nights only, regular admission gives you free access to tons of games and activities. Certifikid currently has a $12 admission deal.

Boostravaganza
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 18, 6-8pm
Admission: $8/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in their favorite costumes anytime between from 6-8pm. Enjoy fun, games, and a wagon ride. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so go here to sign up (use code #2824862701).

Dia de los Muertos
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 20-21
Admission: Free
Some consider Day of the Dead the native version of Halloween. At the museum, follow the monarch butterflies home and celebrate the return of the ancestors at the museum’s annual Dia de los Muertos program. This colorful celebration of life includes food demonstrations by the museum’s Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe and a cultural presentation by La Danza de los Tecuanes. Learn how papel picado, sugar skulls and paper mache figures are created.

Operation Undercover: Secrets of Disguise Workshop
Where: International Spy Museum
When: October 20, 10am – 12:30pm
Admission: $30

Ditch your Halloween costume and change your whole identity! Go deep undercover for a mission too secret to divulge in print. The intricacies of creating a cover identity complete with “pocket litter,” documentation, and disguise will be shared in this workshop where recruits will be transformed—you’ll learn to look like a different person, and think like one too. A cadre of professional make-up artists, hair stylists, and spy experts will be on hand as recruits prepare to take on the ultimate challenge: a mission to retrieve top secret intelligence while undercover. Will your cover be blown? Will your disguise withstand the test? For kids ages 8-11.

lil omm Halloween Party
Where: lil omm Yoga Studio
When: October 25, 3:15-4pm
Admission: Free
Put the BOO into Buddha! Tenley/Friendship children’s librarian Katie Fitzgerald and lil omm’s Pleasance Silicki invite you to a ghoulish good story time and Halloween inspired yoga. Come wearing costumes and get special treat. This free event is for families with children up to 5 years old.

Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: October 26-28, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members
This annual event is the wildest trick-or-treat in town. Kids ages 2 – 12 can get costumed up for after-hours Halloween fun at the Zoo. Get ready for tasty candy, delicious snack foods, and other goodies from more than 40 treat stations. Plus, animal encounters, keeper talks, and festive decorations are yours to enjoy. Boo at the Zoo takes place rain or shine. Buy tickets through Ticketmaster or in the Zoo’s gift shop between 9am and 4:30pm.

Glow Night – A Magical Evening on the Farm
Where: Great Country Farms
When: October 26-27
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult, free for ages 2 and under

See a spectacular display of over 3,000 lighted jack-o-lanterns carved by local school children. The magical moment when they cut the lights (7pm) will take your breath away. Bring your carved Jack-o-lantern to enter in a carving competitions — Jack-o-lanterns are judged for Best in Glow, Scariest and Funniest. Along with the light show, warm yourself by the bonfire, roast some marshmallows, and enjoy apple cider. The farm is open daily 9am – 9pm.

Air and Scare
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: October 27, 2-8pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 7pm

Discover the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 8th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Be sure to pose for a photo with your favorite Star Wars character!

Haunted Hangar
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: October 27, 12-4pm
Admission: $4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/ages 2-18, free for under 2

Wear your costume and enjoy fun fall themed activities. Explore the museum’s gallery and all of its hidden haunts. Arts, crafts, hayrides, and spooky fun are waiting for kids and families.

Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: October 27, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities
It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Explore the arts through hands-on crafts, Halloween activities, and performances at Glen Echo’s annual celebration. There will be pumpkin decorating and face painting ($1 fee for pumpkin; $1-2 for face painting) and other craft activities, including decorating trick-or-treat bags to use in the Park. Don’t miss the Pumpkin Promenade, a simple maze that children may walk through to pick up special prizes.

Falloween
Where: Market Common Clarendon
When: October 27, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

It’s a day of fall fun at the shopping center, including trick or treating, a costume parade (for people and pets), a Rocknoceros performance, a petting zoo, face painting, a kids circus, strolling entertainment, balloon creations and much more. Visit the website for the schedule of festivities.

The Spooky Magic of Joe Romero
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: October 27, 1pm
Admission: $14
BlackRock celebrates the Halloween season with Joe Romano providing tricks that are a real treat. This skilled and exciting magician will perform jaw-dropping illusions for the whole family. Joe will float on a broom, turn a child into Harry Potter, make a friendly ghost appear, and more! Go early to join the free pre-show party, with arts & craft and a snack. The one-hour performance is recommended for children ages 4 and up.

Halloween Monster Jump
Where: Pump It Up in Lanham, Md
When: October 27, 29, & 31, various times (See below)
Admission: $13/child, $5/adult
Calling all witches, goblins, princesses and superheroes ages 2 and up! You are invited to join Pump It Up in Lanham, Md, for their 4th Annual Pump It Up Monster Jump! Dress in costume for Halloween Jumping. (No makeup, swords or sharp objects allowed). The admission fee includes jumping, goodie bags, fun games, prizes, and more. Jump times are 7:30-9:30pm on 10/27, 5-7pm on 10/29, and 7-9pm on 10/31.

Hallowmarine
Where: DC National Aquarium
When: October 27, 12-4pm
Admission: $9.95/ages 11 and up, $4.95/ages 3-11, free for 2 and under
Ahoy! There be pirates at the National Aquarium! Enjoy live music from a real band of swashbucklers as Pirates for Sail sets the mood for the Hallowmarine celebration. Plus, participate in fun activities like face painting and a costume contest for kids; explore the mysteries lurking in our waters with a spooky scavenger hunt; and put your knowledge of animals to the test to win prizes.

Trick or Treat with the Boutiques
Where: Old Town Boutique District in Alexandria
When: October 27 during store hours
Admission: FREE

Bring your ghosts and goblins for a day of trick or treat in the Old Town Boutique District. The OTBD’s annual Trick or Treat with the Boutiques event is a great way for families to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween day in Old Town Alexandria. All of the participating OTBD stores will offer treats, and some may also offer family-friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged. Tricks and treats will be available during the day and during store hours.

Haunted… Chocolate House Workshop & Tea
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 27, 1-2:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $25/no-members, $7/accompanying adults

How do you build a chocolate house? Start with some tea – early America’s favorite pick-me-up – accompanied by lovely sandwiches, snacks and sweets and a costumed interpreter full of stories about tea-drinking history and lore. Next, out come delicious ingredients for your individual “haunted home-building” project (one per child), and you will learn how to construct your own three-dimensional chocolate house, decorated with edible wonders.

Westfield Family Spooktacular
Where: Westfield Wheaton Mall
When: October 27
Admission: Free
Have a wicked good time at Westfield Wheaton this Halloween season! Join the Westfield Family for some safe exciting fun as they host the annual Family Spooktacular event. Stores throughout the mall will provide treats for all of the ghouls and goblins that attend, so be sure to wear your costume. In addition to a safe trick-or-treating experience around the mall, there will be tons of free activities for families and children of all ages to enjoy, including arts & crafts and more.

NSO Halloween Spooktacular
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 28
Admission: $15-18
Is it ever cool to “boo” the orchestra? It is on Halloween! And during their Halloween Spooktacular, NSO musicians dressed up as ghosts, ghouls, and goblins just might peek out from behind their instruments to go “BOO” back at you! Go early outfitted in your spookiest ‘ween wear for pre-concert trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Haunted Halloween Pop-Ups
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 28, 1-3pm
Admission: $10/members, $15/non-members, adults are free

Celebrate the spirit of Halloween as you design your very own pop-up haunted house. Learn the pop-up architecture technique from guest artist Carol Barton. Decorate a spooky haunted house scene to take place on your window sill. Fun for the whole family, the festivities include crafts, treats, and ghosts stories (more silly than spooky!) about the Museum. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Prepaid registration required. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Crime Museum Halloween – Just for Kids!
Where: National Museum of Crime & Punishment
When: October 28, 1-5pm
Admission: $10/costumes child, $10/adults accompanying children

Batman, Wonder Woman, police officers, and all other costumed characters can enjoy a day of Halloween fun at this Penn Quarter museum. Festivities include a regular museum tour, Police Academy Jr. Activity Sheet, McGruff the Crime Dog appearances, finger print identification cards, candy, and more.

Halloween Party Smiles for Shira
Where: Potomac Community Center
When: October 28, 3-4:30pm
Admission: $25

Dress up in costumes and have some fun…it’s Halloween time, everyone! Join Mamas Link and Mizmarni and the JJs for a crazy party and concert featuring a special musical performance, sweet treats, costume photos, interactive games and activities, a parade and more. Proceeds from this fun for the whole family benefit the Smiles for Shira Foundation.

The Great Zucchini’s Halloween Party
Where: Discovery Theater
When: October 30-31, 10:15am & 11:30am
Admission: $5-8

You’ve heard of the Great Pumpkin. Now meet the Great Zucchini, a vegetable of a very different color—and one of the area’s most entertaining and in-demand kids’ magicians and comedians. There’s a yummy mix of amazing feats, interactive fun, and plenty of laughs waiting in his bag of Halloween tricks. Come in costume!

Hilloween
Where: 7th Street SE in front of Eastern Market
When: October 31, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Capitol Hill’s annual event is a legendary neighborhood event 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. Hayrides, moon bounces, goody giveaways, and even a mini carousel add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Fall, Festival, Free, Halloween, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

It’s All Good at Georgetown Waterfront Park

Cooling off at the Georgetown Waterfront

 

The Georgetown Waterfront Park is like a Joni Mitchell song in reverse: They unpaved a parking lot and put up paradise. A 10-acre sliver of local paradise, anyway.

Where there once was a big fenced-in blacktop area where you could overpay to leave your car for a few hours, is now a wonderful stretch of recreational space right along the Potomac River. And with elements that make it great for play and relaxation, plus a location that’s both scenic and convenient, it has become one of our family’s go-to spots to hang out this summer.

Hurray for the sprays!

Hurray for the sprays!

First, there is the fountain, which is no doubt the main draw for many people with kids, especially on a hot day. The line of sprays that arc over about a 50-foot area are as appealing to look at as they are refreshing to run through.  For the most part, kids (and accompanying grown-ups) play in them most, but the occasional park sun bather or passing jogger will detour to cool off under the sprinklers, too. It’s a great way to enjoy water play with little ones — they get to splash around in a relatively safe environment, and there’s not as much commitment as there is a with a pool (i.e., I don’t necessarily have to don a swimsuit to dash through the sprays).  There are also several benches facing the fountain, so it’s easy to see the kids if you want to sit while they play. You can also spread out a blanket in the grass nearby and watch from there.

A mellow moment by the river

A mellow moment by the river

The park’s offerings go well beyond the fountain. Nearby the sprays is a tiered cement seating right along the river banks where you can see and feed ducks and watch kayakers and boaters go by.  And all around, from the Washington Harbour to the start of the towpath, is a long expanse of grass dotted by trees and other recently planted shrubs and flowers.  There is seating throughout, both on benches and open areas on the lawn.

Images of Georgetown's past etched into granite

Images of Georgetown’s past etched into granite

A stone path runs along the edge of the park closest to the river, and narrow paved paths traverse within. Along the former, large granite blocks with etchings of historic images are pretty fascinating to see — pictures of crew teams, the Key Bridge, and other iconic scenes are accompanied by facts about the area. And for some added amusement, there is a large flat cement labyrinth within the grass that you can walk on and navigate to the middle.

An a-mazeing time at the park

An a-mazeing time at the park

If I have one complaint about Georgetown Waterfront Park, it’s the lack of shade. There are no umbrellas or canopies of any kind, and because the park is so new, most trees were just planted and aren’t yet big and leafy. But it’s easy enough to take a break from the sun on Water street where it’s sheltered, or you can make that your opportunity to grab lunch at one of the many nearby eateries in Georgetown. Hey, you can even see a movie or do some shopping while you’re in the neighborhood, too.

Georgetown Waterfront Park is located between Water Street and the Potomac River in Georgetown.  You can usually find parking along Water Street, often closer to the towpath. Otherwise, park in closer to M Street and walk down.  It’s also easy to get to by bike and the DC Circulator Bus. It’s open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.

 

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The Weekend Round-Up: November 4-6

A fall frolic on the National Mall.

 

These post-Halloween days are almost as enjoyable as the extravaganza itself. After weeks of costume discussions, trick-or-treat planning, and candy hiding (mostly from myself) so it’s not eaten before the big day, this respite between major holidays is welcome.  It won’t last long, as preparations for winter festivities are about to begin. (And I’ll be posting about them soon, but wanted to give you a chance to untie ghosts from trees and dispose of rotting pumpkins). So, in the meantime, enjoy these next few autumn days. Here are some ideas of where to do it. Happy Weekend!

Think Outside… – These splendid fall days are going to be fewer and farther between soon, so my top recommendation is to get out and enjoy them while you can. Do a quintessential DC outing and tour the memorials on the Mall. Go leaf peeping in the National Arboretum or explore the sprawling grounds of Brookside Gardens.  Hike amid brilliant foliage at Great Falls or Riverbend Park. Play the day away Cabin John Regional Park. The options are abundant, and you can find even more in KFDC’s list of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.

Smashing Pumpkins – Now that Halloween is over, you can get rid of those jack-o-lanterns that are starting to cave in on themselves on the front porch. And you can have a good time doing it at Great Country Farms’s Punkin’ Chunkin’.  Do the honors on their Silo Drop or Zip Wire Sploosh, or bring it to their Pumpkin Drop Zone to be added to the “fireworks display” as pumpkins are dropped from a 40-foot lift in the parking lot. And while you’re there, enjoy the rest of the farm’s attractions — cow trains, swings, slides, mazes — before the amusement shuts down for the winter.  Open from 10am – 5pm. Admission is $10/adults, $8/children.

Euro EntertainmentWe’re in the last week of the Kids Euro Festival, the program bringing a month of free continental artistic adventures to venues all over DC. This weekend see “A Cat in Paris” at AFI, “The Seasons of Palina” at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, several performances on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and much, much more. Check the schedule for times and details.

Rock Out with Recess MonkeySeattle’s celebrated band of teacher-rockers is coming to DC this weekend to perform three shows at two different venues. First, they are playing a free concert on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Saturday at 6pm.  For shows that might work better with little ones’ schedules, see them on Sunday, November 6, at Jammin’ Java at 11am or 2pm.  Tickets are $10 and available for purchase online.

Happy 90th, Phillips Collection!The museum housing masterpieces from some of the world’s most famous artists probably isn’t exactly a go-to spot for a day out with little ones.  But this Saturday is an exception. It’s the gallery’s 90th birthday/anniversary, and they’re celebrating with an all-day bash that includes free activities, gallery talks, and performances for the whole family. Cupcake favors will be handed out while they last, ballet students will be practicing among Degas paintings, an accordionist and a cappella group will perform for guests, and even more will be happening throughout the day from 10am – 8pm.  See the schedule for times and details.

Celebrate American Indian HeritageAmerican Indian leaders, traditions, and arts are commemorated on U.S. postage stamps, and the National Postal Museum is celebrating them with a day of activities for kids. Learn about American Indians on postage stamps; make a topical stamp collection; and enjoy storytime with a book about Sequoyah, the Cherokee man who gave his people written language. Join in the fun on Saturday from aam – 2pm.

Robin Hood  – Encore Stage’s production of the classic tale opens on Friday at 7:30pm, and there will be several shows to follow this weekend and next. Here’s what’s special about Encore’s performances: They are for children by children. Yes, it’s mostly a youth cast, and if their production of The Wizard of Oz is any indication, these kids will put on quite a show. The play will be performed at Artisphere’s Spectrum Theatre, tickets are $12/adults, $10/children and can be purchased online.

Children’s Flea MarketScore a few bargains and support some entrepreneurial kids at the McLean Community Center on Saturday from 11am – 1pm. Young vendors will have a variety of gently used items for sale.  A donation truck will be on hand after the event to take any unsold items.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Tunes ‘n’ (Pig) TalesEnjoy stories and music all about animals in this Teddy Bear Concert featuring The Three Pigs, Teddy Bear Rag, The Swan, and Baby Elephant Walk. Performed with a very unusual combination of instruments, NSO principal musicians Marissa Regni on violin and Dotian Levalier on harp join with Marissa’s father Albert Regni on four different saxophones to give each animal its own unique voice. And as a “little” surprise, along with full-sized instruments, the musicians perform on their miniature counterparts – a toy piano, a sopranino saxophone, and a tiny violin. Recommended for ages 3 to 5.  Tickets are $18.

Theatre on Strings – Take the kids to a puppet show at Glen Echo Park where The Three Billy Goats Gruff is currently being performed on Main Stage. Showtimes are 11:30am and 1pm Saturday and Sunday, recommended for pre-K and up. Tickets are $10 and available for purchase online.

Portrait Story Days – Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery from 1-4pm on Saturday and Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about Chief Joseph (1840-1904), chief of the Nez Perce.

America’s Got Talent AuditionsIs your child a star in the making? Well, here’s a chance to show the nation. America’s Got Talent is holding their DC auditions Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center, and kids (and adults!) of all ages are invited to try out for the show.  Doors open at 8am and close by 7pm.  Pre-registration and more info is available here.

 

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Filed under All ages, Art, Babies, DC, Festival, Free, Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Preschoolers, Preteens, Theatre, Toddlers, Virginia, Weekend