Category Archives: Halloween

Five Spooky & Mysterious Sites & Stories to Explore Around DC this Halloween Season

[Note: This is a guest post contributed by JoAnn Hill, a DC area educator and author of the book “Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.” ]

 

An Attorney General’s missing skull, a former first lady interred in a public vault for two years, a forsaken ghost town that was formerly a booming industrial town, intricately carved chainsaw sculptures in a local cemetery, and signs of the occult at the White House. Below are five fascinating sites and stories to uncover as you set out to explore the mysterious, bone-chilling, and downright spooky side of DC and its surrounding area this Halloween season.

Check out Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure to learn more about the hidden histories below as well as to discover dozens of additional gems and off-the-beaten path locales in and around the Washington, DC, area.

 

Congressional Cemetery: “Head’s Up: The Case of An Attorney General’s Missing Head”

Imagine receiving a phone call where the caller asks, “Would you be interested in getting William Wirt’s head back?” Such was the mysterious call that a Congressional Cemetery manager received in 2003.

William Wirt served as Attorney General under Presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams. Wirt holds the title of longest serving attorney general
 in United States history, and he is also credited with turning the position into one of national importance. In 1853, Wirt’s son-in-law built a massive family vault near the highest point of the cemetery, so large that it remains the biggest and most visible monument on the grounds.

Following the puzzling 2003 phone call, the cemetery manager decided to probe further. The lock had been removed from the door, and the vault had indeed been vandalized. It was eventually determined that Robert L. White had collected Wirt’s skull, adding to his bizarre collection of 40-some skulls.

Read All About It: Learn more about the bizarre case of Attorney General William Wirt’s missing head on pages 150-151 of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
Go and Explore: Congressional Cemetery is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Where: Congressional Cemetery is located at 1801 E Street SE.

* * * * * 

 

Congressional Cemetery: “Keep It in the Vault”

Over 3,000 individuals have been interred in the Congressional Cemetery’s Public Vault, including three presidents, one vice president, and two first ladies. Many stay here for only one to two days since it was never intended to be used for long-term stays. So, why was Dolley Madison interred in the Public Vault for two years, making her the longest known interment of the vault?

Dolley Madison was a trailblazer. She helped define the role of First Lady, was often credited with helping advance James Madison’s career, and perhaps most notably, saved a historic portrait of George Washington from being burned by British troops during the War of 1812. While the Madisons were among the elite, they weren’t immune to falling on hard times. As James Madison’s health began to deteriorate, he prepared his presidential papers to help secure financial security for Dolley after his death. Their son Payne’s recklessness, however, destroyed their finances.

Read All About It: Learn more about the Madison family’s financial woes and Dolley’s two-year stint in the public vault on pages 36-37 of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
Go and Explore: Congressional Cemetery is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Where: Congressional Cemetery is located at 1801 E Street SE.

* * * * * 

 

The Ghost Town of Daniels, MD: “Ghosted in Daniels”

When visiting a ghost town, it’s often difficult to imagine what stood there before. Signs of desertion and decay often cloud our ability to envision the possibility of past life and vibrancy. Daniels, once a booming industrial town in Ellicott City, Maryland, is now one of the most mystifying ghost towns in the DC area. An abandoned shell of its former self that’s faded away in a deep wooded forest, the ghost town of Daniels is now sadly characterized merely by rotting wood and crumbling stone.

Straddling the Patapsco River, the town of Daniels was originally settled in 1810 when Thomas Ely and his family moved here to establish a textile mill. The area around the mill became known as Elysville. Over 40 years later, the town was bought by the family of James S. Gary and renamed Alberton in recognition of their son Albert. The mill stayed within the Gary family for nearly a century until the Daniels Company came along and purchased the entire village in 1940. $65,000 bought them 500 acres and the right to change the town’s name from Alberton to Daniels.

Read All About It: Learn more about the ghost town of Daniels and its history on pages 70-71 of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
Go and Explore: The forsaken town is free and open dawn to dusk.
Where: Remnants of the ghost town of Daniels can be found in present-day Ellicott City, MD.

* * * * * 

 

Glenwood Cemetery: “Sprucing Things Up with Some Chainsaws”

Since 1852, Glenwood Cemetery, a historically private and secular cemetery, has been characterized by elaborate Victorian monuments and its notorious residents. It is the final resting place of George Atzerodt, a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and the infamous murderer Frederic De Frouville. More recently, however, the countless graves have been joined by less typical cemetery inhabitants: towering intricately carved wooden sculptures emerging out of the ground.

Faced with many aging and dead trees, along with those severely damaged in heavy storms, Glenwood Cemetery decided to turn an eyesore into creative art. The cemetery contacted a professional chainsaw artist, Dayton Scoggins, to transform the deteriorating trees into unique wooden sculptures. Inspired by passages in the Bible’s Book of Revelation, Scoggins used four large oak trees to carve the soaring sculptures.

Read All About It: Learn more about the four intricately carved chainsaw sculptures on pages 84-85 of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
Go and Explore: The sculptures are situated behind the cemetery’s Romanesque mortuary chapel.
Where: Glenwood Cemetery is located at 2219 Lincoln Road NE.

* * * * *

 

The White House: “As White as a Ghost”

The White House, often regarded as the People’s House, boasts the most recognizable address in America. While the stately residence symbolizes power, patriotism, and the American people, it has also been connected to the occult and is considered by many to be quite haunted, with countless sightings of former presidents, first ladies, and White House staff members.

One of the most frequent ghostly sightings is that of First Lady Abigail Adams. Adams used to hang laundry in the East Room, the warmest and driest room of the White House. Her apparition has been reportedly seen walking toward the East Room dressed in a lace shawl and cap with outstretched arms like she’s carrying laundry. President Andrew Jackson has been said to haunt the Rose Room as well as the halls of the president’s chambers. The Rose Room served as Jackson’s bedroom and is believed by many to be one of the White House’s most haunted rooms.

Without a doubt most persistently reported ghost sighting has been of President Abraham Lincoln. Many psychics believe that Lincoln’s presence has remained in the White House to serve as an aide during crises as well as to finish the work that was interrupted by his assassination.

Read all about it: Discover more about which famous White House ghosts have been sighted on pages 166-167 of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
Go and Explore: Public tour requests must be submitted through your Member of Congress. These self-guided tours are generally available on Fridays and Saturdays.
Where: The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

* * * * * 

 

JoAnn Hill has lived in Washington, DC, with her husband Thalamus and dog Jackson for over 19 years. An avid traveler and foodie, JoAnn writes about their DC living and dining experiences, as well as their global travel adventures, on her blog dcglobejotters.org. Her writing has been published in BELLA Magazine, Escape Artist, and Triptipedia. JoAnn served as a DC Public Schools teacher for 17 years before co-founding Capitol Teachers, a tutoring company servicing the greater DC area. Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure is her first book.

Leave a Comment

Filed under DC, Halloween, Maryland

Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween Around the DC Area

 

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
Admission: $6

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.

Howl-O-Ween
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
Admission: Free
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
Admission: Free

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!

Soul Strolls
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.

Meet some of the souls of Congressional Cemetery

PumpkinPalooza
Where: Alethia Tanner Park | NoMa, DC
When: October 28, 4-8pm
Admission: Free

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
Admission: $5-15

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
Admission: $42

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.

Howl-O-Ween
Where: Gateway Interim Dog Park | Rosslyn, VA
When: October 22, 3-7pm
Admission: Free

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 in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: October 23, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $2

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
Admission: $19

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
Admission: Free

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.

Air & Scare Outside
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: October 30
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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.

17th Street High Heel Race
Where: 17th Street NW, btwn P & S | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 26, 9pm
Admission: Free

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.

Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead Festival
Where: Online | National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 28
Admission: Free

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.

Hill-O-Ween
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 29
Admission: Free
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, wagon rides, face painting, and more exciting festivities (this is 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.

BOO-Thru
Where: 3 Locations in PG County, MD (see below)
When: October 29, 6:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

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
Admission: $50

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.

Howl-O-Ween
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: October 30, 9:30-11am
Admission: Free

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.

Family Day Piano Show
Where: Bobby McKey’s | National Harbor, MD
When: October 30, 4-6pm
Admission:

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
Admission: Free

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.

Halloween Spooktacular
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
Admission: Free

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.

Halloween Carnival
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
Admission: $10

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.

Family Dance Party
Where: Hi-Lawn @ Union Market | Northeast DC
When: October 31, 11-1pm
Admission: $10

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).

Pumpkin Chunkin’
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!

Fall Festivals
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.

 

Step right up for some haunted fun

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!

Shocktober
Where: Paxton House | Leesburg, VA
When: October 1-30
Admission: $40-60 

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.

Fright Fest
Where: Six Flags America | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Select days through October 31
Admission: $43+

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.

A neighborhood yard transformed for the holiday

Halloween Decor
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:
Amazon
Michael’s
Target
Home Depot
World Market

 

Did I leave out any good events? Let me know in the comments!

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Halloween, Maryland, Virginia

The Weekend Round-Up: October 30 – November 1

Halloween during an election year

 

Happy Halloweekend!

VOTE
Where: Voting Centers around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

If you haven’t yet voted, make it a priority to do so this weekend.  This post from earlier in the week has info on where and how to vote before Election Day in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Plan to bring the kids along, so they can see democracy in action! Note:  If you were planning to vote by mail, it’s now being recommend to drop it off at your local board of elections, a voting center, or a ballot drop box, so it is not received too late.

Ride On
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Family bike rides are an excellent activity for right now. You can enjoy the  fall weather and foliage while social distancing, and get some exercise, to boot. The DC area has plenty of good routes to ride, with something for every age and rider level. This post has a bunch of pedal-worthy recommendations, and this just posted ride is a perfect one for the whole crew.

Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: Through Sunday
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Annmarie is welcoming visitors all week for a self-guided experience. Wear your costume and stop by the front desk to say trick or treat — they’ll have treats for sure.  You can also find fun photo opps throughout the park, complete a corn maze, make a bat fly, try the spider toss, make a scarecrow, and grab an ArtLAB to-go kit.   And on your walk through the beautiful garden, enjoy the Ode to Autumn activities too.

The Witching Hour
Where: RFK Campus Lot 5 | Northeast DC
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: $29-55/vehicle

Halloween SZN at Park Up DC includes The Witching Hour, a family-friendly cinematic experience full of tricks and treats for all! There will be dancers, aerialists, fire spinners, drag queens, and more on this one of a kind magical Halloween adventure. Note: There is also a Witching Hour After Dark event for adults on Saturday.

Hilloween
Where: Online
When: Through October 31
Admission: Free

Hilloween, Capitol Hill’s annual Halloween celebration is virtual in 2020 with an experience that will engage families and community members. Enjoy an online costume contest (winners announced at virtual Hilloween Experience), live pumpkin carving, interactive family games and fun prizes, and a spooky zumba dance party.  The costume contest is live on their Facebook page — hashtag #Hilloween2020 or HilloweenDC on any of your Facebook posts wearing your costume to enter the contest. You can also enter by uploading your photo. Stay up to date on news, announcements, and events related to Hilloween here.

Halloween Szn at Park Up Drive-In
Where: RFK Parking Lot | Northeast DC
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $29-45/vehicle

There are several films in Park Up’s drive-in movie lineup this weekend, both family-friendly and for adults. Hocus PocusBeetleJuice, and I Know What You Did Last Summer are among the options. Visit the website for days and times.

Halloween Drive Up Movie Night
Where: Lerner Town Square | Tysons, VA
When: Friday, 8:30pm
Admission: $100 for remaining tix
Join this family-friendly, socially distanced Fall & Halloween evening for a night of great fun, all in support of an amazing cause: Helping the Greater DC/Virginia Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation work towards cures for the 3.1 Million Americans fighting IBD. The drive-up movie night will feature Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright & Beetlejuice. Car trick-or-treaing, a car costume contest, and an individual costume contest are part of the fun, too.

Glow in the Park
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $56

Celebrate the holiday at the park’s spooky Halloween-themed Glow in the Park. Wear your costume for a chance to spin the prize wheel — you could win free tickets, a t-shirt, or something else special. Tickets are good for two hours of climbing & ziplining + 40 minutes for a safety briefing and getting geared up. Ages 5 & up welcome. Very few tickets are left, so reserve now.  (Of course, you can opt to go another time if you can’t snag spots for this weekend.). Read more about the awesome Adventure Park in this KFDC post and this one — while they are from early experiences there, the adventure is still the same.

Día de Los Muertos Virtual Celebration
Where: Online
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Free

Join the National Museum of the American Indian for their annual Dia de Los Muertos Celebration — only this year it’s virtual. All weekend, celebrate the Day of the Dead from home with activities for families, beautiful art, and the rich culinary heritage of this tradition. The program will be streamed on the museum’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Halloween at the Station
Where: The Station | Riverdale, MD
When: October 31, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Spooky season has finally arrived and The Station, formerly Riverdale Park Station, is ready to celebrate with costumes, candy, contests and more! Visitors will be able to enjoy socially-distanced outdoor activities including mini golf, a self-guided photo scavenger hunt, a prize raffle, and more. The scavenger hunt is designed for the whole family to enjoy with four festive photo stops throughout the development, ending with a special treat delivered by a custom Halloween candy chute. Guests will also be able to purchase additional food items from The Station’s retailers including District Taco, Habit Burger Grill, Denizens, Jersey Mike’s, MOD Pizza, and Burtons as well as a food truck on-site. RSVP to let them know you’re going!

More Wicked Fun
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

It’s Halloweekend!  While Halloween looks a lot different this year, there are still ways to celebrate that also allow for social distancing. In person events are listed above, but you can find some virtual trick and treats in this annual post.

In America, How Did this Happen
Where: RFK/DC Armory | Northeast DC
When: Through November 6
Admission: Free

On the expanse of grass in front of the DC Armory and RFK Stadium, a small white flags has been planted for every life lost to Covid-19 in the U.S. — over 227,000 and that number is growing daily.  The art installation, “In America, How Did This Happen,” was created by Bethesda-based artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, and it’s being updated with the help of visitors who volunteer.  As I said when I first saw it and posted about it on IG last weekend, both the sight and number are staggering.  It’s free and open to visit,  or you can watch a live feed of the installation here.  By now, you’ve likely had a conversation with the kids about the many deaths caused by Covid, but if not, be prepared to if you bring them. (PS:  The playground at RFK Fields is very close, as is Kingman Island for other nearby activities.)

Fall Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take in the brilliant color spectrum of autumn and get a little exercise to boot on a family hike. From right here in the city to country locales, you’ve got your pick of places where you can enjoy the fall foliage and some time outdoors. This post about good area hikes with kids started in the early KFDC days, and with many new recommendations added since, there are lots of great recommendations to make for happy trampers.

Victura Garten
Where: The REACH | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: Free

On weekends, the grounds of The REACH, the Kennedy Center’s immersive extension, transform into Victura Park, an outdoor family-friendly pop-up wine garden & café. For October, however, they’ve partnered up with Solace Outpost for a Bavarian themed month at the Park. Enjoy craft beers and great foods as you hang out in the lovely outdoor area overlooking the Potomac River. Victura Park hours are Friday 3-10pm, Saturday 12-10pm, and Sunday 12-8pm (also, Thursday 3-10pm).

Fall for Seasonal Festivals
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Celebrate the season at a fall festival. From pumpkin patches and petting zoos to corn mazes and hayrides, many farms around the DMV (or just beyond) are still offering traditional activities to enjoy in safe ways. This post has details on where all the fall fun is happening.

Autumn Adventures Off the Farm
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Farm festivals may be the go-to autumn outing, but there are lots of other fantastic ways to enjoy the season around the area. This KFDC post lists a bunch of great places for fall adventures.

Crystalline
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 3
Admission: $12-17/child, $19-24/adult

ARTECHOUSE, known for its visually stunning digital art, has transformed the gallery into a blue-hued haven intended to evoke calm and peace during a turbulent time. Like all of the exhibitions there, just about all of it is interactive, as the images change with viewers’ motions, encouraging play.  Immersing into the depths of the color, even just for a little while, is a  dazzling and delightful escape from the bizarre Covid world outside.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks around Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Join an evening campfire at Lake Accotink Park or see a blacksmith demonstration at Colvin Run Mill.  Details and registration for these and many more nature upcoming activities are available here.

The Inside Scoop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Not all outings have to be outside.  Lots of indoor places have reopened with extra precautions to ensure safety during COVID. This post has details on where you can hang out inside, and this one has suggestions especially for little kids.

Entertainment, Euro Style
Where: Online
When: Through November 29
Admission: Free

International travel may not be possible right now, but you can still enjoy European adventures. The annual Kids Euro Festival has gone digital this year, offering families all over the world access to an extended virtual festival with a full 6 weeks of online programming — all of it free! Through November 29, tune in for performances, concerts, workshops, movies, storytelling, puppetry, dance, and more.

 

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Planet Word opened last week, and it just may be my new favorite museum in DC.  Tickets currently are sold out, so follow them on social media to be notified of the next release. (PS: KFDC post about it coming soon!)
* Family Halloween movies to stream.
* Capitol Hill’s legendary trick or treating isn’t happening this year, but there are still some houses decked out in Halloween decor, and they are all noted on this Spooky Hill Halloween map.
* Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed this weekend for repairs, something to be aware of if you’re driving into and out of the city from Virginia.
* Seriously, what are we gonna we talk about?
* Happy Halloween! 😂 😱

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Halloween, Maryland, Movies, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: October 23-25

Fun and fall on a recent disc golf outing with friends

 

 

Happy Weekend!

Leaf Peep on the Trail
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take in the brilliant color spectrum of autumn and get a little exercise to boot on a family hike. From right here in the city to country locales, you’ve got your pick of places where you can enjoy the fall foliage and some time outdoors. This post about good area hikes with kids started in the early KFDC days, and with many new recommendations added since — including a new write up about Sky Meadows State Park — there are lots of great recommendations to make for happy trampers.

Inside Out(ings)
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Not all outing have to be outside. Lots of indoor places have reopened their doors, and they are all taking extra precautions to ensure safety during COVID. This post has details on outings that take place inside and this one has suggestions especially for little kids.

Spooktacular Drive-In Flicks
Where: Akridge Lot at Buzzard Point | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday
Admission: $20/vehicle

Grab your popcorn and join the Capitol Riverfront BID for a drive-in movie at the Akridge Lot (First and V St. SW) in Buzzard Point next to Audi Field.  The movie is a fun, contact-free experience for all ages with space for 75 vehicles set at an appropriate social distance.  Us  is the spooktacular flick being screened this weekend. Proceeds will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank.

Drive-In “Spooky” Movie Nights
Where: DC Party Box | Rockville, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $15/adult, $10/13 & under

Enjoy Sppoktacular 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 7pm and a classic or scary movie 10pm. This weekend it’s Goosebumps and Pet Sematary on Friday, Casper and The Exorcist on Saturday, and Gremlins and Scream on Sunday. Reserve in advance online, one reservation per car.

Halloween Szn at Park Up Drive-In
Where: RFK Parking Lot | Northeast DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission:

There are several films in Park Up’s drive-in movie lineup this weekend, both family-friendly and for adults. Hocus Pocus, Goosebumps, Vampire in Brooklyn, and Child’s Play are among the options. Visit the website for days and times.

More Wicked Fun
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There are even more ways to get the Halloween party started that also allow for social distancing. See what’s coming up around the area and access virtual activities from some of your favorite places. This annual post has details on where to find the tricks and treats.

Victura Garten
Where: The REACH | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: Free

On weekends, the grounds of The REACH, the Kennedy Center’s immersive extension, transform into Victura Park, an outdoor family-friendly pop-up wine garden & café. For October, however, they’ve partnered up with Solace Outpost for a Bavarian themed month at the Park. Enjoy craft beers and great foods as you hang out in the lovely outdoor area overlooking the Potomac River. Victura Park hours are Friday 3-10pm, Saturday 12-10pm, and Sunday 12-8pm (also, Thursday 3-10pm).

Pumpkins in the Park
Where: Canal Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $20

Canal Park will be transformed into the neighborhood’s very own “pumpkin patch” as the community is invited to pick their pumpkin in a safe, socially-distanced fashion (no more than 15 people in the pumpkin patch at one time) while supplies last. Take-home decorating kits will also be available along with the option to have your pumpkin painted by local artist Painted Palettes. Purchase tickets in advance.

Drive-Thru Trot or Treat
Where: North Star Stables | Delaplane, VA
When: Sunday
Admission: By donation

It’s all horsing around at the trick-or-treat for a cause! Support North Star’s equine team and therapeutic riding scholarship fund with a drive-thru trick-or-treat! While Covid restrictions preclude them from hosting their normal Halloween celebration, North Star is excited to offer a drive-thru Halloween! Join to see their awesome horses in costume and collect treats (non-candy treats available) along the facility’s fence line! They ask each car to contribute a small, monetary donation.

Fall Festing
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Celebrate the season at a fall festival. From pumpkin patches and petting zoos to corn mazes and hayrides, many farms around the DMV (or just beyond) are still offering traditional activities to enjoy in safe ways. This post has details on where all the fall fun is happening.

Other Autumn Adventures
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Farm festivals may be the go-to autumn outing, but there are lots of other fantastic ways to enjoy the season around the area. This KFDC post lists a bunch of great places for fall adventures.

Disc Golfin’
Where: Courses around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a nice fall day outdoors with the family. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses, many of them set up in scenic places, are lovely this time of year. This post has info about one in College Park, and there are also great courses at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, MD, and Burke Lake Park in Burke, VA.

Go Green Design Challenge Kick Off
Where: KID Museum | Online
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

KID Museum and Pepco are teaming up to bring you a free, family design challenge! Families are invited to use common household materials to come up with a prototype of their own environmentally-friendly invention. Your idea might involve the creative re-design of an existing item, like a more efficient window or appliance, or something entirely new. Join the museum on Saturday morning for the virtual kick-off, where you’ll receive a rundown of challenge guidelines, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the Pepco WaterShed Sustainability Center. Then put your imagination and your design skills to work!

Virtual Artful Conversations
Where: National Gallery of Art | Online
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am
Admission: Free

The National Gallery of Art’s popular program for art enthusiasts ages 7–12 is returning virtually with a special guest. Haywood Turnipseed Jr., a writer and stand-up comedian, will help participants find the humor in art. Sign up for an online session — it’s free, but registration is required.

Crystalline
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 3
Admission: $12-17/child, $19-24/adult

To wrap up this unprecedented year, ARTECHOUSE has transformed their gallery into a blue-hued haven intended to evoke calm and peace during a turbulent time. Like all of their exhibitions, just about all of it is interactive, as the images change with viewers’ motions, encouraging play.  Immersing into the depths of the color, even just for a little while, is a beautiful — and fun — escape from the bizarre Covid world outside.

Euro Entertainment
Where: Online
When: Through November 29
Admission: Free

International travel may not be possible right now, but you can still enjoy European adventures. The annual Kids Euro Festival has gone digital this year, offering families all over the world access to an extended virtual festival with a full 6 weeks of online programming — all of it free! Through November 29, tune in for performances, concerts, workshops, movies, storytelling, puppetry, dance, and more.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks around Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Make a scarecrow with the fam at Sully Historic Site. Solve a Halloween mystery at Riverbend Park. Appreciate colors of the forest at Lake Fairfax Park. Details and registration for these and many more nature activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Monuments: Creative Forces
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Through October 25
Admission: $5-30

This unique outdoor art installation throughout Strathmore’s 16 acres sounds like an ideal exhibition for COVID times, being in fresh air with a lot of space. Monuments: Creative Forces by Australian artist Craig Walsh features moving, dimensional video portraits of artists whose work and artistic endeavors are changing the shape of our community in profound ways. The expansive portraits of these creative heroes were chosen by a diverse panel of community and arts leaders are projected on to towering trees, transforming them into animated sculptural monuments.

Even More Activities
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

If you want even more ideas for things to do over the weekend, this post has plenty of inspo, listing both ongoing activities around the area as well as information on reopenings.

 

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Washingtonian’s recs for 6 nearby wineries with lots of space and great views.
* Tickets are available for Free Community Days at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Reserve them for November 1 and November 15.
* Due to COVID, the annual DC Bike Ride, usually a one-day event that takes place throughout DC streets, will become the DC Virtual Ride from November 1-21. Find out how to participate here.
* Get 25% off Tea Collection during their Friends & Family Event.
* Cancelled: Enchant Christmas, the event that transformed Nationals Park into a holiday wonderland last winter, will not take place this year.
* Watson Adventures has a Wizard School Virtual Scavenger Hunt coming up on November 15.  These fill up fast, so sign up soon!
* An informative article perfect for the weekend.😉
* The panda cam is always a heartwarmer.🐼

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Farm, Halloween, Maryland, Ongoing, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Weekend