[Note: This is a guest post contributed by Canden Arciniega from DC by Foot.]
Every year, Georgetown takes on a new GLOW with temporary light installations designed by visual artists from all over the world. DC by Foot offers a walking tour that explores both the Georgetown Glow art and permanent street art and murals in the neighborhood.
TOUR DETAILS: * Runs Wednesday – Sunday through January 22, 2023, including on Christmas and New Year’s Day. *Select dates are pay-what-you-want while others are ticketed. Tickets are $35/adult, $20/youth (4-16), and kids under 4 are FREE. Ticketed groups are smaller and come with your own glow sticks! * Starts outside Four Season’s Hotel and ends at Potomac & M Streets NW.
1. It’s interactive! DC by Foot’s guides don’t lecture memorized facts, so the tours are engaging and fun, even for the youngest visitors. And with small groups on the tour, you’ll have time to interact with the different light installations. For 2022, the tour ends at the Cloud Swing, a set of actual swings that light up clouds above when you swing high enough! You’ll also see Picto Sender Machine, a low-resolution screen where you can record a video message.
2. It’s only 1.5 hours and 1 mile. As much fun as the tour is, kids’ attention spans are only so long. The tour is a highlight 1.5 hours with only one mile of walking. [NOTE: It is NOT stroller friendly due to stairs and Georgetown sidewalks.]
3. It starts at 5:30pm. There isn’t a lot to enjoy about early sunsets (except maybe sneaking bedtime a bit earlier than usual). But with early nightfall, DC by Foot starts the tour at 5:30pm, making it a great family activity that won’t keep everyone out too late!
4. It ends outside the best macron shop in Georgetown. We’re all okay with bribes, right? Stop at Olivia Macaron shop for a tasty (but small and non-messy) colorful treat after the tour.
[Note: This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children. She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ activities around the DC area. See some of them here, here, here,]
An oasis of Christmas magic awaits you at National Harbor’s Gaylord Resort & Convention Center. If you’ve never been, you’ve likely still heard of ICE!, the resort’s annual holiday season event boasting incredible, themed ice sculptures. But the ad on your social media feed doesn’t illustrate the extent of the elaborate, immersive experience, in addition to the world-class Christmas Village and overall holiday joy carried throughout the resort.
My family spent the night at Gaylord prior to attending the holiday events, and it may be our new tradition. We arrived at sundown when the magic is really at its best. The balcony to our room overlooked the entire atrium, aglow with a Christmas tree and twinkling lights overhead. The core memories being created were 1000% worth a night of sharing a room with two over-excited kids. We also spied the amazing Christmas Dream Suitesfrom our room.
The next morning, the Christmas Village and ICE! – themed around A Christmas Story – were officially open. Plan to start your experience with ICE! – an outdoor, tented exhibit space chilled to an unimaginable 9 degrees. Think ice bar or walk-in freezer if you’ve ever been in one, and bundle up in your warmest gear. Parkas are also provided but are not warm enough on their own, though cute for a family photo op.
No words can fully describe ICE! and the mind-blowing, multi-colored ice creations that a team of ice carvers from Harbin, China, are brought in to build. On your way in, there is a small display showing the process and tools used – try to pause and explain things to your kids beforehand – they may be too cold to chat in the exhibit. And if they have yet to see A Christmas Story, watch some of the classic scenes ahead of time to make it more meaningful as well.
Hopefully your kids aren’t too cold in ICE! to take advantage of the coolest (pun intended) ice slides ever. Otherwise, you should head directly to Snow Flow Mountain indoors and plan to park it there for awhile. This four-lane tubing slide does not mess around! The height requirement is 42” and it makes total sense once you see how fast the tubes careen down the slope. The smiles and laughter are priceless.
Next, we checked out Snow Factory, where you can build and toss real snowballs, but it wasn’t quite ready for our visit. Temporary disappointment until we saw the next stop was a visit with Santa – the real one according to my 5-year-old (I’m more discerning with my Santas). After the prerequisite photo-op, we spotted a gingerbread girl named “Cinnamon” and followed her to the Gingerbread Decorating Corner. My kids chose the pre-constructed houses over cookies.
On our way out of the Christmas Village, we said hi to Mrs. Claus, who leads 25-minute Christmas Traditions experiences featuring story readings, sing-a-longs, and cookies with milk. (Tickets must be purchased in advance.) We got bundled up to head back outdoors to the Ice Skating and Ice Bumper Cars area (but not really on ice), but my kids were a bit holidazed so we decided to call it a day – and a very memorable one at that.
Christmas at Gaylord National runs daily from November 20 – December 31. ICE! is back after a two-year hiatus, so expect it to be a popular event, especially on weekends. Tickets start at $25/child and $37/adult; ages 3 and under are free.
More Tips & Info * There are professional photo-ops at ICE! and with Santa. Be prepared to pay $25 per photo or take your own photos where photo-taking is allowed. * Have a place to store your cold weather gear after ICE! or make a run to your car to drop things off once you are settling indoors. *Cirque: Spirit of Christmas and The Greatest Story Stage Show begin November 25, both shown in the Gaylord National atrium. * Harbor Social is a super kid-friendly option for dinner at the resort. There are games everywhere, including duckpin bowling (call to reserve a lane in advance). * Stop by The Holiday Sweet Shoppe at the resort for some treats and nostalgia. *Holidays at National Harbor includes a nightly tree light show, as well as fireworks Saturday nights November 12 – December 17 at 5:30pm.
Enjoying a full-service meal while watching a movie isn’t a new thing. In fact, one of my early dates with Levi maaaany moons ago was at what was then the Bethesda Cinema and Draft House (anyone else remember it?). We’ve also enjoyed food and flicks (and live shows) across the river at the Arlington Cinema and Draft House over the years. The concept, however, is somewhat new to DC.
The Alamo Drafthouse DC Bryant Street, as its officially called, opened a little less than a year ago. The Alamo is a chain, and while there are other locations in the DMV, including one opening next week in Crystal City, this is the only one in the District. I’d heard about it awhile back — my friend, Elsa, first told me how her whole family loves it — but I hadn’t actually been until a couple of weeks ago. It was with Elsa that I caught a showing of Don’t Worry Darling for my first taste of the theater and its offerings. And even though I wasn’t there with the kids, I can say with certainty that it would be a great place to go with them.
Located in Northeast DC, just off Rhode Island Avenue, The Alamo is housed in a new modern building with more features than your typical movie theater. There are nine auditoriums/theaters that have nice leather reclining seats. One of them is the Big Show, which they describe as “freakishly huge” and apparently uses extra awesome, premium technology for an immersive experience. All of the theaers offer extensive food and drinks menus. But the key part is the food service. You order from a server, so there’s no waiting in line ahead of the film or worry that you’ll miss anything going to get food. It elevates the experience and makes for a more chillaxed time altogether.
A nice DC touch is the Hall of Presidents in the lobby with portraits of movie presidents hanging on walls and fun photo ops. On top of that, The Highbinder is a spy-themed lounge serving cocktails and craft beers (if you want to make it a KidFree outing). I didn’t hang out there, but it’s nice to know about for an evening out sometime.
Like many theaters now, you can reserve seats ahead to get your preferred spot. And even though you have seats, it’s good to get there early to get your food order in. The food I tried was tasty, and Elsa said she and her family have enjoyed many of the menu items, too. There is also a Kids Menu for little eaters. A server comes in ahead of the movie and explains the system for ordering… you write it down (they provide paper and pens), then place it in a clip at the front of your little “table” so they know you’re ready to order.
A couple of other good-to-know things:
1) You can book theaters for private events. Right now, they’re promoting office holiday parties there, but it would also be a cool place for a birthday party or other celebration.
2) metrobar dc is literally right outside of The Alamo if you wanted to do dinner and a movie and outdoor drinks after.
3) There is parking in the underground garage there with up to four hours free with validation. Just let them know your license plate number at the concierge desk in the lobby.
The Alamo Drafthouse DC Bryant Street
Where: 630 Rhode Island Ave. | Northeast DC
When: Daily, movie times vary
Admission: Matinee – $13/adult, $11/child, $12/senior
After 4pm – $15/adult, $13/child, $14/senior
Autumn is a fantastic time to plan a family outing to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The views of the colorful banks of the Potomac River are worth the trip alone and provide the perfect backdrop for festivals and celebrations.
On October 22 & 23, the estate hosts its annual Fall Harvest Festival, a family-friendly event where you can meet General Washington, watch demonstrations of 18th-century farming, cooking and candle making, and purchase freshly baked bread from a reproduction clay oven. During Fall Harvest Festival, Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field becomes the site of a Craft Beer Tasting. Tickets purchased in advance include six tastings from local breweries and a commemorative glass.
Now that autumn is here, the holidays are right around the corner and with them, Mount Vernon’s annual holiday events. Kick-off the season with the Christmas Illuminations fireworks display, December 16 & 17. During Mount Vernon by Candlelight, which takes place on select weekends in November and December, take a guided candlelit tour of the historic area and learn about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia.
Mount Vernon is a destination where past truly meets present. George Washington’s Mansion and many of the estate’s original structures appear just as they did over two hundred years ago. A four-acre working farm, complete with heritage-breed animals, offers demonstrations of Washington’s innovative farming practices.
Included with general admission, the museum features exhibits filled with hundreds of artifacts detailing the history of Mount Vernon. While there, don’t miss the two high-tech theaters that let you experience history in uniquely interactive ways.
A fun way for families to explore Mount Vernon is with the Adventure Map that takes them on a puzzle-solving scavenger hunt. The maps can be picked up in the Ford Orientation Center. Written clues and colorful pictures guide families on an exploration of nine locations across the estate. Kids who complete the hunt and solve the puzzle even receive a special prize.
Ready to plan your visit? Save 20% on admission with the promo code KIDFRIENDLY: Buy Tickets Here
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 1-30
Admission: $6/Cabin John, $8/Wheaton
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 11am – 6pm, and it’s best to purchase tickets in advance online to guarantee a ride (only a limited amount are available onsite.) Purchase for Wheaton here and Cabin John here.
Witchwartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: October 1-31
Admission: $15/age 2+
The wonderful Puppet Co. has reopened and just in time for Halloween! Witch Wartsmith (the sister of Witch Wartsmith from our Legacy show Rapunzel,) hosts the annual Halloween Spooktacular and you get to vote on the winner! Part contemporary competition show, part vintage telethon, and part punpalooza, this spooky variety show will tickle your funny bone. Don’t miss this year’s performances, because some contestants will change year to year. Shows are performed Thursdays and Fridays at 10:30am, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am & 1pm
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: October 1-31, Saturdays & Sundays
Join the Haunted Lab if you DARE for frightfully fun science! Special activities include Frankenslime, Bug Out, Monster Genetics, and more. Costumes are welcome. Read more about the Lab (during non-Halloween) in this KFDC post.
Where: Great Wolf Lodge | Williamsburg, VA
When: Through October 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.
Book Some Halloween Fun
Where: DC Public Libraries | Around DC
When: Several October dates
Story times, crafts, and children’s parties all with Halloween themes are taking place at libraries around the city. Drop in for the fun — all of the activities are free! Be sure to check age recommendations to confirm they’re appropriate for your child as they vary by event. (Follow the link then search keyword Halloween.)
Spooky History Tour
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Several October dates
Admission: $15/member, $18/student, $20/non-member
Explore the haunting legends of the National Building Museum through stories collected over the decades. Hear tales of the historic site which defy easy explanation, while exploring the hidden features of the breathtaking structure. These after-hours tours are recommended for ages 13+.
Ichabod: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Where: Creative Cauldron | Falls Church, VA
When: October 6-30
Journey back in time to a quiet glen called Sleepy Hollow, where the denizens of the town are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new school master, Ichabod Crane. An adaptation of Washington Irving’s Classic tale of lore, love and the legendary Headless Horseman, this World Premier Musical by the critically acclaimed creative team Conner and Smith arrives just in time for autumn leaves, pumpkins, and ghost tales around the campfire.
Halloween Hunt Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC When: October 6-31 Admission: $35-50
Celebrate the BOO season on this zany treasure hunt as the Mansion is decorated for Halloween. Have fun searching for Autumn & Halloween themed items found only at this legendary spot that contains over 100 rooms and 70 secret doors! They guarantee you can see at least 60 of the rooms, but be warned secret doors are tricky to find — if you find 2 or 3 you are an above average sleuth! Read more about this wonderfully unique DC attraction in this KFDC post. [Note that admission is $50 on Halloween weekend.]
Where: Synetic Theater| Crystal City, VA
When: October 13 – November 6
The sensuous and terrifying thriller arrives on the Synetic stage just in time for Halloween. With blood-sucking temptresses and creeping mists sure to send a chill up your spine, Stoker’s classic 1897 tale rises again. Dracula, the legend that inspired an entire genre of literature and film, explores the universal theme of good versus evil. As a bloodthirsty vampire terrorizes the countryside, an unlikely group fights to defend their home. Recommended for teens and older.
Where: Congressional Cemetery | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 14-15 & 21-22
Admission: $35/adult, $15/child
Immerse yourself in the world of criminal sin and discover the secrets of Congressional Cemetery’s interred residents in this year’s Soul Strolls. The annual twilight tours, explore the stories of individuals buried there through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Experience the history of the hallowed ground exactly the way it should be experienced in October – in twilight and darkness, encountering vignettes and individuals led by an expert guide. Hour-long tours depart every 15 minutes from 6-9:30pm.
Meet some of the souls of Congressional Cemetery
Halloween Family Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 22, 10am – 4pm
Head to the Library of Congress for a very exciting, non-spooky Halloween event! Enjoy a day family-friendly activities including a very special program at 2pm with beloved authors R.L. Stine, author of the “Goosebumps” series, and Mary Pope Osborne, author of the “Magic Tree House” series. Free timed-entry passes are required, so be sure to reserve them in advance! There will also be“spooky” art activities, stories available in a reading corner, creepy music, and fantastical images from the Library’s collections. Halloween costumes welcome. And note that the program with Stine and Osborne will feature spooky elements, including eerie lights, frightening characters, and surprises for the audience. The event will be livestreamed on the Library’s YouTube page. (PS: Check out this sweet video of Owen interviewing Mary Pope Osborne at the National Book Festival when he was 6!)
Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: October 22, 10am – 4pm
Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, and more! Over 50 local businesses and organizations will be handing out treats for the kids, plus there will be fun and games, a DJ dance party, food trucks, and lots of other festivities. Read more about Annmarie here and here.
Where: Maryland Science Center | Baltimore, MD
When: October 22, 12-4pm
Admission: $26.95/adult, $20.95/ages 3-12
Take your Halloween costume out for a trial run and visit the Maryland Science Center, if you dare, for an afternoon filled with spooktacular science fun! Experiment with ghoulishly glowing lights. Creatively cast a spine-tingling shadow. Use leverage and elasticity to launch creepy catapults, and more!
Halloween Pumpkin Carving Bash
Where: Potomac Overlook Park | Arlington, VA
When: October 22, 2-4pm
Get in the Halloween spirit by carving or painting a pumpkin with your friends at Potomac Overlook! We’ll provide tools, paint and of course a pumpkin for some holiday fun. You’ll also enjoy some candy, a Halloween craft, and visits from several of our spooky nocturnal critters from the nature center!
Spooky Pooch Howl-o-ween Celebration
Where: Hillwood Museum & Gardens | Northwest DC
When: October 22, 4-6pm
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.
Calabash Carnage: Family Pumpkin Carving
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange | Hyattsville, MD
When: October 22, 2-4 pm
Admission: Free, but pumpkins are $5
Carve up pumpkins at Brentwood Arts Exchange’s annual pumpkin carving extravaganza that has become a favorite tradition in the community. Get creative with family, friends, and neighbors and join in the family-friendly fun.
Where: Village at Leesburg | Leesburg, VA
When: October 22, 3-6pm
The Village at Leesburg is back with its Annual Monster Mash! Join the fun including live-action professional pumpkin carvers, Trick or Treating around the Village, pumpkin decorating, and their annual costume contest parade for you and your pets.
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: October 22, 5-7pm
Enjoy the Haunted Lab after hours and wear your favorite costume! The whole family can enjoy not-so-spooky activities including creating ooey-gooey Frankenslime, bugging out in our Bio Zone, or watching a mad scientists (STEM Educators) dissect a real sheep brain. Prizes will be awarded for creative and original ideas, so dress up and show up for a frightfully good time! Read more about the Lab (during non-Halloween) in this KFDC post.
Día de los Muertos
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 23, 2-5pm
Celebrate the Day of the Dead at The Wharf. They’re bringing live music, street food, a beer garden, face painting, sugar skull decorating, and more to District Pier in partnership. Dress for the day — they’re giving out prizes for most authentic outfit!
17th Street High Heel Race
Where: 17th Street NW, btwn P & S | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 25
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.
Halloween at DPR
Where: DPR locations around DC
When: October 26-30
It’s Halloween in DC, and the Department of Parks and Rec is hosting events in all eight wards to celebrate. Enjoy a family Halloween movie, tour a haunted house, join a little monster parade, bring you pup to Howl-o-Ween, and much more. Visit the website to see where all the spooky fun is happening and sign up to attend!
Halloween Art Cart Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC When: October 27, 10am – 12pm Admission: Free
Bring little ones to get inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s creativity for Halloween and create their own wearable work of art. Guests will learn about Kusama’s life and process (including her love of pumpkins), explore monochromatic materials, and get into the holiday spirit. Bonus points if you arrive with your own obliterated accessory from the Obliterate Yourself art project.
Halloween Toddler Time
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: October 27, 10:30am
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 2-12
Bring little ones in costume for this spooktacular session of Toddler Time, as the B&O celebrates Halloween. 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.
Where: Alethia Tanner Park | NoMa, DC
When: October 27, 4-8pm
NoMa’s free annual community-wide celebration of Halloween returns with live entertainment, yummy food, music, a seasonal scavenger hunt, and, of course, the free “pick-your-own” pumpkin patch! A screening of Hocus Pocus (6:45 pm) and a show by children’s entertainer, The Great Zucchini will also be part of the fun. This year’s event also includes a pop-up beer garden (21+ only). Be sure to register in advance for pumpkins and to attend the beer garden.
Spooktacular Movie Night
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: October 27, 7pm
Join neighbors & friends for a Halloween Movie Night! Capitol Riverfront BID presents a showing of Ghostbusters (1984) at Yards Park. Bring your picnic blankets, favorite fall snacks, and sit back and get ready to be spooked by an all-time Halloween classic movie.
Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: October 28-30, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $25/members, $35/non-members
The National Zoo’s annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, one of DC’s most popular events for the kiddie crowd, is back in person. With 30 treat stations, after hours animal viewing, a dance party, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. And the souvenir tote bags they give out will be brimming with goodies for all ages. Costumes encouraged!
Halloween Glow in the Park
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: October 28-29
Enjoy a spooky halloween-themed night of climbing and ziplining under the neon colored lights while listening to music throughout the Park. Glow start times are available every 10 minutes 6-8:20pm, and tickets are good for a 2 hour + 40 minute adventure. Costume encouraged but refrain from capes, masks that cover your eyes, and any super loose garments. Reserve in advance online — this event tends to sell out. Ages 5 & up are welcome! Read more about the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring here.
Where: Gateway Interim Dog Park | Rosslyn, VA
When: October 28, 1-5pm
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, raffles, and giveaways to share with your pups. Dog costumes are strongly encouraged for the annual Halloween dog costume contest. The winner will be announced at Gateway Park East at 7pm, ahead of the final movie of the Rosslyn Cinema series, Scooby-DooE. njoy food trucks and a beer and wine bar while gearing up for a Halloween weekend with your pets!
Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead Celebration Where: National Museum of the American Indian | National Mall, DC
When: October 28
Celebrate the return of the ancestors with a special Día de los Muertos concert featuring Grammy award-winning band Quetzal, a bilingual rock group with roots in the cultural and social justice landscape of East Los Angeles. Their goal is to create great music that tells the stories of marginalized people’s struggles and resistance. From October 26 to November 2, an ofrenda (altar) will be featured in the museum’s atrium, where visitors can also create paper butterflies for a display in honor of their loved ones.
Hill-O-Ween Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC When: October 28, 5:30-7:30pm Admission: Free
Capitol Hill’s annual neighborhood event is legendary for little ones! Count on live pumpkin carving and a DJ spinning tunes for a spooky dance party. More details are still to come, but for past events the block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market is closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. There have been moon bounces, goody giveaways, face painting, wagon rides, and more exciting festivities. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.
Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: October 28, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities
It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Details still to come, but past event activities for families have included pumpkin decorating, arts & crafts, face painting, trick-or-treating, and a costume parade around the Park.
Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Where: Meadowlark Botanic Garden | Vienna, VA
When: October 29-31, 10am – 6pm
Search for all things Halloween in Meadowlark’s Children’s Garden with our self-guided Scavenger Hunt around our log cabin, children’s veggie garden and pavilion. Show your completed Hunt sheet to our Greeter/Treater Volunteers to receive a treat — no tricks! After, follow the Book Walk Trail that leads to the Children’s Garden to Read about spiders. Halloween apparel is encouraged, and there will be spots for great photo ops. Read more about Meadowlark in this KFDC post!
Pumpkins in the Park
Where: Canal Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: October 29, 11am
Join a pumpkin party as the Canal Park Middle Block is transformed into the neighborhood’s very own pumpkin patch! Enjoy all kinds of seasonal festivities — pumpkin decorating (while supplies last), a giant moon bounce, festive photo booth, live music, magic show, and seasonal beverages (for 21+). All ages are invited to join. Pumpkins will be available on a first come first serve throughout the event, so go early to get yours!
Halloween on the Farm
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Clifton, VA
When: October 29, 5-8pm
Trick or treat on the farm! Visit with farm animals, create crafts, play games, tour the decorated farmhouse, and enjoy the fall on the farm. The program runs in three one-hour time slots. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Register in advance!
STEM Halloween Workshop For Kids
Where: Follies Art Studio | Georgetown, DC
When: October 29, 10:30-1:30am
Join this workshop at the beautiful Follies Art Studio in Georgetown for a morning of Halloween STEM fun. Children will work together to engineer their own large size haunted house using The Canvas Set from Follies then learn about electronic circuits by adding lights and other fun elements to their house. This workshop is for children ages 4 – 7 only.
The Haunted Washington Scavenger Hunt
Where: White House area | Downtown DC
When: October 29
Do you believe in ghosts? You just might after this spooky tour that reveals the stories of the restless souls you might disturb. On teams, you’ll follow clues to ghost-plagued buildings near the White House and answer tricky questions about what you find. Possible cameos by the spirits of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Abigail Adams, Andrew Jackson, the (allegedly) suicidal Mrs. Henry Adams, and losing duelist Stephen Decatur. The hunt is a bit spooky, a bit macabre, a bit goofy, and a lot of fun. It’s also a bit slower paced than Watson’s regular hunts because the questions are longer, in order to fill you in on the eerie events that transpired at each location. For teens and older. [Note: For private groups, there is a Kids Edition of this ghoulish game, suitable for ages 7 and up.]
Halloween Night Hunt with Sweets
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 29-31
Celebrate the BOO season on a zany treasure hunt at one of the neatest places in the city. Dress in costume, pick up your complimentary bag of Trick or Treat candy, and have a spooktacular time exploring the 100 room Mansion — decorated special for Halloween. Look for some of the 70 secret doors — be warned they are tricky to find! — and check out the eclectic collection of secondhand items, all of them for sale. Learn more about the Mansion on O Street here.
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: October 30, 9:30-11am
The Hirshhorn is hosting its first-ever dog-friendly event, just in time for Halloween! Join with (or without) your dog for a morning of costumes and coffee in the Hirshhorn’s outdoor Sculpture Garden. Dress up your pup, and if they’re feeling fierce, sign them up to strut their stuff in a furry fashion contest ($25 to register, free for Hirshhorn Insiders) for the chance to win a few special prizes. Local experts District Dogs will be there to keep the dog party going with free activities like peanut butter portraits. This event is open to all ages, and kids are encouraged to join in on the fun with Hirshhorn-inspired creative projects geared toward little artists.
Trick or Treat at Tudor Place
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: October 29, 10-11am
Admission: $15/non-member, $10/member, $5/adult
Kids can wear their Halloween costumes and search for treats (not tricks) in every corner of the garden. Enjoy crafts, activities and period games amid lovely autumn plant life. This outdoor event will take place rain or shine.
Where: Long Branch Nature Center | Arlington, VA
When: October 29, 5:30-7pm
Families are invited to join us a ‘Spooktacular’ evening of fun learning about nighttime animals and cultural festivities surrounding nature this time of the year. This earlier time slot will be more fun and less spooky for families with young children. Registration Required.
Spooky Seconds Sale
Where: Brookland Arts Walk | Brookland, DC
When: October 29, 10am – 4pm
Head to Brookland a couple of days ahead of Halloween for a Spooky Seconds Sale! Grab seconds, samples, mystery grab bags, one-offs, and more made by the artists and makers of the Brookland Arts Walk. Plus, enjoy some Halloween festivities. Go early for the best selection of the sales!
Air & Scare
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: October 29
The annual Air & Scare event at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is back with activities inside and out! Details TBA, but past events have included trick or treat stations, creepy crafts, spooky experiments, and other Hallloween-themed activities; special story times and puppet shows; photo ops; and costume contests.
Halloween Party & Storytime
Where: Commonwealth Baptist Church | Alexandria, VA
When: October 29, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: $5/child, free for adults
JoinArts on the Horizon for a fun and festive Halloween party and interactive storytime! Explore the wonders of the fall season and all things Halloween using music and creative movement to experience new and exciting stories. After the storytime, stick around to create some fun Halloween and fall themed crafts. Wear your Halloween costumes (adults, too!) and get ready to move and groove with stories, music, and movement. Commonwealth Baptist Church is located at 700 Commonwealth Ave. in Alexandria. Register in advance!
Día de los Muertos Virtual Family Day
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: October 29, 11:30am – 3pm
Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum in celebrating Día de los Muertos! Bring the whole family to see exciting live performances from Ballet Folklorico Mi Herencia Mexicana, Mariachi Aguila DC, and Sol y Rumba. Enjoy face painting and Día de los Muertos–themed crafts for all ages. If you are unable to make it in person, or want to continue the celebration online, visit their Family Zone for more crafts, coloring pages, and performance videos.
Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens | Mount Vernon, VA
When: October 29, 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!
Parks Spooktacular Where: South Germantown Recreational Park | Germantown, MD When: October 23, 10am – 1pm Admission: Free
Little goblins and ghouls can celebrate the spooky season with Montgomery Parks Spooktacular at the park’s Adventure Playground. Check out some magic tricks at the magician’s corner, add to your costume at the face painting area, and create a Halloween art project at the craft station. Live entertainment, bouncy fun, slides and a maze will be part of festivities, too. Halloween costumes are encouraged!
Lil’ Pumpkins Festival
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: October 29, 2-6pm
BlackRock’s 3rd Annual Lil’ Pumpkin Fest offers the Upcounty community a fun, free, and safe way to enjoy all the Fall and spooky festivities. Activities include trick-or-treating, photo booth, lil’ pumpkin painting, free pumpkins for children under the age of 11, beer garden, and costume parade! Later that evening, adults can enjoy a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show w/live cast on the MainStage @ 6 & 9pm
Best in Show at The Boro
Where: The Boro | Tysons, VA
When: October 29, 1-3pm
Join The Boro for the ultimate dog costume contest at Boro Park! Pets will be able to strut the doggy catwalk and pose for judges with one winner crowned “Best in Show”. The top three looks will take home a prize-packed doggy gift basket. Don’t have a dog? Join us anyways for some fall family fun! This spooktacular day will be filled with trick-or-treating, games, and Halloween crafts. It is guaranteed to be a paws-itively wonderful day! The show doesn’t end there! Join us at 6:30pm in The Sandlot for a spooky screening of Scooby Doo (2002) on the big screen complete with a popcorn bar!
Where: Community Center | Falls Church, VA
When: October 29, 1-5pm
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. Enjoy a spooktacular family fun Halloween Carnival in Cherry Hill Park for kids 2 to 11 years old! This year’s event will include games, inflatables, live music, and snacks.
Where: Burke Lake Park | Burke, VA
When: October 29-30
On the weekend leading up to Halloween, celebrate with a festival of fun at Burke Lake Park. Play goblin golf, ride the carousel and train, paint a pumpkin, bounce around, and visit a trick-or-treat house. All ages welcome, and advance tickets purchase is recommended, as the event is expected to sell out.
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: October 30, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: $25-35/age 6+ & pups, free/5 & under
Well behaved dogs are invited to lead their families to Hirshhorn Howl-O-Ween, a costume parade in the Sculpture Garden emceed by Mx. Noir. Furry guests may “paws” for peanut butter portraits and more courtesy of District Dogs. Kids will discover hands-on art-making activities in the outdoor galleries. Adults can saddle up to the mimosa and coffee bars. Mid-morning treats will be provided for all.
Del Ray Halloween Parade
Where: Del Ray Neighborhood | Alexandria, VA
When: October 30
One of Del Ray’s favorite traditions, the 26th Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade begins at Mt. Vernon Avenue, south of E. Bellefonte, and continues down to the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center play fields at Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues. It’s a family friendly affair that invites costume-clad kids, pets, moms, and dads to march down Mt. Vernon Ave from E. Bellefonte Ave to the Mount Vernon Rec Center field. The event ends with live music and an award presentation.
Halloween at the Harbor
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: October 30, 12:30-3pm
National Harbor is hosting an afternoon full of spooktacular fun for the whole family, including Trick-or-Treating at select restaurants and retailers, a Halloween Movie, a Chef Pumpkin Carving Contest, and a Pet Pawrade. Visit the website for the full schedule of the day’s events.
Where: Common Good City Farm |
When: October 30, 1-4 & 5-7
Admission: Free – $35
Join Common Good on the farm to celebrate all things Fall and Halloween at Fall-o-Ween!m. During the FREE Fall Fest from 1-4 they’ll have free Chili and other snacks (veggie options, too), JB humble pies to try, a costume contest, face painting, pumpkin decorating and other kids activities, a pumpkin patch, and more. While the event is free, donations are encouraged. Stick around for a fundraising cocktail hour and karaoke ($35) happening the same day from 5-7pm!
Halloween at the Park
Where: The Parc | Tysons, VA
When: October 31, 4-7pm
Celebrate Tysons is hosting a Halloween party at the Parc at Tysons. Kids and dress up and enjoy face painting, balloon art, mad science, and of course, trick or treating.
Día de los Muertos Festival & Outdoor Projection
Where: National Portrait GAllery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: November 2, 5-8pm
Join the Portrait Gallery’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration, an indoor festival with music, dancing, and art activities that will take place in the Kogod Courtyard. There will be a community altar, where you can place artworks, photographs, and other offerings on as a tribute to loved ones. Food and drink inspired by Día de los Muertos traditions will be available for purchase. At 6:30pm, artists MasPaz and Guache will present their live video artwork on the museum’s G and 9th St. facade. The performance combines MasPaz’s distinctive murals with Guache’s vibrant digital paintings and will be accompanied by compelling sounds.
Where: Great Country Farm | Bluemont, VA
When: November 5-6
Continue the Halloween fun after the holiday! Bring your leftover jack-o-lantern to Great Country’s smashin’ station and let it fly! The Silo Drop and the Zip Wire Sploosh let you do the smashin’ yourself or opt for the Pumpkin Drop Zone and add it to the upside down “fireworks display” as pumpkins are dropped from a 40-foot lift — so fun to watch! (What happens to all those smashed pumpkins? The pigs and cows love to eat them and GCF composts the rest.) There will also be live music, marshmallow roasting, and cider press demos, plus The Roosteraunt concession stand will be open. Of course, plan to enjoy the farm’s playground, full of fun, too!
Where: Around the DMV
When: Through early November
Admission: Varies by locale
Many of the fall festivals around the area incorporate Halloween fun into their offerings. Pick out potential jack-o-lanterns, do Halloween-themed crafts, go on rides, and more. See a list of seasonal celebrations here.
Step right up for some haunted fun
HAUNTED (SCARIER) EXPERIENCES
Fields of Fear
Where: Cox Farms | Centreville, VA
When: Weekends through November 6
Admission: $20-35 (purchase in advance online)
When night falls on Cox Farms, it’s time for Fields of Fear — for ages 12 and up! The Dark Side Hayride feature The Lost Circus, a circus abandoned in the early 1900s that now comes to life when the living approach. The friendly Imaginature Trail takes a dark turn for Fields of Fear, transforming into The Forest: Back 40, which consists of half a mile of fear. The Forest joins two other haunted attractions at Fields of Fear, the Dark Side Hayride and the Cornightmare. The Firegrounds feature several bonfires, a six-lane slide, music, karaoke, entertainment, tasty treats, Foamhenge, and more!
Where: Six Flags America | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: September 24 – October 30
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 5
Admission: $25 and up
Our family digs 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.
Shocktober Haunt Party with TMBG
Where: Paxton House | Leesburg, VA
When: October 8
Join Shocktober’s ghoulish ghosts for this PG-13 extravaganza where Haunt-themed costumes are encouraged! They Might Be Giants and their barnstorming live band will deliver fan favorite songs plus some unexpected surprises. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on site. Tickets are $40 general admission, $50 arena seat, $65 premium arena seat, or $125 per person for the Really Important People “R.I.P.” package, including exclusive access to RIP Party, front of stage seating, food, and two drinks.
Halloween Decor & Costumes
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 HalloweenCostumes.com