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 — starting this weekend. From no-fright fun to cool and creepy thrills, the 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!
Witchwartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: September 28 – October 29
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
Kids BOO Fest
Where: Six Flags Amrica | Landover, MD
When: September 28 – October 29
Admission: Starts at $45
Explore all ages spooky fun at the local amusement park. Enjoy family-friendly rides, a trick-or-treat. trail, fall activities, Halloween-themed shows, ghoulish food for every taste, and much more. This is an all-day affair with SO much to do!
Where: Around the DC area
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 much more! See a list of seasonal celebrations here.
Where: Great Wolf Lodge | Williamsburg, VA & Perryville, MD
When: September 28 – 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 Williamburg in this KFDC post and this one about the new park in Perryville, MD.
The Tell-Tale Heart
Synetic Theater| Crystal City, VA
When: September 29 – November 5
This stage version of the Edgar Allen Poe classic a a perfect production to caputure the Halloween spirit… Sanity and madness blur on stage as two unlikely companions find themselves intertwined in complete isolation, with chilling results. Synetic’s reimagined tale explores the pitch-black depths of the human psyche, spiraling into madness and torment —and we ask ourselves “Who is the crazy one?” Recommended for teens and older.
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.)
“Eye Spy” Halloween Trains
Where: Cabin John & Wheaton Regional Parks | Bethesda & Wheaton, MD
When: Saturdays & Sundays, October 7-29
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.) Purchase for Wheaton here and Cabin John here.
Where: Burke Lake Park | Burke, VA
When: October 7-29
Halloween arrives early at the Burke Lake Park mini-golf course. Enjoy a festive themed experience with Halloween treats included. Ghosts and goblins will be appearing all day from 11am – 5pm. Bring a date, a friend, or the whole family; this mini golf experience is fun for everyone!
Lil’ Pumpkins Festival
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: October 14, 12-4pm
BlackRock’s 4th Annual Lil’ Pumpkin Fest offers the Upcounty community a fun, free, and safe way to enjoy all the Fall and spooky festivities. Activities include a bouncy house, trick-or-treating, lil’ pumpkin painting, costume parades, spooky dance parties, an Artisan’s Market, and a biergarten for parents! Later that evening, adults can enjoy a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show w/live cast on the MainStage @ 6 & 9pm The day will conclude with a free outdoor screening of the fun family film, Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie at sundown (approximately 6:30pm).
Spooky History Tour
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: October 17, 18, 22, 25, 28, 29, 31
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+.
Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: October 20-22, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $25/members, $35/non-members
The National Zoo’s annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, one of DC’s most beloved events for the kiddie crowd, is back. With 30 treat stations, after hours animal viewing with habitats decorated for Halloween, and fiendishly decked out 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!
Where: Congressional Cemetery | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 20-21 & 27-28
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.
Can You Solve It? Family Mystery Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 21, 10am – 4pm
This Family Day at the Library of Congress celebrates mystery stories in all their spine-tingling, curious forms. Enjoy two author events (for middle-grade readers in the morning and young adult book readers in the afternoon) , a mystery writing workshop, a day full of activities, and a scavenger hunt. Read more about the day’s activities in the website.
Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: October 21, 10am – 4pm
Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, and more! Over 60 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 21, 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 21, 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 21, 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.
Family Costume Party
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: October 21, 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 slime play, bugging out in our Bio Zone, watching a dissection by a mad scientists (STEM Educators), getting up close to a scaly creature, and engineering a Spider Launcher, and playing scary tunes on the piano. 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.
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: October 22, 12-3pm
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.
Howl-O-Ween Dog Parade & Costume Contest
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: October 22, 11am – 12:30pm
Admission: $25/member, $35/non-member, $25/contest entry
Here’s a Halloween event for well-behaved dogs and their humans! Prep your pup for Howl-o-Ween, a parade and costume contest on the Hirshhorn Plaza. Join a morning of dress-up, art activities, and furry fun. Tickets include a puppy parade and contest, donuts and mimosas, and art activities for kids and dogs. Proceeds support the Museum’s art-for-all education programs. Register in advance!
17th Street High Heel Race
Where: 17th Street NW, btwn P & S | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 24
The High Heel Race is a 36-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 Toddler Time
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: October 26, 10:30am
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 2-12
Bring your child to the B&O in their costumes for some Halloween-themed activities at this spooktacular session of Toddler Time. There will be crafts and destinations spread throughout the museum campus for trick-or-treating. They’ll also be reading Henry and the Ghost Train by Thomas & Friends followed by a costume parade to the Mile One Express Train Ride!
Where: Alethia Tanner Park | NoMa, DC
When: October 26, 4-9pm
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.
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 27-31
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.
Art Cart: Tricky Tree Hats
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: October 27, 10am – 12pm
In celebration of the fall season and Halloween, join the museum for a tree-inspired Art Cart. Take a close look at artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Two Circles, check out nature-inspired books and materials, and create fall-inspired wearable works of art. Find the Art Cart on the Plaza and pick up your wearable materials.
Halloween Glow in the Park
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: October 27-28
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 27, 3:30-5:30pm
The Rosslyn BID and the Rosslyn Dog Owners Group are teaming up for a Halloween-themed evening of dog-friendly activities, treats, and fun at the Gateway Park interim Dog Park. There will be pet-themed vendors, raffles, giveaways, a beer and wine bar, and pet portrait sketches on-site! Dog costumes strongly encouraged for the annual Halloween dog costume contest!
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 27, 5-8pm
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.
Halloween on the Farm
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Clifton, VA
When: October 27-28, 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!
Halloween Night Hunt with Sweets
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: October 27-31
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.
Air & Scare
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: October 28, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but tickets required
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. Tickets are required for the outdoor portion of the event — they will be available to reserve here on October 2.
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.
Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt Climb
Where: Climb UPton | Arlington, VA
When: October 28-29, 10am -9pm
Climb UPton has tricks and treats for both young and old! Celebrate Halloween at Climb UPton — complete the 90-element course full of tricks of varying degrees of difficulty. If you find the hidden pumpkins during your climb you’ll be rewarded with a special treat.
Where: Potomac Overlook Park | Arlington, VA
When: October 28, 3-4pm
Looking to get spooked? Do you get the heebie jeebies upon seeing our slithery serpents? Come scare yourself silly and get an up-close look at our amazing snakes, and watch our Naturalist feed them some tasty mice! You’re bound to go hiss-terical at this program.
Where: Village at Leesburg | Leesburg, VA
When: October 28, 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, their annual costume contest parade for you and your pets, and more.
The Haunted Washington Scavenger Hunt
Where: White House area | Downtown DC
When: October 28
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.]
Trick or Treat at Tudor Place
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: October 28, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $15/non-member, $10/member, $5/adult
Celebrate the fall season with games and crafts at Tudor Place. Wear your Halloween best to explore the garden’s meandering paths and find festive activities, fun and sugary treats. All ages are welcome; this program is best enjoyed by children ages 3-8. This outdoor event will take place rain or shine.
Día de los Muertos Virtual Family Day
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: October 28, 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, Día de los Muertos–themed crafts for all ages, and a scavenger hunt that will take you through the museum’s new Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea exhibit. Registration encouraged!
Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens | Mount Vernon, VA
When: October 28, 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!
Where: Ridge Road Rec Park | Germantown, MD
When: October 28, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free to skate
This Halloween let the ghoul times roll with friends and family at the Ridge Road Recreational Park Inline Rink for Montgomery Parks’ Frankenskate. Come as you aren’t in your best Halloween costumes to enjoy an eerie-sistible afternoon full of music, lawn games, and treats. Bring your own skates (rentals will not be available) and boogie on down to the sounds of the DJ spinning spooky throwbacks. Refuel at the concession area with local food vendors.
Where: Community Center | Falls Church, VA
When: October 28, 1-3pm or 3:30-5:30pm
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.
Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead Celebration
Where: National Museum of the American Indian | National Mall, DC
When: October 29, 10am – 5:30pm
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a time for honoring ancestors and those we have lost. At the museum, this day of remembering features traditional dances around the community ofrenda (altar) to honor ancestors. Along with the dances, enjoy family-friendly Day of the Dead hands-on activities.
Del Ray Halloween Parade
Where: Del Ray Neighborhood | Alexandria, VA
When: October 29
One of Del Ray’s favorite traditions, the 27th 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 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, 5-8:30pm
Join the Portrait Gallery’s annual celebration of el Día de los Muertos, one of their biggest events of the year. Enjoy live music, dance performances by a local folk dance company, workshops, and a variety of activities for all ages. Artists MasPaz and Guache will project their live video artwork, “La Común Unidad: Caminando con los Ancestros,” highlighting the artists’ ancestral cultural heritage. Create calaveras and papel picado to decorate the community altar, get your face painted to look like la Catrina — and more!
Where: Great Country Farm | Bluemont, VA
When: November 4-5
Admission: $14/child, $16/adult
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!
HAUNTED (SCARIER) EXPERIENCES
Fields of Fear
Where: Cox Farms | Centreville, VA
When: Weekends through November 4
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: Fridays & Saturdays through November 4
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.
AVFD Station 7 Terror Trail
Where: | Gambrills, MD
When: September 30 – October 28
Choose a scary trail or a family-friendly haunt here. The scary Terror trail is recommended for ages 8 and older or opt for activities for younger children at the ticket booth and the Boo Haunt loop geared for those under 8 years old. This supports the Arundel Volunteer Fire Department.
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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:
Target Costumes | Decorations