Elsa, Frida, & Oliver ready to hit the Halloween scene last year
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 loads 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 Train
Where: Cabin John Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Admission: $6 and a can of food
Hop on board the Halloween Train! Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Along the ride through the woods on the train, kids can try to find Halloween friends hiding along the way and mark them off their “Eye Spy” game cards that they receive with admission. Guests can also enjoy Halloween movies every night, face painting on Saturdays and Sundays, and light refreshments for sale. The “Eye Spy” train runs 1-6pm on Fridays and 11-6pm on weekends. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here.
Haunted Train & Creepy Carousel
Where: Wheaton Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Wheaton Regional Park’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel are back and scarier than ever! This annual Halloween attraction is best for guests ages 8 and up, because they “aim to scare” (and this is part of the website description, so take their word for it). Admission includes one ride each on the train and carousel, plus entrance to the Hall of Jack o’ Lanterns movie theater presenting scary films every night. The train and carousel run 6:30-9:30pm each night. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here. Plan to bring canned food, too, to help neighbors in need.
Costume Drive to Help Families in Need
Where: Hilton McLean Tyson Corner
When: Through October 14
Steph Snaps Photos, Hilton McLean, and Harth have yet again joined forces for their 2nd annual costume drive, aiming to secure gently used or new costume donations for local families. The collected costumes and funds will benefit a diverse number of non-profit organizations in our community that will provide costumes for children and families. New or gently used costumes of any size can be dropped off at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner any day. Cash donations are also accepted at www.gofundme.com/costumedrive2016 — the money collected will help purchase additional costumes with size requirements that have not been fulfilled through the donation process.
Where: Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA
When: Weekends in October
Admission: Rates start at $339/night
Fiery foliage, Halloween-themed spooky events, and mild temperatures will greet you at Kingsmill Resort when you check in this fall. While there are those that believe the waterfront condo-style resort has its share of paranormal activity, there is plenty of room for lively, younger spirits of all ages. (The old spirits are behind the bar.) For those looking to elevate the fear factor, the resort offers the Howl-O-Scream Package, which includes accommodations for two nights, daily breakfast, complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, and shuttle service to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. Guests also get access to Busch Gardens with two Fun Cards.
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 13, 6-7pm & 7-8pm
Children ages 3-8 are invited to come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in their favorite costumes anytime between from 6-8pm. Enjoy fun, games, and a wagon ride. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so sign up soon!
Cirque de la Symphonie: Halloween Extravaganza
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 13-16
Cirque de la Symphonie brings its trademark brand of awe-inspiring feats and thrills, including jugglers, aerialists, contortionists, strongmen, and more, to a program set to classic spooky music, such as Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Saint-Saëns’s Danse macabre, and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, among other familiar tunes. The Sunday matinee performance is part of the NSO Family Concert Series, designed for young audiences. Beginning one hour before the performance, children and families can enjoy the “Haunted Hall” activities, which include games and activities, an instrument petting zoo, and spook-tacular decorations. Audiences are encouraged to come in costume for all for performances.
The Best Haunted House Ever
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: October 14-23
Tickets: $15/adults, $10/children
Encore Stage & Studio presents a Halloween-inspired show this season: When students from two different high schools sneak into a local haunted house to scare their classmates, utter chaos ensues. At first it seems like the students are just pulling Halloween pranks, but when a spooky zombie and mysterious ghost don’t fit into the students’ haunting plans it can only mean one thing–they are not alone in the house! Happy haunting! Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum
When: October 14, 6-9pm
Ditch your Halloween costume and change your while identity at the Spy Museum’s annual Halloween event! Has your brother been spying on you? Is grandma really a secret agent? Does dad really have lethal ninja skills? Now’s your chance to find out as your family of spies gains exclusive after-hours access to the Museum. Test your family’s spy skills as you run top secret missions, go deep undercover and transform your appearance with the help of professional make-up artists, challenge yourself in Code Cracker competitions, and enjoy SPY snacks and a chance to explore all forms of spy tradecraft. Go in disguise as your favorite spy! For ages 5 and up, includes exclusive after-hours admission, SPY snacks, scavenger hunt, prize competitions, and more! Space is limited — advance registration required. (One adult required for every five KidSpy agents.)
http://www.atlasarts.org/event/2016-10-17/“>Goulishly Good Music
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: October 16
Capital City Symphony’s Family Concerts are always fun, interactive, and educational. This year’s program is inspired by the spookiness and fantasy of Halloween, so don costumes to join in the fun! Face the ghosts and ghouls of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, or enter the fairy tale world of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. Along the way you’ll learn how the instruments of the orchestra combine to bring these amazing stories to life. Go 30 minutes before show time to meet the musicians at the Instrument Petting Zoo — kids just might discover their new favorite instrument.
Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: October 21-23, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members
Join the National Zoo for their annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, one of DC’s most popular events for the kiddie crowd. With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, keeper chats, live entertainment, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. Costumes encouraged!
Where: Congressional Cemetery
When: October 21-22 & 28-29
Admission: $20/adult, $10/child
Congressman, carpenters, suffragists, and bootleggers are among the graveyard residents on Capitol Hill, and they all have a unique tale to tell. Congressional Cemetery’s annual Soul Strolls explore these stories through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Typically only open from dawn to dusk, this special event allows nighttime access to the public. Hour-long walks depart every 15 minutes between 6 -9pm, with beer, wine, and cider will be for sale (to put you at ease among the spirits).
Where: Center at Leesburg
When: October 22
Join the the Village at Leesburg for a frighteningly good time the 7th Annual Monster Mash! There will be center-wide trick-or-treating starting while supplies last, live music, street performers, a costume contest for children and pets, a Halloween parade, and as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Wars, Extreme Pumpkin Carving by James Hall, pastry design by Al Dibartolo, and chocolate sculpture with our very own Santosh Tiptur.
Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: October 22, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm
See the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 11th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Fun for the whole family!
Haunted Museum Historic Ghost Tour
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 23, 29, & 31, 8pm & 9pm
Admission: $22/members, $25/non-members
Ghost tours at the National Building Museum combine history, humor, and several hair-raising tales into a fun evening. The Museum houses many artifacts related to the building — plans, drawings, and tools — as well as some objects that defy easy explanation, including a collection of shoes found underneath the foundation, believed to have been buried to ward off evil spirits, and a plaster mask, thought to be a death mask dated from the late 1800s. The building is spectacular — and eerie — with the lights out! This tour is recommended for ages 10 and up. Tickets are limited.
Where: National Harbor
When: October 23, 12-2:30
It’s a spooktacular family event that will include activities for everyone. Join the fun at The Black Dog’s Howl-loween. Trick or treat around the shops at the Harbor. Enjoy a showing of Hocus Pocus on the Plaza Big Screen (movie will begin at 12:30am). Watch a chef pumpking carving contest. Plus, enjoy special activities, including pumpkin decorating, a Halloween coloring station, and a fabulous family fall themed photo station.
Where: Market Common Clarendon
When: October 22, 11am – 3pm
Market Common Clarendon’s fourth annual Falloween Festival celebrates the season and the October holiday with a day of delights for the whole fam. Highlights include live children’s entertainment by Rainbow Rock and Mr. Knick Knack, a petting zoo, face painting, pumpkin decorating + crafts for kids, and a trick-or-treat session throughout the property. This follows the annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Walk, in partnership with Homeward Trails and Doorways For Women and Families, which starts and ends on The Loop at Market Common Clarendon beginning at 10am, stopping through local businesses to support both partners with a costume contest taking place at the end of the event.
A Spooktacular Halloween Party
Where: Carluccio’s in Old Town
When: October 27, 6-8pm
Join Carluccio’s in Old Town Alexandria for a spooktacular evening! The restaurant will be hosting a children’s Halloween party with cookie decorating and a costume contest. Kids ages and up will receive a free pasta meal, with ticket purchase, and accompanying adults can enjoy happy hour specials. Children and accompanying adults encouraged to dress up!
Paranormal Mansion Tours
Where: Oatlands Estate & Gardens
When: October 27-29, 7pm & 8pm
Admission: $30/adult, $12/child
Get a “different” look at Oatlands on this after dark tour of the old mansion. Hear ghost stories and accounts of unexplained occurrences on the property. Advance reservations are required and non-refundable.
Where: 7th Street SE in front of Eastern Market
When: October 28, 5:30-7:30pm
Capitol Hill’s annual neighborhood event is legendary for little ones. The block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market will be closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. Hayrides, moon bounces, goody giveaways, and even a mini carousel add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: October 28, 7-9pm
Wear your costume and enjoy fun fall themed activities. Explore the museum’s gallery and all of its hidden haunts. Arts, crafts, hayrides, and spooky fun await kids and families at the museum where old aircraft and other aviation displays wow visitors.
Spirits of the Past
Where: Bradley Farm in Herndon
When: October 28-29
The Bradley Farm Haunted House promises everyone a ghoulishly fun time, and for a good cause — proceeds from the community fundraising event help Herndon-Reston FISH bring emergency help to folks in our community. This year’s “Spirits of the Past” theme promises fright and fun! On Friday and Saturday evening from 6-10pm, it offers a dark and scary adventure that’s perfect for tweens, teenagers, and adults. For the younger crowd, there’s a kids haunt with a milder scare on Saturday from 1-5pm that includes trick-or-treating inside the haunted house for children 10 and under, as well as face painting, balloon art, carnival-style games, live entertainment, and costumed characters.
Mr. Jon & Friends Halloween Party
Where: Jammin Java
When: October 29, 10:30am
Kids musical performer Mr. Jon and playing a Halloween Party concert at Jammin Java. His silly interactive show includes classics like “Wheels On The Bus” along with originals, and his my puppet friend George the Monkey will join the fun, too. All ages can enjoy it, but the 1-6 crowd will dig it most.
Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: October 29, 11am – 4pm
Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, lunch and more! The 17th Annual Halloween in the Garden will feature more than 70 community organizations and businesses donning costumes and handing out candy and treats to all the children. Free ooky, spooky crafts will be provided and devilishly delicious food vendors will be present. Admission fees will benefit local charities. Don’t forget to bring your camera — there are always unique photo opportunities with the boo-tiful decorations. New this year, purchase a line-hopper pass for $3/person, on sale at the admission gate from 10:30-11am, and jump to the front of the trick-or-treating line!
Trick or Treat at Tudor Place
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 29
Admission: $10/non-member, $5/member, $3/accompanying adult
Halloween is “spooktacular” at Tudor Place! Wear your costumes (optional) and follow meandering paths to find treats (not tricks!) in every corner of the enchanting North Garden. Enjoy pumpkin-decorating and other crafts, face painting, and outdoor games amid lovely autumn color.
Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: October 29, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities
It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Daytime activities for families will include pumpkin decorating, arts & crafts, face painting, trick-or-treating, and a costume parade around the Park.
Where: Falls Church
When: October 29, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $2/children ages 2 and up (adults free)
The City of Falls Church has been hosting the annual Halloween Carnival for over 30 years! Infants through fifth graders are invited to enjoy carnival games, a moon bounce, face painting, crafts, a haunted house, movies, candy, and a live creepy creature show featuring the spookiest reptiles in nature. The first hour is best for children up to 2nd grade, and 3rd – 6th graders will enjoy the second hour.
Fall-O-Ween Country Fair
Where: Port Discovery
When: October 29, 10am – 3:30pm
Admission: $13.95/ages 2 and up
Dress up the little ones in their favorite costumes and join Port Discovery’s annual festival. Enjoy not-so-scary, family friendly programs and performances including science-themed activities, crafts, live entertainment, arts & crafts, and more!
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Admission: $20.95/adult, $16.95/ages 3-12
Celebrate the chills and thrills of Halloween at the MSC’s 8th annual event, where creepy chemistry and mysterious science combine to provide a hauntingly good time. Spend the afternoon with making gooey, glowing slime, decorating pumpkins, exploring spooky sensory bins, and even watch pumpkins being launched off of the roof!
Pumpin Rock ‘n Roll
Where: Warner Circle Park in Kensington, MD
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Join Headfirst Camps this Halloween for a spooky afternoon of music, games, food, and fun at the first ever Pumpkin Rock N’ Roll! Warner Circle Park will be transformed into a full-blown Halloween extravaganza. Kids can participate in a fun costume contest and parade, and enjoy family-friendly attractions including festival-style musical performances, food trucks, inflatable rides and slides, and a rock wall. Don’t miss the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars.
Where: Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supplu
When: October 29, 11am
Join 826DC at Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company for a scary (but not too scary) storytime. Join for age-appropriate readings of Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” or one of their favorites, “The Hairy Toe,” while you shop for last minute Halloween costumes at the store full of magically fun items. Recommended for ages 6-12.
Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
When: October 29, 3pm
Celebrate Halloween at the library! Join staff at MLK Library in the Children’s Room for a spooky scavenger hunt and see what treats await! Costumes are encouraged. Recommended for ages 5-12.
Halloween Fun in Occoquan
Where: Occoquan, VA
When: October 29
Join the town of Occoquan for a day of Halloween fun! Enjoy life-size Halloween characters found on shop benches, porches, and doorways. Hunt for six Halloween characters pictured on the entry form (available at any participating shop) and be entered into a drawing to win a life-sized Venetian Victorian Halloween figure!
Dia de los Muertos
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 29-30
Join the National Museum of the American Indian for its annual Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), a celebration originating in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, to commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and welcome the return of their spirits. Learn and take part in this centuries-old tradition, which includes pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs alike.
Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: October 29 & 31, 3:30-6:30pm
Admission: $12/adult, $6/child
Trick-or-treat at Mount Vernon as George Washington’s estate open its gates for Halloween fun and spook-tacular activities. Join a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft. Guests can also check out wool carding, spinning, and fish net making in the historic area before greeting “Martha Washington” on the piazza of the Mansion. Historic chocolate-making demos and tastings will take place. Burn off all the extra excitement (and calories!) with 18th-century dancing. A children’s costume parade around the Mansion will begins at 5pm, and prizes will be awarded for most fang-tastic “George” and “Martha” costumes!
Pumpkin Parade Parties
Where: Gymboree of DC
When: October 29 & 31
Admission: $20/non-members, $15/members ($5/sibling)
Dress up and join the Halloween fun at one of two Gymboree parties! Pumpkin activities, seasonal craft projects, music, snacks, dancing, and parades will be part of the festivities. Newborns – 5-year-olds are invited October 29 3:30-5:30pm, and newborns – 2-year-olds can party October 31, 2-3:30pm. Reservations required: Call 202.627.2450 or email email@example.com. Gymboree DC is located at 2639 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 113.
Trick or Treat in the Boo-tiques
Where: Old Town Boutique District in Alexandria
When: October 31, 11am – 6pm
Bring your little ghosts and goblins to the Old Town Boutique District’s annual event to start their trick-or-treating early. Stop by the dozens of shops, where they’ll be dishing out treats and some maybe some family-friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged.
Where: International Spy Museum Store
When: October 31, 2-6pm
Go deep undercover this Halloween at the Spy Museum where spooks of every kind will be on the prowl. Spend the scariest night of the year at the place where disguises aren’t just for Halloween! Everyone is invited to arrive in disguise in the Spy Museum Store, where acclaimed professional make-up and disguise artist, Roger Riggle, will be on hand to teach the tools-of-the-trade necessary to transform guests in preparation for a night of tricks and treats. Demonstrations are free-of-charge and include quick disguise applications meant to help guests create their own undercover masterpieces.
Halloween Trick or Treating
Where: Fashion Centre at Pentgaon City
When: October 31, 5-7pm
Pumpkins, superheroes and wizards are invited to showcase this year’s frightfully-festive Halloween ensembles in Pentagon City during mall-wide trick-or-treating on Halloween evening. Spooky characters can find candy treats from participating retailers displaying a sign in the window.
Trick-or-Treating & Photo Ops
Where: Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets
When: October 31, 5-7pm
It’s not a trick, but there will be treats! Little shoppers are encouraged to participate in the Leesburg Outlets’ mall-wide trick-or-treating event this spooky season for a chance to show off costumes and collect tasty snacks from the center’s participating retailers. And Halloween’s favorite black cat, Jinx, will be strolling through the center, available for photo opportunities!
Day of the Dead Art Workshop
Where: Arlington Arts Center
When: November 4
Get ready for AAC’s annual Day of the Dead Celebration at these sessions where students can create works of art inspired by the Latin American holiday. There are two classes, one for ages 7-10 and one for ages 11-14.
Where: Around the 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 more. See a list of seasonal celebrations here.
Did I leave out any good ones? Let me know in the comments!