When living or visiting Washington, D.C. during Halloween, you don’t have to settle for begging for dollar store candy. The capital has a wealth of ghoulish activities to be a part of, and there’s something for all different age groups and people. Do something unique this year, such as these 10 activities that will give you a Halloween you’ll always remember.
For the children
Let’s start with the most innocent item on the menu, a kid’s cooking class. Maggiano’s Little Italy, located in Chevy Chase Pavilion, will host it on Oct. 28th, 9:30–11:30 am. It’s $25 per adult and $25 per child, with a breakfast buffet and sundae bar included in each package, and the cooking class included in the kids’ price. The children are encouraged to wear their costumes while they decorate pumpkins and make their own Halloween treats instead of going around to your neighbors with a bag held out for goodies.
Boo at the Zoo
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo goes all out for this event to make it a great time for kids (open October 20th–22nd). This wholesome three-day celebration hosts more than 40 treat stations along decorated trails and animal demonstrations, including learning about some frightful looking specimens. They’ll even have most of the animal exhibits available after-hours. Make sure your kids have costumes that are ready by then and that they’re signed up for the pumpkin decorating contest.
Night of the Living Zoo (Adult Version)
Night of the Living Zoo is like Boo at the Zoo, where you have after-hours access to animal exhibits, but that’s where the correlation really ends. Be prepared for a hauntingly good time filled with a 21-and-up crowd on October 27th. Enjoy being scared out of your wits and getting familiar with some strange oddities while you listen to the live band that will be performing. There will also be craft brews and local food trucks, the candy of the adult world, as well as a costume contest, so come dressed to kill.
Fright Fest at Six Flags
This event has become a must-do for any adult living in or visiting the DMV area during Halloween. Thankfully, there are select days that the event runs from September 23rd to October 27th so that you can be sure to fit a day into your schedule. Buckle up for a fun ride of roller coasters, magic, and haunting attractions.
Six Flags, 13710 Central Ave, Upper Marlboro, MD, USA, +1 301 249 1500
Air and Scare
Didn’t think there was anything scary about something as scientific as air and space? Think again. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia hosts an annual event that includes mad scientist type of experiments, creepy crafts, and a safe place to trick-or-treat indoors. It’s open to kids and adults of all ages, so get ready for a wholesomely good time. It takes place on October 21st.
17th St High Heel Race
On October 24th at 9 pm, a 30-year Halloween tradition and probably the most unique thing on the list begins. This Halloween spectacle in Dupont Circle is too good for any true Washingtonian to miss. Those strutting their stuff through the streets, most in full drag with a touch of Halloween spirit, are cheered on by the crowd during the whole quarter-mile race.
Mansion on the O Street Scavenger Hunt
This historic venue already holds a naturally creepy atmosphere, so it’s ideal for this annual event. Run through themed rooms and secret entrances in search for Halloween-themed prizes. If you don’t find that much, fear not. They have stuff for sale if you feel like walking away with more.
Mansion on the O Street, 2020 O St NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 496 2020
80’s Dance Party at Black Cat
On October 28th at 9 pm, Halloween is about to get funkilicous. Go dance your masked face off on the second floor or down below, with two rooms spinning all night long. With DJs such as Steve EP, Killa K, and Missguided, you know it’s going to be pure mayhem in any room that you visit. Downstairs will be the Red Rum (Room) and Beetlejuice Room, with the latter playing some darker elements of the ’80s era.
Black Cat, 1811 14th St NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 667 4490
With events such as the Miracle on Seventh Street and Game of Thrones-themed pop-up bar under their belts, you know Derek Brown and crew are about to bring it home with their new project, PUB Dread. With themed rooms, such as a parlor of disturbing dolls, a haunted forest, and a crypt, this will be a way to savor Halloween like never before. That could also have something to do with the drinks made with apple cider, pumpkin, and even Twizzlers soda.
Drink Company, 1825 7th St NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 316 9396
The monster mash of Nightmare on M Street has been treating people to a wicked time for 19 years, and each year is better than the last. Various bars throughout Dupont Circle (October 28th, registration from 2–6pm) take part in this event that is far from a nightmare. They’re less into tricks and more into treats, offering people on the crawl food and drink specials at each stop.
(Various locations) Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., USA