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What's On In D.C. This October
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What's On In D.C. This October

Picture of Kate McMahon
Updated: 12 October 2016
Fall has finally arrived, which means it’s time for pumpkin spiced lattes, cozy sweaters and pumpkin ales. Whether you’re watching the leaves change to vibrant reds, carving a jack-o-lantern, or traveling back to medieval times, we’ve got the perfect guide to October in the District – plenty of Halloween foolery awaits.

SATURDAY 1ST – FRIDAY OCTOBER 7TH


FESTIVAL | AUTUMN CONSERVATION FESTIVAL

📅  Satruday, October 1st & Sunday, October 2nd

Kick off autumn with cute endangered animals and innovative science. The educational festival allows attendees to enter the National Zoo’s remote sister campus, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, which is closed to the public for 363 days a year. SCBI houses species that are entirely extinct in the wild – like the Scimitar-horned Oryx – and performs groundbreaking research to understand how to reintroduce captive populations into the wild. Meet animal-care staff and stroll around the scenic campus, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

SCBI, 1500 Remount Rd, Front Royal, VA 22630, +1 (540) 635-6500

DRINKS | TASTE OF GEORGETOWN

📅  Saturday October 1st

The name says it all – drink and taste your way through historic Georgetown. Food and fine wines will be available for your taste buds’ delight via a ticketed system. Each ticket gets you either a small plate, a beer, or a glass of wine from over 30 participating restaurants – including DC’s favorite cupcakery, Baked and Wired. Purchase five taste tickets for $20, eight for $30, or 11 for $40. We definitely recommend going on an empty stomach.

K St NW & Thomas Jefferson St NW, Washington, D.C.  

FITNESS | RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

📅  Saturday, October 1st

Start the hallowed month with the Congressional Cemetery’s annual Dead Man’s Run. Sprint 5k around graves at dusk, but make sure not to disturb any – you never know which deceased senator is out for revenge. Ghastly faint paint is also encouraged. Registration is $40, and includes one free Port City beer and a T-shirt.

Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E St SE, Washington, DC 20003

FESTIVAL | GO MEDIEVAL

📅  Runs every weekend until October 23rd. 

Ever seen jousting? No, Game of Thrones doesn’t count. See real jousting in action at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Break out that old suit of armor you wore in college for an ABC party. Catch the village fool’s performance, and preside over a witch’s trial. This year’s theme revolves around Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Maybe dress as Catherine of Aragon and instigate a fight with that low-class harlot who stole your husband.

1821 Crownsville Rd, Annapolis, MD 21401, Washington, D.C.

FILM | GHOSTBUSTERS DRIVE-IN 

📅  Friday, October 7th 

The year is 1984. Ghostbusters is in theaters, and drive-ins are all the rage. This is all true, except it’s 2016. As part of it’s drive-in movie series, Union Market will project the original Ghostbusters in its parking lot to boost Halloween morale. A $10 parking pass is required for each vehicle. Added authenticity: food vendors will be on roller skates.


OCTOBER 8TH – SATURDAY OCTOBER 15TH


MUSIC | ALL THINGS GO FALL CLASSIC

📅  Satuday, October 8th

The newly annual festival is still in its infancy, but it’s managed to accumulate quite the lineup for 2016. Passion Pit and Empire of the Sun will headline the festival, and Ace Cosgrove is a supporting act. Festival organizers pride themselves on the event’s DC roots, and the food vendors are all sourced from Washingtonian’s favorite fast casual places – Burredo (sushi burritos), Compass Coffee, and the all-vegetarian Beefsteak restaurant. Tickets are $75.

Yards Park, 355 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

FESTIVE | SCREAM CITY

📅  Sunday, October 9th – Monday, October 31st

There’s a myriad of haunted houses in Northern Virginia and rural Maryland, but Scream City is the only classic spooky attraction situated in District limits. Located at RFK stadium, the exhibit’s Slaughter Factory and Exorcism Estate are guaranteed to bring chills. Keep a close eye on your limbs as you wander through a sinister slaughterhouse – it’s not meant for pigs.

LITERATURE | POETRY SLAM

📅  Friday, October 14th

The 11th hour poetry slam allows local poets to perform at the witching hour. Late night performance poetry has a uniquely intimate vibe. From 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., delight in and judge competitive poetry – emphasis on the judging. The audience members pick a winner here.

Busboys & Poets, 2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

ART | BETHESDA ARTS FESTIVAL

📅  Saturday, October 15th – Sunday, October 16th

Featuring over 190 museum-worthy artists, and a rank of 53 in best fine art shows in the world, the Bethesda Row Arts Festival is a must for both collectors and anyone who appreciates art. The streets of Bethesda will transform into a gallery with handmade jewelry, ceramics, sculptures, photography, and watercolor paintings on display. Art will range from $45 – $20,000.

EVENT | CLASSIC CAR SHOW

📅  Saturday, October 15th

Go grease lightning! Show off your Thunderbird, or gawp at someone else’s, at Rockville’s annual antique car show. Don’t forget your leather jacket. Some classic cars will be available for sale too.

603 Edmonston Dr, Rockville, MD 20851


OCTOBER 16TH – SUNDAY OCTOBER 23RD


© SvenKirsch/Pixabay | © Henry Laurisch/WikiCommons | © Designatic/Pixabay | © Bruce Fingerhood/Flickr© SvenKirsch/Pixabay | © Henry Laurisch/WikiCommons | © Designatic/Pixabay | © Bruce Fingerhood/Flickr

FESTIVE | KILL ZOMBIES

📅  Weekends October 16th – November 1st

A twist on the classic haunted house, DC Dead’s interactive game is a spooky challenge – you’re supplied with nerf guns to shoot zombies in real-time. None of that no touching actors, business. Search for supplies, run from the undead, avoid their darts – if you get hit, you’re dead. There’s a complex scoring system, and prizes awarded for the highest scoring teams.

 

2020 Shannon Pl SE, Washington, D.C., DC 20020

MUSIC | CHVRCHES

📅  Monday, October 17th – Tuesday, October 18th

The Scottish synthpop band will perform at Echo Stage for two nights in a row. Expect a stellar light show and high notes that seem humanly impossible to reach. The first night sold out, but the 18th still has availability. Tickets are $45.

📅  Saturday, October 22nd & Sunday, October 23rd

Blast pumpkins out of a cannon at Butler’s Orchard. Afterwards, head to the pumpkin patch and rescue a pumpkin from certain death by taking it home with you. Pumpkins cost $0.65/lb. While you’re at Butler’s, immerse yourself in the variety of fall activities they offer – get lost in the corn maze, enjoy a hayride, bellow down giant slides, and pet barnyard animals.

 


OCTOBER 24TH – MONDAY OCTOBER 31ST


FITNESS | HIGH HEEL DRAG RACE

📅  Tuesday, October 25th

Running in heels – not just for the ladies. Drag queens will be adorned in full, fabulous attire in Dupont Circle’s annual high heel race. Strut your own stuff, or cheer for the queens as they stumble up 17th in skirts and stilettos.

EVENT | INTERNATIONAL HORSE SHOW

📅  Tuesday, October 25th – Sunday, October 30th

The championship riding event will host around 600 international riders and horses. Events include jumping, dressage, and barrel races. But the horses will have to share the spotlight with a smaller species – terriers. The classic terrier races features the dogs running and jumping through a course designed for a horse.

Verizon Center 601 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004, +1 (202) 628-3200

 

EVENT | NIGHT OF THE LIVING ZOO

📅  Friday, October. 28th

The National Zoo’s annual Halloween party is adults-only. Craft beer, a live DJ, and a ghoulish costume contest make for a spook-tacular evening. Attendees will be permitted after-hours access into the Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center, and potentially the Great Ape House (which is currently closed for an infant orangutan who needs private time to bond with mom.) Tickets are $30.

The National Zoo, 

 

FITNESS | MARINE CORPS MARATHON

📅  Sunday, October 30th

The 41st Marine Corps Marathon received a more scenic and patriotic route this year. The 26.2 mile course begins in Arlington, veers over the bridge into District limits, travels downtown through the National Mall, and loops back into Arlington to finish at Arlington National Cemetery. The “People’s Race” can be too much for the average Joe, but there’s a simultaneous 10k race that might be more your style.

Route-110 Arlington, VA

 

FUN | EMBASSY TRICK-OR-TREATING

📅  Monday, October 31st

Whoever said adults are too old for trick-or-treating never spent Halloween in DC. Embassy Row, the concentrated section of Massachusetts Avenue where embassies and consulates reside, hosts Halloween parties and a trick-or-treating collaborative during the early afternoon. Trick-or-treat at twenty countries, and receive a variety of international candy, in under an hour. You’ll see plenty of college students flock to the German embassy, which is rumored to bestow beer upon thirsty trick-or-treaters.

Embassy Row, Washington, DC 20008

 

MUSIC | SCARE THE FUNK OUT OF YOU

📅  Monday, October 31st

The Hamilton’s annual Halloween bash features afrofunk orchestra Chopteeth, whose tunes are a blend of West African funk and American pop. There’ll be a dance floor so monsters can move in’ to the groovin’ (especially after a few shots). The costume contest winner receives a $200 cash prize.

The Hamilton,