Halloween is no longer confined to a single day of celebration. If you have the inclination, you could easily stretch out your love of all things spooky for the whole month of October. We have compiled a list of Halloween activities in the area to help you do that. We also included a number of events related to Día de los Muertos (which runs from October 31 to November 2). If you know of other events, please let us know and we can add it to our list. And if you get Halloween fatigue, you can find other fun things to do with your family using our “October Family-Friendly Events Guide” and our “Guide to Pumpkin Patches and Fall Fun.”
Now through October 31
DC Public Library Locations
Throughout the month of October, DC Public Libraries are offering a variety of free Halloween-themed activities and events. Included among these are learning the “Thriller” dance, spooky storytimes, Halloween parties, and more. Check out the DCPL website to see what’s happening at a library near you.
Now through October 27
“The GLOW: A Jack O’lantern Experience”
6:30pm – 10pm (Timed Entry)
Lake Fairfax Park
During the 1/3 mile stroll down Jack’s Lane, your family will marvel at thousands of hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins transformed into beautiful landscapes, iconic figures and larger than life jack o’ lantern structures. Jack’s master carvers will be on hand to demonstrate their artistry and even offer carving tips. The spooky glow provides the perfect backdrop for fall photos! Timed-entry tickets are available online (kids 2 and under do not need a ticket). The first entry time is 6:30pm and the last varies between 9pm, 9:30pm, and 10pm.
October 18 – 20
Boo at the Zoo
5:30pm – 8:30pm
The National Zoo
Your little goblins and ghouls can trick-or-treat at the zoo at over 40 treat stations. There will also be live entertainment, kids karaoke and dance party, after-hours access to animal houses, animal experiences, and Zoo education stations. A sensory space in the Think Tank classroom will be available for guests with sensory processing disabilities to take a quiet break from trick-or-treating. The event is appropriate for children ages 4 to 12. All guests ages 2 and older, including adults, must purchase a ticket. Tickets can be purchased online. As of the publishing of this guide, tickets for Saturday, October 19th are sold out.
October 18 & 19 and 25 & 26
7pm – 10pm (Fri) and 6pm – 10pm (Sat)
Soul Strolls are the Cemetery’s annual twilight tours wherein guests explore the stories of individuals buried there through guided tours and costumed interpreters. In the October twilight and darkness, you will discover the secrets of some of Congressional Cemetery’s “residents” under the guidance of a knowledgeable docent. Hour-long tours depart every 15 minutes between 7pm and 10pm for Friday tours, and 6pm and 10 pm for Saturday tours. Beer, wine, and cider will be available for purchase (accepting cash only). Adult tickets are $25 and tickets for children 12 and under are $12. It is suggested that guests wear comfortable shoes and take flashlights.
“Hocus Pocus” Film + Party
6:30pm – 9:50pm
National Museum of American History
26 years ago, a charming little film about the Sanderson sisters put a spell on us. Now it’s time to let your witch flag fly! Join the Museum for a 35mm screening of this cult classic and a party that’s sure to have you dance—dance, dance till you die! The party begins at 6:30pm and the film begins at 8:00pm. Tickets are available online for $10. Reduced admission cost for seniors, members of the military, and kids ages 3 – 12.
Rumpus Room Family Dance Party: Halloween Special
Rumpus Room is a family-friendly daytime dance party created by DJs who wanted to share the nightclub experience with their children. Rumpus Room will transform the club environment (think disco balls, lights, and of course music) into safe family-friendly fun. Prepare for a dance floor filled with little ones, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers. Costumes are encouraged at this Halloween event. The soundtrack for Rumpus Room is always a family-friendly mix of popular dance hits, classics, children’s songs and more, all at a kid-friendly volume. This event is designed for kids 8 and under, but older siblings are welcome. No adults will be admitted with a child and a maximum of 3 children per adult. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Infants and crawling children can enter for free.
4pm – 7pm
The Lot at First & Pierce Streets NE
At this 7th annual event in NoMa, 800 pumpkins will be handed out for participants to carve and decorate. There will also be a petting zoo, free snacks, face painting, live music, and a dog costume competition. Food trucks will be onsite. This is a free event, but you must reserve a spot in advance so they can hold a pumpkin for you. Only one per person!
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Eastern Market on 7th St SE
Hilloween is a community tradition on Capitol Hill. Wear your costumes and mingle with your neighbors. There will be free bounce houses, face painting, food and drink for purchase, a haunted Circulator bus, photo booth, and lots of swag provided by community businesses (bring a bag!).
6th Annual Halloween Pumpkin Hunt
10:30am, 12:30pm, and 2:30pm
The historic Lee-Fendall House’s garden will be filled with hundreds of colorful toy-filled pumpkins for children to discover. Other activities include crafts to take home, a sticker station, temporary tattoos, spooky stories, a costume parade with prizes, and drinks and refreshments. Every participating child will receive a pumpkin. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes. Only children of elementary school age or younger are eligible to participate in the pumpkin hunt activity. Older children and adults are welcome to enjoy other activities. This event often sells out, so it is strongly recommended that you purchase tickets in advance.
Air and Scare at Udvar-Hazy Center
12pm – 5:30pm
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The museum will offer Halloween-themed activities, crafts, spooky science experiments, and indoor trick-or-treating. Wear costumes, but note that full-face masks are prohibited on visitors over 16 years of age. This is a very popular event, so large numbers of attendees are expected. Allow additional time for parking and security screening. Admission to the museum is free, but parking is $15.
Fall Frolic at Glen Echo
1pm – 4pm
Glen Echo Park
Glen Echo, MD
This family event invites visitors to explore the arts through hands-on crafts, Halloween activities, trick-or-treating, and visiting open studios. The day will culminate in a costume contest and a costume parade through the park.
Día de los Muertos Celebration
2pm – 5pm
Celebrate the Day of the Dead at The Wharf with live music by La Unica, beer stations, street food, and photobooth. You can also decorate a sugar skull or get your face painted. Also, they’re giving out prizes for the best self-painted faces.
Pumpkin Rock & Roll
2pm – 6pm
Participate in a costume parade and enjoy family-friendly attractions including live musical performances, food trucks, inflatable rides and slides, and a hay maze. Don’t miss the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars. The event is free, but you should RSVP online.
3pm – 6pm
The Falls Church Community Center
Falls Church, VA
For more than 30 years this annual event has brought together the community in celebration of Halloween. There will be carnival games, a moon bounce, face painting, a haunted house, a puppet show, and a live creepy creature show. The first hour (3pm – 4:30pm) has activities geared for infants up to kindergarteners. The second hour (4:30pm – 6pm) has activities geared for kids from 1st through 5th grade. It costs $2 per person, but children under 2 are free (cash only).
Pumpkins in the Park
4pm – 8:30pm
Join your neighbors for Halloween themed activities at Pumpkins in the Park. There is something for everyone from a screening of “Hocus Pocus” to a moon bounce to wreath making to cide, wine, and beer. Don’t forget to dress to impress to try to win a spooky surprise! The event is free and open to the public.
1pm – 4pm
Oxon Hill, MD
During this free event, children can trick-or-treat at participating National Harbor stores and restaurants. At 1:30pm, there will be a screening of “Hocus Pocus” on the Plaza Big Screen and at 3:30pm visitors can watch a chef pumpkin carving contest. Other Halloween activities will be available to delight your whole family.
23rd Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade
Along Mount Vernon Avenue
Children, pets, and strollers in costumes are invited to march and show off their Halloween costumes. Awards will be given for Best Pet Costume, Best Decorated Business, Best Decorated Home, and Best Decorated Stroller. Last year’s parade had more than 7,500 participants, which included over to 2,500 children. At the end of the parade, children will receive goodie bags and participants can enjoy live music and kids games and activities. Participation in the parade and post-parade activities is free.
Bone Yards at Yards Park
2pm – 4pm
Come out to The Yards for Bone Yards (formerly, A Very Barky Halloween!). Bring your pets in their Halloween best and enjoy a pet costume contest with prizes and a parade down the Capitol Riverfront Runway. There will also be on-site pet adoption and Bark-or-Treat throughout The Yards!
Halloween on Campus
5pm – 8pm
The Catholic University of America
Families in the Brookland and Catholic University communities are invited to this free Halloween on-campus event. There will be trick-or-treating and carnival games. Parking is limited and it is suggested that visitors use public transportation.
Día de los Muertos Party
6:30pm – 9:30pm
National Museum of the American Indian
Join the museum for a free, family-friendly evening during the Day of the Dead Festival. Dance to performances by Latin Grammy-winning all-women mariachi group Flor de Toloache. You can also visit ofrendas made by Indigenous artists and take part in all-ages hands-on activities such as painting sugar skull magnets and crafting paper marigolds and masks to share or wear throughout the evening. Visit the Mitsitam Cafe for a special Dia de los Muertos menu. Bite-sized food and drinks will be available for purchase throughout the museum. This event is free to attend, but register in advance online. Everyone in your group must have a ticket, including children. A limited number of tickets were available for a special screening of “Coco” during the event, but those have all been claimed.
Día de los Muertos
5pm – 8:30pm
National Portrait Gallery
Celebrate the Day of the Dead with live music, Mexican folk dance, artist demonstrations and art workshops that commemorate the dead in vibrant colors. Participants can learn about the traditions that enrich this cultural celebration. The event begins with the Maru Montero Dance Company performing two sets of Latin American folkloric dances to get the crowd’s energy going with what the Washington Post called “scorching footwork . . . (and) contagious exuberance.” Following the dance numbers, local Mexican folk band Los Gallos Negros will take the stage to deliver an hour of music honoring the spirit of Día de los Muertos. Their set will bring a little bit of the Tierra Azteca into the courtyard as they serenade the crowd with songs from across Mexico. The band will also perform popular tunes dedicated to the memories of Mexican stars Selena Quintanilla, Pedro Infante, and Chavela Vargas.
Enjoy October and all the fun family-friendly activities that are going on! Feel free to tag us at #dcmomsblog on social media.