The DC area is wealthy in Halloween activities and events suitable for all ages, ranging from family-friendly events to spooky bar crawls and parties. If you are planning to do a little more than trick or treating this coming October, then there are plenty of other things you can do instead.
1. Haunted Washington, DC Walks Tours
One of the best ways to combine Halloween fun and explorations of Washington, DC is on a haunted walking tour. Washington, DC has an array of special seasonal tours to offer that will give you a chance to explore numerous neighborhoods and buildings around the city for an informative and fun overall experience. Here are some of our favorites:
The Most Haunted Houses Tour – this tour highlights some of the most popular buildings and figures in Washington, DC.
Another option to thoroughly explore the capital is through organized tours. DC bus tours are a good example where you would be able to satisfy your curious side about the area’s history and culture.
2. Boo At the Zoo
The National Zoo’s yearly family oriented Halloween evening event is now seen as an important part of the holiday in Washington, DC. Primarily geared towards wholesome entertainment, this three-day celebration (starts on 20th October and ends at 22nd October) features over 40 treat stations, along with other after-hours access to many of the zoo’s animal exhibits and houses.
Halloween-themed trails are also enjoyable if you wish to take a stroll, and the entire crowd is allowed to show their creativity during the pumpkin carving competition. If you are planning to attend this event, make sure to show up in a costume. The event is for kids between the ages of 4 and 12.
3. Bike Rides
October brings an enjoyable and delightful weather with changing leaves and fall breezes. If you are in Washington, DC at that time, then you should take advantage of this first taste of fall to enjoy some outdoor activities such as bike riding. Washington, DC is quite a bike-friendly city, with trails along the waterfront, near The Mall, and throughout the city. You will also come across many dedicated bike lanes in numerous places, and you can rent bikes in whichever location you like. Your rental will come with a handy map, so you can easily chart your route.
4. Mount Vernon Trick or Treating
Mount Vernon welcomes your whole family to enjoy trick-or-treating on October 27 – 28. Festivities comprise of a scavenger hunt, craft-making, wagon ride, chocolate-making tutorials and 18th-century dance-off in the upper garden (where you will also get a chance to meet Martha Washington). Best Martha and George costumes are rewarded with prizes, and a kids’ costume parade starts at 5:00 pm.
5. Night of the Living Zoo
This Halloween event takes place at the Smithsonian National Zoo on October 26 and is the adult version of the event Boo at the Zoo. The event’s theme revolves around “wicked fun.” From live music to costume contests, Night of the Living Zoo is a festive and relaxing occasion. You will also enjoy appetizing snacks from a different food truck, tasty craft beer, and other fascinating performances.
6. Scream City
Scream City takes place at RFK Stadium, on 2400 East Capitol Street. Throughout October, the stadium remains open on most Thursdays and Sundays, and every Friday and Saturday. The event hosts two indoor attractions: Exorcism Estate and Slaughter Factory, that will keep you screaming all night long.
7. The Mansion Halloween Hunt
The wonderful O Street Museum and Mansion on O have quite a fantastic experience to offer, especially when you walk through the ancient historical avenue while on a scavenger hunt. You will get a chance to witness the mansion’s beauty in its finest attire as you stroll through its numerous secret doors and themed rooms for Halloween and seasonal-themed prizes. If you like, you can also bring along your shopping bag and buy stuff from the mansion itself.
8. DC Drag Queen Race
Drag Queen Race is held at Dupont Circle on October 24, where a crowd gathers for an informal street parade and costumed drag queen race. The event is one of the most popular ones among the local Halloween events.
9. Nightmare on M Street
This huge block party takes place at Dupont Circle on 29th of every October and is perfect for adults. It is widely popular the locals who fill the selected DC areas with goblins and ghouls. You can stop by an array of participating restaurants and bars, each offering something special such as themed snacks or low-priced drinks. In short, you are sure to have a good time when attending Nightmare on M Street.
10. Air and Scare
This event takes place at Udvar-Hazy Center in the National Air and Space Museum on every October 22nd. If you are looking to have some old-fashioned Halloween fun, then bring out your entire family or group of friends to Chantilly, where you will be able to trick or treat at various locations, stroll through spooky and seasonal décor, and have fun with all the themed crafts. And the best part? You don’t have to register yourself or pay an admission fee!
11. Zombie Walk on Silver Street
On October 29, get ready to scuffle around Silver Spring in your zombie costume or impression where many others will join you. Zombie Walk is a wonderful family event that comprises of an easy walk and concludes with a horror movie. Make sure you to put on your best zombie costume and makeup. There’s also a zombie dance party, in the end, meaning you are sure to have a great time. You can participate in this walk for free.
If you just want to have a quiet adventurous time on Halloween, Washington, DC bus tours are a great option for you will get to explore the city without all the hassle.
Brandi Marcene | USA Guided Tours DC Blog Contributor