2013 Halloween Parties in Washington

Afternoon bar crawls, twerk parties, rooftop costume extravanganzas, and much more.

By: Rebecca Nelson

At Brightest Young Things’ Twerk or Treat dance party at the Sphinx Club in Logan Circle, Brooklyn-based artist collective Cheryl, DJ Rex Riot, and synth-pop ravers Avan Lava promise a full soundtrack of twerk-worthy beats. Come in a costume you can move in—you’ll get brownie points (extra candy? A duet with Robin Thicke?) for dressing up as a teen idol, “vapid empty soul,” or sexy Steve Martin (is there any other kind?), or for coming in like a wrecking ball. Saturday, October 26.

As long as you’re not afflicted with coulrophobia (a fear of clowns), Black Cat’s Halloween Circus is a good Halloween bet. The gritty, rock-and-roll ambience provides the perfect backdrop to burlesque, a freaky sideshow, and local blues crew and headliner Johnny Grave & the Tombstones. Thursday, October 31.

For a Halloween shindig, a graveyard is an unnerving, albeit trite, setting. But banality is forgiven when the burial ground in question is Southeast DC’s Congressional Cemetery. The final resting place for Civil War generals, congressmen, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, among others, the 206-year-old cemetery’s Ghosts and Goblets Soiree includes tours of the grounds, live entertainment, and spirits (both alcoholic and supernatural). Saturday, October 26.

You have to wonder how DJ Ghost makes a living the 364 days of the year he’s not spinning beats at the W Hotel’s annual Halloween Social. Held in the hotel’s P.O.V. rooftop lounge, it offers sweeping views of the White House. And with one of the best costume contest prizes in the city—a sleepover package in one of the W’s suites, plus recovery breakfast in bed—the attire is guaranteed to be over-the-top. Thursday, October 31.

Put on your coolest costume and head to Dupont Circle’s Kabin for Washingtonian's Halloween party from 9 to 11. There’ll be tunes from DJ Soundtraxx, Washingtonian treat bags, and drink specials—and your ticket includes one free drink. $15 online or $20 at the door.  Friday, November 1.

Freddy Kruger won’t be chasing anyone at Dupont Circle’s beloved Nightmare on M Street; he’ll be taking advantage of the dirt-cheap drink specials at this “roaming costume party.” Featuring more than 30 bars, the crawl culminates in a midnight costume contest. Saturday, October 26.

Prefer daytime haunting to midnight debauchery? Head to Arlington for the Clarendon Halloween Crawl, a Saturday afternoon bar crawl for costume-clad day-drinkers. Aside from drink specials, each ticket gets you a refillable souvenir mug and $2 slices of pizza. Saturday, November 2.

To truly enjoy the Spirit of Washington’s Boo Cruise, you’ll have to appreciate puns. On this sail down the Potomac, hors d’oeuvres include “bandaged Frankensteins” (pigs in a blanket), “sliced witches’ tongues” (Monte Cristo sandwiches), and “mashed bootatoes.” Saturday, October 26.

At George’s annual Halloween party, no costume means no entry. Paste on a pencil mustache and go as Vincent Gray or coordinate outfits with your crew and vie to win a $250 bar tab. Early-bird tickets are still available for this raucous bash, which features black and orange drinks at the four-hour open bar. Thursday, October 31.

Got an event to add to the list? Leave us details in the comments!