The days of filling a pillowcase with Reese’s are long gone, but luckily for grown-up Washingtonians, the area has no shortage of Halloween tricks and treats. Here’s our roundup of area Halloween celebrations and costume parties guaranteed to get partygoers in the bewitching mood.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24
International Club of DC’s Masquerade Ball
For a classy take on a costume party, try the International Club of DC’s Sixth Anniversary Gala and Masquerade Ball. The evening will include music, wine, food, and dancing in the grand ballroom of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Guests are encouraged to dress in black tie or, better yet, “period formal attire from the 1800s, 1900s, and Renaissance era.” In true international spirit, the evening will feature classical Viennese waltzes, Brazilian salsa, and merengue. An elaborate dessert buffet is also on the agenda. Tickets are $90 to $155; buy them here. Event begins at 7.
Zombie Walk at the Quarry House Tavern
The Silver Spring Zombie Walk will kick off at Quarry House Tavern at 7:30. Zombie wannabes can stalk the Silver Spring streets until the march concludes at the AFI Silver Theatre for a showing of Shaun of the Dead at 10. After the screening, the undead will keep things lively at McGinty’s Public House.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30
Night of the Living Zoo
Costumed guests at the National Zoo’s first adult Halloween bash can enjoy palm readers, fire eaters, and illusionists while taking in the zoo by moonlight. The band Soulive, along with the Shady Horns and Nigel Hall, will provide the soundtrack for activities such as dancing, a costume contest, food, and a full selection of “potions” for purchase from the party’s sponsor Magic Hat. Tickets are $15 for Friends of the National Zoo members, $25 for nonmembers; 8 to midnight.
Colombian Halloween at Ultra Bar
The third floor of Ultra Bar (911 F St., NW; 202-638-4663) will serve up Halloween with a twist with its Colombian Halloween. The costume party will be Columbian-themed, with flags and Latin music all night. Admission is $20. 9 PM to 3 AM.
Rock & Roll Hotel Costume Party
Be a rocker for Halloween at the Rock & Roll Hotel's party featuring performances by Captured! by Robots, Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, Bonjour, and Ganesh! Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. 8 PM.
Palace of Wonders Nightmare on H Street Burlesque Show
Is it just us or has Halloween gotten a lot raunchier as we’ve gotten older? Palace of Wonders proves it with a holiday-themed burlesque show. Doors open at 6. Tickets are $20.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31
Halloween at the Historical Society of DC
Hosted by George, Gin & Tonic, Kitchen, and Late Night Shots, this spirited soiree will spread out over the venue’s three floors and outdoor areas. The ’80s cover band Sick Feed will join the ’90s cover band White Ford Bronco on the main floor, while the upper level will be reserved for VIP ticket holders. The movie-theater level will show horror classics throughout the evening, and there’ll be costume contests and an open bar. Tickets are $75 to $100 here. 9 PM.
Halloween in Paris at Napoleon Bistro Lounge
J'adore Halloween! The Alliance Française and Napoleon Bistro Lounge will host the tres chic Halloween in Paris, la suite at the Napoleon Bistro Lounge (1847 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-234-7911). The stylish soiree will feature caricaturist Martin Hugg, performance art, give-aways, a screening of the controversial 1915 film Les Vampires and a costume contest with posh prizes like two nights in the Hotel d'Aubusson in Paris for the most French, original and scary costume or Champagne dinner at Napoleon for the scariest. A costume is required and the evening starts at 10. Tickets are $20 for general admission and Alliance Française members receive a free Absinthe Champagne cocktail.
Nightmare on M Street
Fickle boys and ghouls need not make up their minds at Nightmare on M Street. This Halloween bar crawl draws thousands every year with a long list of participating downtown-DC bars and drink specials. Partygoers can start their adventure at any of the three registration bars—the Front Page, McFadden’s, and Mackey’s—and get crawling from there to local hot spots including Public Bar, Madhatter, Rumors, Singapore Bistro, Black Finn, and the Exchange. For the event’s tenth anniversary, Lindy Promotions, Coors Light, and Captain Morgan will offer specials such as $2 Coors Light, $3 Blue Moon Belgium white and pumpkin ales, $4 Captain Morgan drinks, and $4 Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka drinks. Tickets are available online for $20. 3 PM to 1 AM.
Halloween Fiesta at La Tasca
Halloween candy has been known to cause cavities, so trade in your sweets for something spicy, such as the sixth annual Halloween Fiesta at La Tasca’s Penn Quarter outpost (722 7th St., NW; 202- 347-9190) . The late-night party kicks off at 11 and goes until the restaurant closes at 2:30 AM. DJ Nik will spin for the event, which will feature $3.50 drink specials for guests in costume and a $100 gift card for the winner of the night’s costume contest.
Trick or Treat Embassy Row Walking Tour
Sure, the house on the corner always gave out king-size Snickers, but what sweet treats can you expect from the ambassador to Switzerland? Find out when Things to Do DC takes the Halloween tradition international with its annual Embassy Row Trick or Treating. Get in touch with your inner child as you go door to door with a knowledgeable tour guide leading the way. Because of Halloween's weekend timing this year, the tour will showcase residences instead of embassies as in previous years with treats from every corner of the globe. Ambassadors have even been known to open their doors for mini-tours, but there are no guarantees. The event is $34 and costumes are preferred. The group will meet at the top of the Dupont Circle Metro Station's north exit at 7 PM. Cost also includes admission (regular admission's $12) to that night's annual Halloween Graveyard Jam at the Hard Rock Cafe. The party boasts a DJ, live band, costume contest with prizes like a trip to Aruba, party games, appetizers and traditionally one of the larger guest lists in the area, with more than 1,000 people attending in recent years.
HiBall Events’ Monster Bash at the Clarendon Ballroom
This annual party will expand this year to include two parties in one. In addition to the Monster Bash, a four-hour Monster Jam Session featuring Burnt Sienna, Mr. Greengenes, and DJ Lil’ Fos will open the evening. There’ll be two costume contests with cash prizes, six musical sets, and party favors. Advanced admission for the Jam Session is $10, and attendees can stay for the bash at no additional charge. Guests attending the bash only pay $20. Jam Session runs from 4 to 8 PM, and Monster Bash from 8 PM to 2 AM. You can find costume-contest-registration forms here.
Boo Cruise on the Spirit of Washington
The ghostly ship in Pirates of the Caribbean was nothing compared to the second annual Boo Cruise on the Spirit of Washington. The hors d’oeuvres menu includes sweet-and-sour “goblin eyes,” “bandaged frank-in-steins,” and “candy-filled tombstones.” The event will also feature a cash bar, a DJ, and a costume contest. Tickets are $57.07 per person, and the boat boards at 9.
Mansion on O Halloween Party
At the Mansion on O Street (2020 O St., NW), Halloween partygoers have the option of a $30 Martini ticket that includes light appetizers and 90 minutes of open bar from 5:30 to 7; a $30 Dinner + DJ Party ticket that includes dinner and a cash bar and starts at 7; or a $60 Martini + Dinner + DJ Party that includes it all. Tickets and more info can be found here.
Bullpen Halloween Party
Georgetown Events could hit it out of the park with its 15th annual Halloween party at the Bullpen at Nationals Park (1299 Half St., SE). The event will feature the bands Soja With Mambo Sauce and Judo Chop, and costumes are required. Also on the lineup are an open bar, a DJ, an open Red Bull bar, and a costume contest for a chance to win Smith Point gift cards. Buses for the party will run from the Rookery in Foggy Bottom for $10 a person. 9 PM to 1 AM.
All Hallow’s Eve at American Tap Room
American Tap Room’s Hallows Eve Bash (1811 Library St., Reston; 703-834-0400) will feature contests, giveaways, and specialty drinks as well as a DJ and dancing. Costumes are suggested but not required. Call 703-834-0400 for more info.
Costume Party at Ultra Bar
Ultra Bar will host a costume party. There’ll be spooky decorations, an open bar from 9 to 10, and drink specials until midnight. $20.
A Spooky Union Party
We'd love to get a look at the creative costumes that turn up at techARTS: A Spooky Union party. Artsy types or technology lovers are invited to mingle and collaborate at a top-secret location from 9 PM "until we run out of dry ice." Partygoers have creative control, voting on musical performers and recipients of the evening's techAWARDS and artsAWARDS (you can submit your votes here). And if that's not enough to get the Halloween creative juices going, drinks wil
l be flowing at the open bar. Tickets are $25. Event location TBA.
Halloween Bash and Costume Competition
It won't be your elementary school costume contest at Tattoo Bar. The bar's Halloween Bash and Costume Competition on the 31st will earn contestants a little more than the standard gold star. You could win a $1000 VIP table package; 4 VIP Premium Open Bar tickets to the bar's New Year's Eve soiree for the first runner up; and a $300 VIP table package for second runner up. To be eligible to compete guests must e-mail name, phone number and costume to firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 30. If your get-up doesn't make the cut, the bar is also offering a VIP Table Package that includes two bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, two bottles of champagne, 10 Red Bulls and 10 bottled waters for $500. Doors open at 9. Looks like your mom's sewing machine's not gonna cut it.
Yelloween Bash at Topaz Bar
Who says orange and black have the color monopoly on Halloween? Think outside the jack-o-lantern when you hit the Yelloween Bash at Topaz Bar on October 31. Sponsored by Veuve Clicquot's Yellow Label, the event will feature tarot card readings, a costume contest and complimentary hors d'oeuvres to compliment the complimentary Veuve Clicquot champagne. Party starts at 5.
Vampire Ball Costume Party
Whether you're Team Edward or Team Jacob, you'll be sure to sink your teeth into the Vampire Ball Costume Party at Helix Lounge on October 31. Followers of the ever-growing vampire craze can slick back their hair and drag out their favorite coffin for prizes, snacks and specialty cocktails. Ball starts at 6.
Halloween Party at George
If you order your tickets early for the Halloween Party in Georgetown at George (3251 Prospect St., NW) early bird rates apply. For $40 guests get open bar access from 9 to 1, a costume contest, raffles, treats, prizes and classic movies playing all night long on the bar's four plasma screens. Costumes are required. RSVP here.
- Check out our full Halloween Guide
Did we miss any awesome Halloween events? Let us know in the comments.