Things to Do

Halloween Fun, Oktoberfest, and Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Things to Do in Washington, October 8-12

Plus: The story behind Netflix's reality TV show about Gallaudet University.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Happy Thursday y’all,

We’ve got Halloween movies, Oktoberfest, and a theater festival to get you through this three-day holiday.

Get scared with Halloween movies, haunted houses and ghost tours.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

A drama fest: Watch plays, panels, and live concerts celebrating American and Russian arts in  Flash Acts, a virtual theater festival from Arena Stage and the Forum for Cultural Engagement. The six-day festival will release short plays daily in both English and Russian and feature a “Kultura Lounge” show with music jointly composed by Russian and American musicians. Thursday 10/8 through Tuesday 10/13; learn more here.

A new drive-in series: Park Up DC is kicking off a month of Halloween movie nights at RFK Stadium tonight with favorites including the Addams Family, Hocus Pocus, and Beetlejuice. (Tickets are $29- $45.) Some nights will also feature variety shows; this Saturday, see the local Dreamscape Performance Company’s “Kaleidoscope” show with aerialists, dancers, fire-spinners, drag queens, and more. (Tickets are $29-$55.)

On gentrification: DC Public Library and the Anacostia Community Museum are hosting the panel discussion with curators, librarians, and historians called “Connecting Neighborhoods to Libraries and Museums through History and Storytelling.” The virtual event is part of the library’s digital “Right to the City” exhibit, which has shown in parts throughout libraries in DC. Thursday 10/8 at 7 PM; Free, learn more here.

Sing along: Celebrate Oktoberfest with a virtual pub sing from the Washington Revels. Lyrics and jolly tunes provided. The performers mention that you’re encouraged to “sing out lustily at home (but remain ‘muted’ during the singing so we can hear the leaders).” Saturday 10/10 at 5 PM; $20, buy tickets here.

On Monday: Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day with the National Museum of the American Indian’s panel “Mascots, Monuments and Memorialization” as part of its “Youth in Action” series. Hear Native activists discuss the influence of memory on racial politics today, plus a hip-hop performance from Frank Waln. Monday 10/12 at 1 PM; Free, watch here.

Drink outside: “Is NoVa the new NOLA?” my coworker Daniella Byck asks. Not really, but apparently there are some places in Northern Virginia where you can stroll around town with a cocktail in hand. Find them on our map.

Boo time: Get your Halloween fix with some haunted houses and ghost tours. Walk through terrifying wooden trails and scares outdoors or explore some haunted history in the city.

DIY time: For those intrepid drinkers who want to change it up for the season we have just the thing—a pumpkin keg. We walk you through how to make one here. Be a hero, drink out of a pumpkin.

Something fun: 

Tomorrow, Netflix releases its docuseries Deaf U, based on Gallaudet University. It’s a great look at an underrepresented community, plus it’s just funny and compelling TV. We wrote about the trailer a couple weeks ago, and I got to learn more about the story behind the show which started with model/actor/activist Nyle DiMarco.

Me, watching the drama in Deaf U. Actor/model Nyle DiMarco made a Netflix show about his alma mater Gallaudet.
Here’s an excerpt from that piece:

With his smoldering looks and killer rumba moves, Nyle DiMarco won two high-profile reality shows within the span of six months: America’s Next Top Model in late 2015 and Dancing With the Stars the following May. He was the first deaf person to top either competition. Now DiMarco is involved with another reality show—but of a very different variety. The new Netflix docuseries he has created, Deaf U, trades dance-floor fireworks for campus high jinks, capturing student life at DiMarco’s alma mater, Gallaudet, the DC university for the deaf. “Gallaudet really needed a reality show,” DiMarco says in sign language through an interpreter. “It’s not just about the deafness. There’s so much drama, so many layers, and such a range of diversity within our community.”

Premiering October 9, Deaf U follows the social lives of seven students as they navigate personal trauma, gossipy friends, and casual sex. The series is addictively entertaining, but it’s also meant to draw attention to the broader world of deaf education. DiMarco, an executive producer, is from a multigenerational deaf family and grew up using American Sign Language. That’s rare, though: The vast majority of deaf children in the US are born to hearing parents. “I’ve met deaf people who had no background in sign language, but they lived ten minutes away from a deaf school,” he says. “They didn’t know there were other deaf people out there using a language and having a culture. That information has been withheld from those people. I’m working to change that.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.