Turn your fear of the forthcoming election into a much more fun fear of the fantastical to celebrate Halloween and the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos this weekend. Find ghostly tours, witches, nightmarish performances, and candy with celebratory events for kids and adults, both in-person and virtual. Happy hauntings!
1. A ghost tour of Kentlands Mansion
This beautiful Maryland estate is home to many ghosts, including some in Victorian dress since the home dates back to the 19th century. See if you spot any specters in top hats on a spooky walking tour through the grounds (31 S Summit Ave., Gaithersburg) If you’re still looking for more scary story time, the mansion will also host a macabre theatrical reading of works by Edgar Allen Poe. Explore one or both of these options ($15 each, with a combo discount available) on October 30 and 31.
Though the classic haunting experience is off due to Covid-19, Shocktober is offering fun virtual events to keep you scared this week. You can livestream terrifying guided tours of Carlheim Manor, the haunted Leesburg house where the organization is based, and more spine-chilling videos about places like the Well of Souls. Join the online events on October 30 or 31 for $10. If you’d rather try scaring people yourself, you can also explore their Shock Party Haunt Classes with tips on costume gore, DIY Halloween décor, and creepy cocktails.
The name is pretty self-explanatory here: Grab some friends and face masks and go to the Field of Screams Maryland (4501 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Olney) to walk through the combined “Haunted Trail” and “Trail of Terror.” Screaming ensues once you meet the zombies, animated props, dead campers, and other spooky sights. A six-person ticket costs $250; the field is open Thursday, October 29, through Sunday, November 1 (the last days to visit are November 6 and 7).
Though the Air and Space Museum is still closed for the time being, it is still offering Halloween fun for kids, including downloadable pumpkin carving stencils and science experiments involving activities like building your own witch’s broom and “boo blasters.” On Thursday, October 29, tune into the “Air & Scare Live Chat: Sci-Fi Props and Costumes” at 1 PM on Facebook Live to nerd about both the Star Wars and Star Trek series. Throughout Friday, October 30, the Air & Space Instagram account will be sharing “ScareSpace: Stories with an Air of Mystery,” including live chats about black holes, Amelia Earhart, Area 51, and more.
5. A Vampire Ball
Party in a virtual Vampire Ball from Arlington’s Synetic Theater on Friday, October 30. Play Halloween trivia, enter the costume contest (judged by costume designers Erik & Ré Teague), and join the “Thriller” dance class. They’ll also show clips from previous horrifying Synetic performances. Tickets are pay what you can starting at $5.
6. Creepy Cryptology
The Spy Museum is hosting a Spies & Spymasters online happy hour on “Creepy Cryptology” with scientist Alexander Boxer, who will dig into astrology, steganography, and, yes, cryptology. Tune into the free chat on Thursday, October 29, at 5:30 PM (registration is required).
The National Museum of the American Indian will host a free online festival to celebrate Día de los Muertos from Friday, October 30, to Sunday, November 1. See a performance from LA-based Chicano rock band Quetzal and learn about the history of the Day of the Dead with NMAI folklorist Cynthia Vidaurri. Make paper marigolds and hear about the holiday’s culinary traditions including mole and pan de muerto. Explore these events and more on the museum’s Facebook page.
8. A livestream show from 9:30 Club
Catch the BENTTV Halloween LiveScream show—part concert, part film, all drama—with Lemz and DC performer Pussy Noir. They’ll be joined by guests Ana Latour, Blaq Dinamyte, Jaxknife Complex, and JJ202. Access the performance on Twitch here on Saturday, October 31, at 9 PM.
Halloween Food Events
The Mexican restaurant TTT is hosting a DJ-ed Halloween and Day of the Dead celebration with blood orange margaritas and a costume contest. You can make table reservations for two-hour slots the night of October 31; tickets are $40 per person (not including a food and beverage minimum).
Catch the last few nights of spooky fun counting down to Halloween at Wunder Garten (1101 First St., NE). Try carving pumpkins, trivia, and holiday themed drinks like Witch’s Brew and Zombie Juice. Oh, and don’t sleep on the Hallo-Queen Drag Bingo on Wednesday.
Learn how to paint sugar skulls for Día de los Muertos during a patio painting course on Wednesday, October 28, at Shaw restaurant HalfSmoke (651 Florida Ave., NW). The $25 lesson starts on the patio at 6 PM, and tickets include a tequila and grapefruit cocktail.
Beer is the potion of choice at Red Bear Brewing Co.’s (209 M St., NE) Halloween drag show on Saturday, October 31, at 9 PM. Resident drag queen Desiree Dik is hosting the live event, introducing the cast of DC-area performers. No need to bring cash: Audiences can tip drag queens via Venmo.
13. Halloween feast
Nina May’s “Feast” delivery service (1337 11th St., NW) is offering a three-course Halloween menu on Saturday, October 31, with cozy pumpkin soup and chocolate-pumpkin cake. The kit also includes fixings for an evening of seasonal activities—think mini carving gourds and caramel apples.
14. Halloween yoga
Mt. Pleasant yoga studio Past Tense (3253 Mt. Pleasant St., NW) is hosting a Halloween-themed kids class (hello, spider pose) on Saturday, October 31, at 3 PM. The lesson will be held at an outdoor spot in the neighborhood, the location of which will be shared with attendees after registration. Don’t forget to BYO mat and mask to the $25 class.
15. DC Party Box
Plenty of activities have gotten the drive-thru treatment during the pandemic: Restaurant dining rooms, movies, and now trick-or-treating. Roll up to outdoor venue DC Party Box (6011 Executive Blvd., N. Bethesda) on Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31, to drive through a makeshift village for some treats (and maybe a trick or two). Tickets are $9 per person for entry, plus an additional $9 per person to receive candy. The outdoor movie theater is also screening spooky flicks like Beetlejuice, Hocus Pocus, and the Nightmare Before Christmas until Halloween ($15 per adult, $10 per child).
16. Halloween at the Station
Yes, candy chutes are a thing this pandemic Halloween. Test one out at Riverdale Park Station’s Halloween festival on Saturday, October 31, along with games of mini golf and food truck fare. Free tickets are available for half-hour time slots from 1:30 PM to 4 PM.
17. Día de los Muertos at the National Portrait Gallery
Commemorate Día de los Muertos with a visit to the steps of the National Portrait Gallery, which will house an altar and art installation on Monday, November 2. This year’s program is in memory of those who lost their lives to Covid-19, and Colombian-born artist MasPaz is creating a multimedia piece in tribute to members of the Latinx community. The installation will be viewable from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, and people are welcome to leave their dedications of their own on the altar from 2 PM to 8 PM.
18. The Witching Hour
Fire spinners and contortionists take the big screen at outdoor movie theater Park Up DC (2400 East Capitol St., NE), which is streaming Dreamscape Performance Company’s show, “The Witching Hour.” Kids of all ages are welcome to watch the ghoulish extravaganza on Friday, October 30, at at 7 PM, while the burlesque version on Saturday, October 31, at 11 PM is an adults-only affair ($29 to $55 per person).