Things to Do

Witches, Vampires, and More Halloweekend Fun: Things to Do in Washington, October 29-November 1

Plus: A blue moon.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hey friends!

We’ve got Halloween fun, theater, and Día de los Muertos celebrations.

Ready for some bloody good fun?

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Head to the theater: GALA Hispanic Theatre is opening a production of El perro de hortelano (The Dog in the Manger) tonight. The comedy was written by famous Spanish playwright Lope de Vega in 1618 and it’s a love story defined by class conflict. The performances will have limited capacity and face masks required, of course. Thursday 10/29 through Sunday 11/22; $25-$45, buy tickets here.

Hear the theater: Experience local playwright Sarah Burgess’s political comedy Kings as an audio play. Her work is a hilarious look at DC lobbying culture, including the city’s infamous power restaurants, through the eyes of a congressional newbie. There’s even mention of a fake Washingtonian list (the “Top Gay Power Couples Under 45”). The audio adaptation will start streaming Thursday 10/29; Free, learn more here.

A scream-worthy concert: 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.

Scary viewing: 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.

Get witchy: 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). —from assistant editor Daniella Byck

Scream queens: Beer is the potion of choice at Red Bear Brewing Co.’s (209 M St., NE) Halloween Drag Show Extravaganza 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. —from assistant editor Daniella Byck

Day of the Dead: The National Museum of the American Indian will host a free online Día de los Muertos festival 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.

For more haunted witchy fun, explore my and Daniella’s 💀spooky guide 💀to Halloween and Día de los Muertos events around town.

Something fun: 

A live preview of my Zoom square.

Election scaries aside, I’m looking forward to a weekend of Halloween distractions. I’ve already been queuing up a watch list and I made plans for a low-key Zoom hangout that’s really more of an excuse to drink and catch up with friends. I actually found my old Venetian-style mask with a sparkly rainbow design so I’m wearing that and….pajamas, maybe? Also, since I already inhaled the first two packs of apple cider doughnuts, I’ll have to re-up. What are you doing this weekend? Will you leave candy outside for any trick or treaters—or did you get a candy chute?

Recently I watched two funny movies to get in the Halloween mood: Vampires vs. the Bronx (Netflix) and The Witches (HBO Max). In the first, three nerdy teens fight to protect their neighborhood from gentrifying vampires. It’s a super entertaining watch with cute wholesome moments and great jokes. In the opening scene (tiny spoiler) Zoe Saldana cameos as a nail salon owner who gets bitten after she signs over her property. Plus, Joel Martinez a.k.a. The Kid Mero—a literal Bodega Boy—plays the bodega owner who lets the kids train for vampire fights by watching Blade. In The Witches, Anne Hathaway is UNHINGED in the best way. Her toothy massive grin and screeching voice still haunts me. In this remake of the Roald Dahl classic, Hathaway plays the terrifying Grand High Witch who wants to turn kids into mice to rid the world of children. Octavia Spencer helps three kid-mice, including her grandson, in the hijinks-filled journey to stop the evil witches.

Last thing: There’s a blue moon on Halloween night! It’s been 76 years since the last time this happened, so make sure you take a minute to look up.

Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at rcartagena@washingtonian.com.

Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.