Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 10/24-10/30: Rubell Museum Opening, 17th Street High Heel Race, and PumpkinPalooza

Plus, Halloween dance parties and costume contests.

High Heel Race 2021. Photograph by Evy Mages

Happy Monday, everyone!

Its time to get into the Halloween spirit! There are a ton of fun ghostly activities to enjoy this week with your kids and pets, or you can get dressed up in costume and head to a number of haunted dance parties around town with your friends. Who knows, you may be spooky enough to win a best-dressed contest.


Best Things to Do This Week

  1. Rubell Museum DC opening. The new 32,000-square-foot Rubell Museum DC will open to the public this weekend. The museum’s collection includes upwards of 7,400 contemporary works by more than 1,000 artists. The museum is located in what was the historic former Cardozo Elementary and then Randall Junior High School between 1906 and 1978. Guests can view the inaugural exhibit “What’s Going On” (Sat-Sun, free for DC residents, other tickets $10+, Southwest DC). Here are three things to know before you go.
  2. PumpkinPalooza. Pumpkin festival alert! You and the kids can pick-your-own pumpkins, chow down on delicious food, watch a movie screening of Hocus Pocus, groove to live music, and participate in a seasonal scavenger hunt at Alethia Tanner Park’s PumpkinPalooza. And there’s a pop-up beer garden for adults (Thurs, free, NoMa).
  3. 17th Street High Heel Race. The annual High Heel Race down 17th Street is back for its 35th year. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs is hosting the event, along with Rayceen Pendarvis and Citrine the Queen, to celebrate the diversity of DC’s LGBTQ+ community. You can watch the lively parade on Church Street, and then head to the race to cheer on high-heeled costumed drag queens, drag kings, and community members (Tues, free, Dupont Circle). Plus, Lyle is throwing a pre-race Sole Pop-up Spa party that includes foot massages and cocktails, and a midnight brunch after the race (Tues, $25 for spa party, Dupont Circle).
  4. Día de los Muertos Family Day. Who doesn’t love partying at a museum? See live performances from Ballet Folklorico Mi Herencia Mexicana, Mariachi Aguila DC, and Sol y Rumba, while enjoying all-ages face painting and arts and crafts at the Día de los Muertos Family Day (Sat, free, virtual and Smithsonian American Art Museum).
  5. Halloween costume party. Capital One Center is hosting a giant Halloween costume party this weekend. Halloweekend at The Perch will feature live music, spooky golf, pumpkin painting, face painting, a pie-eating contest, and a bounce house. Later in the evening there will be college game day watch parties and a movie screening. Guests are encouraged to bring their pets in costume too. Adoptable dogs from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will be at the event (Sat, free, Tysons).


Photograph by ucpage/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Learn how to make fall southern farmhouse recipes while celebrating National Pumpkin Day at a book talk with author Brian Noyes (Wed, $5, Mount Pleasant). I know you are currently in the Halloween spirit, but the winter holidays are already loading. Be first in line for a lottery ticket to attend the 100th lighting of the National Christmas Tree (Tues, free, virtual).

Halloween festivities. Laugh out loud at a murder mystery comedy show (Wed, $25, Northwest DC). Uncover spooky discoveries and have some science fun at Air & Scare (Sat, free, Chantilly). If haunted homes and woods aren’t your thing, then you can rock out at a 80’s Halloween Dance Party (Sat, $15+, Northwest DC). The Nightmare in Navy Yard party is almost sold out, but you can still grab an all-access pass (Sat, $85, Navy Yard). Watch a frightful film and get a free herbal gift (Thurs, $5, Northwest DC). Sip natural wine and eat free pizza at a Halloween wine party (Sat, $75+, Northwest). Party at a hotel in the spirit of all things ghoulish (Sat, $25, Northwest DC). Go to a Halloween Bash to support a cause. Proceeds help support the DC Abortion Fund (Thurs, $20, Northwest DC).

Arts and culture. Create your own wearable holiday-inspired work of art with your children (Thurs, free, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden). Sit in on a conversation with authors Ross Gay and Clint Smith about Gay’s new book, Inciting Joy (Wed, free, MLK Library). Explore the complexities of interpersonal relationships through the artwork of eight contemporary artists in the new exhibit “Kinship(Fri-Sun, free, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery). View “Opposing Forces” and join a conversation between artists Julie Wolfe and Tim Doud (Sat, free, Northwest DC).

Theater and shows. Have you ever been to a science comedy show? If not, here’s your chance to giggle at hilarious science stories and songs (Tues, $10, Northwest DC).

History and heritage. Día de los Muertos is approaching and the local festivities are underway! Raise a glass in celebration at a Mexican inspired cocktail class (Wed, $65, Northwest DC). Or keep the Day of the Dead events going at Hook Hall’s Lucha Libre Mexican Wrestling two-day party (Sat-Sun, $20, Northwest DC).

Music and concerts. Listen to a live chorus at “Tomorrow!”: A Reflection on Hope and Resilience (Fri-Sat, $25+, Downtown). See violinist Midori live in concert (Sun, $90+, Kennedy Center). The US Navy Concert Band is performing at the Hylton Performing Arts Center (Fri, free, Manassas). Get tickets to see Haitian-Canadian musician Wesli (Sun, $25, Northwest DC). Washington Bach Consort in collaboration with soloists are performing Orpheus Britannicus at the National Presbyterian Church (Sun, $10+, Northwest DC).

Halloween pet-friendly fun. Get dressed up in costume with your four-legged besties to enter a costume pup contest at Bark Social followed by a sugar cookie decorating social the next day (Mon-Tues, contest is free, cookie event is $15, Bethesda). Or you can wear your cute outfits at the weekend DJ dance party (Sat, free, Bethesda). Have an enchanted evening in a haunted forest that includes a “puppuccino” ticket for your dog (Thurs, $55, Alexandria). Go to Howl-o-ween (Sat, $35, kids younger than 5 years-old are free, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden).

Get involved. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Prince George’s County is continuing their Prince George’s Goes Pink campaign and events through the end of the week to raise awareness and uplift women and men in need (Tues-Thurs, free, locations vary). Also, the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association is throwing a fundraising gala that includes music, food, and a hair art show (Fri, $100, College Park).

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Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.