Things to Do

15 Last-Minute DC-Area Halloween Parties, Parades, and Events

Plus, a ghostly boat tour and family-friendly festivals.

Photograph courtesy of The Boro.

Happy Hallo-weekend, DC!

Halloween is starting early this weekend with a ton of dance parties, kid-friendly festivals, and creepy attractions to attend. Put on your favorite scary—or playful—costume, and celebrate the season at one of these area events.



1. 13 Nights of Halloween

Wunder Garten | through October 31

Wunder Garten is transforming its popular beer garden into a haunted haven over the next several days leading up to Halloween. The multi-day party is stacked with bone-chilling activities including DJ dance parties, pumpkin-holding contests, Howl-Ween excitement for pets, costume competitions, and scary movie screenings (free).


2. DC Witch Fest

Metrobar | October 28

This neighborhood party is a mash-up of vendor shopping, art, and live music. Metrobar is hosting a spooky-themed pop-up market where visitors can browse goods and art from local vendors. Guests can dance all night long at the bar’s Boos, Brews, and Booze Halloween Bash (free).


3. Nightmare in Navy Yard

Capital Turnaround | October 28

If you are looking for a big-time party over the frightful weekend, Navy Yard’s bash at Capital Turnaround is the place for you. This major dance jam boasts two dance floors with fog and laser shows, more than 50 animatronics, two DJs, open bar, and food trucks. Tickets are selling out quickly ($55).


4. Hip-Hop Halloween Bar Crawl

U Street | October 28

U Street is popular for its nonstop parties, and this weekend the social corridor is adding Halloween fun to the lineup. Partygoers are encouraged to come dressed in costume for an 8-hour bar crawl along the strip. The Hip-Hop Halloween Bar Crawl features drink specials, old school hip-hop tunes, giveaways, and a costume contest across nine bars and lounges ($10+).


5. Halloween (Taylor’s Version)

Quincy Hall | October 28

Calling all Swifties to Ballston: Mega music star Taylor Swift releases her album 1989 (Taylor’s Version) this weekend, and Quincy Hall is throwing a party—Halloween-style—to celebrate. The fanfare is all things Taylor Swift, from a Taylor Swift look-alike contest and Swift-themed karaoke, to album-inspired craft cocktails (free admission).



6. Pumpkin Palooza

Alethia Tanner Park | October 26

Pumpkin Palooza is giving away 1,000 pumpkins to attendees at the annual NoMa festival. The highlights of this year’s event include face painting for kids, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, costumed character appearances, doggie portraits, a live performance from Too Much Talent Band, Red Bear Brewing Co.’s pop-up beer garden, and a screening of one of the season’s favorite flicks, Hocus Pocus (free).


7. Silver Spring Zombie Walk

 Quarry House Tavern and AFI Silver Theatre | October 28

Ghouls, witches, zombies, and other deadly terrors will be roaming the streets of Silver Spring for the neighborhood’s annual costumed night. The community night kicks off at Quarry House Tavern with a street party and beer garden, followed by a creepy-crawly stroll down Ellsworth Drive. The grand finale is a screening of classic thriller Night of the Living Dead at AFI Silver Theatre (free for the walk, $8+ for movie tickets).


8. Halloween at The Boo-ro!

The Boro Tysons | October 28

Goblins, superheroes, pets, and pals are welcome to join The Boro’s spook-tastic activity day. The family-friendly extravaganza is serving up cauldron cocktails for adults from El Bebe, a horror storybook reading from Turning the Page, arts and crafts for youngsters, a doggie catwalk fashion show, and more (free).


9. Pumpkins in the Park

Canal Park | October 28

The first 150 people to sign up to attend this neighborhood-wide pumpkin patch will receive a complimentary seasonal beverage and an apple cider doughnut. In addition to eating free treats, guests can decorate pumpkins, or snap Instagram-worthy photos in the mobile photo booth. There’s a giant moon bounce and a live band, too (free).


10. Del Ray Halloween Parade

Del Ray | October 29

The Del Ray Halloween Parade is now 27 years in the running. Along Mount Vernon Avenue—with a starting point at E. Bellefonte Avenue—spectators and paraders can participate in a lively stroll down the street to show off their costumes, pet outfits, and decorated children’s strollers, all while taking in creepy decorated businesses. For extra-spirited fun, neighbors can complete a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt at area businesses (free).


11. Leesburg Halloween Parade

Leesburg | October 31

This community parade has been happening since the ’50s. The Kiwanis Club of Leesburg organizes the march, which heads from Ida Lee Park down King Street to Fairfax Street every year. Candy is distributed to spectators while the Grand Marshal leads the stroll of marching bands, antique cars, and costumed residents along the parade route (free).



12. Halloween Showcase

The Runaway | October 28

Here’s an opportunity to party for a good cause. The Runaway is throwing a music showcase and benefit concert to help raise funds for the Humane Rescue Alliance. The performances on the show bill are a lineup of tribute bands playing hits from groups such as Green Day and Kiss, and there are live spins by DJ Cinema Hearts. Costumes are mandatory ($15).


13. “POTUS”

Arena Stage | October 31

You can see a special Halloween night showing of playwright Selina Fillinger’s new comedy while dressed in your best festive costume. There will be sweet treats for guests to munch on, and a ton of laughter. The full title of the show, set at the White House, sums up the satirical plot full of political shenanigans: POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive ($31).



14. Halloween Hunt

Mansion on O Street | October 26-31

Go on an adventurous treasure hunt for fall and Halloween-themed items through the Mansion on O Street’s quirky museum. The local attraction contains more than 100 rooms to discover and 70 secret doors to find. For the special holiday weekend there’s trick-or-treat goodie bags and a costume contest for scavenger participants ($50).


15. Halloween Ghost Cruise

C&O Canal in Georgetown | October 27

Experience ghostly fun on the water this weekend on the Georgetown Heritage Ghost Cruise. Boat passengers are encouraged to come in festive attire for an evening float along the historic canal. The boat tour features tasty appetizers, adult drinks, and chilling true stories about the canal’s haunted history ($100+).

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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.