Whether they want not-so-scary fun or the fright of their lives, Washington, DC is jam-packed with Halloween activities geared to all ages (and spook levels!)
Why reserve Halloween activities for Oct. 31 when you can celebrate all month long? There are plenty of opportunities to wear your costume this October, from Halloween parades, not-so-spooky dance parties, trick-or-treating (and trunk-or-treating) events, and costume competitions. Beyond disguise-preferred events, there are a number of activities and festivals that celebrate the Halloween spirit, like ghoulish golf, photo ops with Spookley the Square Pumpkin, and—for those brave enough—a scream-your-heart-out haunted house.
Whether you’re looking for frights or not-so-scary activities, we’ve rounded up the best spooktacular events and boo-rific activities in the DMV to celebrate Halloween during the entire month of October. Happy Halloween!
Free Halloween Events around Washington, DC in October
Air & Scare
The annual Air & Scare and the Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center is a Halloween highlight for many DC families. They have everything from Star Wars to Boo Blasters. Admission is free, but be sure to reserve your ticket before you go (tickets will be posted early October). Costumes are welcome outside only.
14390 Air & Space Museum Pkwy.
Montgomery Village’s Pumpkin Race & Fall Festival
Get ready to get crafty at this annual event in Montgomery Village. Contestants are asked to bring their pre-decorated pumpkins (complete with wheels) to test their pumpkin race car’s speed at The Great Pumpkin Race. Anyone can enter and the rules are simple: attach wheels with an independent axis to a pumpkin and you’re ready to go (no weights, motors, or pyrotechnics allowed). Those that don’t follow the rules face the hammer! This event also features food, music and children’s activities.
20215 Arrowhead Rd.
For over 20 years, Halloween has been celebrated on Capitol Hill with DC’s largest Halloween festival, Hilloween. There will be music (and dancing!), pumpkin carving, costume contests and more.
7th St. NW, Eastern Market
Insider Tip: For more free events, check out our guide to trunk-or-treating and local parades below.
Not-So-Spooky Halloween-Themed Events around Washington, DC in October
The Bull Runs Mountain Conservancy has been running their Halloween Safari for over 20 year. Join the Conservancy for a not-so-spooky guided nighttime hike. Be prepared to meet native “wildlife.” Stay after the hike to relax by the bonfire and listen to live music.
Oct. 21 & 22
17405 Beverley Mill Dr.
Broad Run, VA
Even ghosts and goblins like to play mini golf! Just before Halloween Burke Lake Park will host a not-so-spooky mini-golf goblin themed weekend. Because it’s just not Halloween without candy each mini-golfer will get a premade goodie bag to take home.
7315 Ox Rd.
Fairfax Station, VA
Put on your costume and frolic in the garden of the Lee-Fendall House! Activities include a not-so-spooky “ghost” hunt, crafts, and a costume parade. There are several timed sessions throughout the day so be sure to get your ticket early and arrive on time!
614 Oronoco St.
Eye Spy Halloween Trains
The Halloween Eye Spy Trains run through Cabin John Park and Wheaton Park. Ride a mini-train while you look for pumpkins, gnomes and more along the rails. In past years Cabin John has been a little less spooky than Wheaton so keep that in mind if you are going with the littlest ghouls and goblins. Both Cabin John and Wheaton parts have big playgrounds so stay and make an afternoon of your outing. Be sure to get your tickets early as these popular weekend rides through “Trainslyvania” sometimes sell out.
Every weekend in October
7410 Tuckerman Ln.
2002 Shorefield Rd.
Trick-or-Treat & Trunk-or-Treat Events around Washington, DC in October
Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
George Washington is the master of ceremonies at this 18th-century themed Halloween party. There will be baking demonstrations, live music, 18th-century games and puppet shows, blacksmith demonstrations and live animals. Modern day fun includes a Halloween parade and plenty of candy.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Mount Vernon, VA
Gaylord National’s Spookley Halloween
Every day is Halloween at Gaylord National where you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy complimentary daily events. Start by trick-or-treating the Atrium where not-so-scary characters pass out candy, take a selfie with Spookley the Square Pumpkin at the official meet-and-greet station, catch Spookley on the big screen on weekends, and don’t forget to walk the Jack O’Lantern Walk with creatively carved pumpkins. Ticketed events are also available, including a scavenger hunt and an interactive show.
201 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD
Boo at the Zoo
Whose howling after dark? Find out as you creep along the zoo trails at this not-so-scary trick-or-treating party. The animal houses stay open late for this popular DC event where kids can trick-or-treat at over 30 treat stations, dance to Halloween tunes and ride the zoo’s carousel (for an additional fee).
3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Woodley Park
You don’t need to pre-register to trick-or-treat at this trunk event where little ones can go car to car collecting sweets and toys. If you’d like to deck your car out in its Halloween best, register for a parking spot and a chance to win best dressed car! Costume prizes will also be awarded. For a full afternoon of fun, this event also has a costume parade, bounce house and carnival games.
920 Providence Rd.
Alexandria-area Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts are teaming up with Faith Fellowship for a spooktacular trick-or-treating event. Grab treats, play games, and enjoy hot dogs at this family-friendly community event.
7800 Telegraph Rd.
Halloween Parades around Washington, DC in October
Vienna’s Halloween Parade
No need to register to participate in this annual event: All are invited to show off their costumes as they make their way down Maple Avenue alongside floats, bands, and more. A beloved tradition since 1946, this year’s theme is a time machine celebrating Vienna’s past, present and future. Parade participants should gather at United Bank. For a map of the parade route, go here.
374 Maple Ave.
Leesburg’s Halloween Parade
Billed as one of the oldest Halloween parades in the country, this small town pulls out all the stops on Oct. 31. Parade participants toss candy at bystanders as they make their way down King St. An annual favorite includes an exact replica of the Ghostbuster’s car.
Del Ray Halloween Parade
Everyone can get in on the fun at the Del Ray Halloween Parade where awards are given for Best Pet Costume, Best Stroller Costume, Best Group Costume, Best Decorated House and more.
Mount Vernon Ave.
Scary Halloween Events around Washington, DC in October
Markoff’s Haunted Forest
This attraction is so scary it isn’t recommended for children under 12. At each turn, you’ll find frightful scenes along a wooded trail that features expertly designed sets along with terrifying actors. At the edge of the trail you’ll find the Cursed Village featuring a massive bonfire, a DJ and live acts, like fire spinners.
Every weekend in October, Fri.-Sun
19120 Martinsburg Road
This apocalyptic-themed haunted house will give you nightmares (and that’s the point!). Loudoun County’s newest attraction is so frightening, you need to sign a waiver before you (dare!) enter the abandoned grounds of Graydon Manor.
Every weekend in October, Fri.-Sun.
801 Childrens Center Rd. SW
Worth-the-Drive Halloween Events near Washington, DC
Harry Potter’s Forbidden Forest Experience
Wizards and beasts fill this forest just in time for Halloween. Starting Oct., 29, step into the magically enchanted forest of Harry Potter at Morvan Park where wands really work! Guests can cast their own spells as they watch famous scenes from the Harry Potter films come to life. Dates are already selling out (fast!), so don’t wait for Halloween to roll around to grab these tickets.
Oct. 29-Jan. 29
17339 Southern Planter Ln.
Head to Port Discovery for special pop-up events at this hands-on children’s museum. Enjoy special guests, Halloween-themed crafts, a mysterious treasure hunt, pop-up science demonstrations and more culminating in a Halloween parade and dance party on Oct. 30th. Port Discovery’s regular exhibits, including a three-story slide and a room where it’s encouraged to get wet (raincoats provided) will be open during the Halloween festivities. Port Discovery is in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor make a day of it!
35 Market Pl.
The Count’s Spooktacular
Most amusement parks have not-so-spooky Halloween events. Busch Gardens features The Count’s Spooktacular on weekends through October. Kids can enjoy dance parties with their favorite Sesame Street characters, a hay maze, a pumpkin scavenger hunt and more. Kids 9 and under can participated in a costume contest. Each weekend has a different theme including Clowning Around Weekend and Pirate Party Weekend. All kids’ activities end at 5:00 when the park transforms into a haunted landscape.
Cost: $49.99, half-price daytime kids tickets available for the Count’s Spooktacular
Sep. 24-Oct. 30, weekends
1 Busch Gardens Blvd.
BOO by Day
Six Flags America has family-friendly BOO by Day including pumpkin painting, a corn maze and a trick-or-treat trail. Costumes are encouraged all day long. The park is covered with not-so-spooky decorations like spider webs and glowing pumpkins. Some rides have been reimagined to be Halloween themed. Antique Cars are now the Freaky Freeway. Bumper Cars are now Ghost Town Riders. Just be sure to take little ones home by nightfall when the park becomes haunted by ghoulish creatures!
Cost: Starting from $24.99
Sep. 24-Oct. 30, weekends
13710 Central Ave.