Halloween Happenings Guide 2023


We are grateful to Bright Horizons for sponsoring this Halloween Events and Happenings Guide which allows us to continue to bring resources like this to local DMV families.

Bright Horizons® knows childhood is a treasured time and they believe it is their responsibility to provide environments and experiences that capture the joys of childhood, nurture each child’s individual growth and development, and pave the way for success in school and life. Bright Horizons’ exceptional educators have been providing high quality early education and care to children in the DC area for over 20 years. Find a Bright Horizons center near you at brighthorizons.com/washington-dc.

Halloween Happenings and Events Guide 2023

There are tons of family-friendly Halloween events to enjoy in the DMV! We have compiled a list of spooktacular events that your whole family will enjoy, including outdoor movies, carnivals, costume contests (for human kids and fur babies), and more.

For more ideas on how to have some Halloween fun, check out these Halloween movies for kids, Halloween craft ideas, pumpkin patches, and this Halloween Game and Spooky Window Hunt. And check out our Guide to the Month of October too!

Eye Spy Trains

October 7 – 29 (Saturdays and Sundays)
Cabin John Regional Park and Wheaton Regional Park
Rockville and Wheaton, MD
The popular Halloween Eye Spy Trains are back on weekends throughout October. The Montgomery Parks’ Cabin John Miniature Train and the Wheaton Miniature Train will take your little ghosts and goblins on a ride through “Trainslyvania.” Purchase tickets in advance online to reserve your preferred date and time.

Boo at the Zoo

October 20 – 22
Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Washington, DC
Boo at the Zoo is a family-favorite Halloween activity. The zoo is decorated for Halloween fun, and Jack-o-Lanterns will even be included in some habitats. It offers fun decorations and around 30 trick-or-treat stations. Attendees will also have access to animal viewing at the Elephant Community Center, Small Mammal House, and Reptile Discovery Center. Tickets are required and do sell out.

Grief and Ghost Tours

October 21 & 22 and October 27 & 28
Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden
Alexandria, VA

Since it was built in 1785, the Lee-Fendall house has been home to several families, convalescing Union soldiers, and enslaved and free African Americans. Explore this long history as you learn about Victorian mourning traditions and stories of tragic deaths and mysterious occurrences that occurred here. Tickets are required for this event.

Hirshhorn Howl-O-Ween

October 22
Hirshhorn Museum
Washington, DC
Join the Hirshhorn with (or without) your pup for a morning of costumes and coffee in the Hirshhorn’s outdoor Sculpture Garden. Dress your dog in its favorite costume and enter them in a furry fashion contest for the chance to win a few special prizes. Dogs and their people can take part in a variety of activities including a seasonal photo booth and Halloween-themed art activities. Tickets are required.

Harbor Halloween

October 22
National Harbor
National Harbor, MD
Start your Halloween celebration early at this FREE family-friendly event at National Harbor. A variety of fun activities are scheduled including an outdoor screening of Hocus Pocus (1pm), a pumpkin carving contest, and trick-or-treating at 30 participating businesses. Children dressed in costumes will receive a free ride on The Capital Wheel and the Carousel (with the purchase of adult admission). Your costumed furry family members can get in on the fun, too, as they compete for prizes in the Pet Pawrade. Please note that you must register your pet to participate in the Pet Pawrade.

Night at the Movies: Hocus Pocus

October 22
City Hall
College Park, MD
This FREE outdoor screening of the Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus, will feature family-friendly games and activities, popcorn, and sno-cones. Halloween bags will be given on a first-come first-served bases, while supplies last. The movie will begin at sunset. Don’t forget your blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics!

NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular

October 22
Kennedy Center
Washington, DC
This annual event celebrates Halloween and Día de los Muertos with fun, classic, and sometimes spooky music. Members of the orchestra will be decked out in their Halloween best, and audiences are encouraged to wear costumes as well. Visitors who arrive early will have the opportunity to trick-or-treat and to try out instruments at the Haunted Hall Musical PLAYspace. Tickets can be purchased online.


October 26
Alethia Tanner Park
Washington, DC
Head to Alethia Tanner Park in NoMa for live entertainment, food, music, a scavenger hunt, and a “pick-your-own” pumpkin patch (each guest will receive a FREE pumpkin while supplies last). Attendees and their furry friends are encourages to dress up and participate in costume contests. The event includes a screening of Hocus Pocus at 6:30pm. Reserve tickets online…don’t miss out on this FREE, family-friendly event!

DC DPR Halloween Events

October 26 – 31
Various Times and Locations
Washington, DC
DPR is hosting Halloween-themed events in all 8 wards. Families can find a variety of Halloween fun across the District including haunted houses, costumed tennis instruction, a fashion show, Halloween parties, and, of course, trunk-or-treating! Check out the DPR website to explore all Halloween-themed events and to register online.


October 27
Eastern Market
Washington, DC
Hill-o-ween is a much loved tradition in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. For over 20 years, families have gathered for fall fun, creativity, and community. This year, the event will run from 5pm until 8pm. Check out the Hill-O-Ween event website for more information on how to participate in the spooky fun.

Halloween on the Farm

October 27 & 28
Frying Pan Farm Park
Herndon, VA
Give your kids the experience of trick-or-treating on a farm! Participants will be able to play games, enjoy the decorated farmhouse, visit farm animals, and make crafts. Tickets are required for this event. Go online to select your one-hour time slot and to purchase tickets.

Halloween Nights Fun and Sweets at The Mansion on O

October 27 – 31
Times Vary
Washington, DC
This unique Halloween treasure hunt allows visitors to search for seasonal and Halloween themed items throughout the Mansion’s 100+ rooms and look for its 80 secret doors. Attendees are invited to go in costume (there will be a costume contest!) and, of course, there will be candy. Online reservations required.

Air & Scare

October 28
National Air and Space Museum at Udvar-Hazy Center
Chantilly, VA
The Museum’s popular Air & Scare event features both indoor and outdoor activities. Attendance is FREE, however a timed-entry ticket is required for the outdoor activities. Tickets for the outdoor portion are already sold out, but tickets are not required for the indoor portion of Air & Scare. Costumes are encouraged but check the website for costume guidelines.

Glen Echo Park Fall Frolic

October 28
Glen Echo Park
Glen Echo, MD
This FREE, family-friendly event offers Halloween fun in the lovely setting of Glen Echo Park. Details about this year’s event have not yet been released, but last year, kids trick-or-treated at the Park’s studios and galleries with a bag that they decorated. There were additional craft activities to for kids to enjoy.

Monster Bash

October 28
Takoma Park, MD
The Takoma Park Recreation Department will once again host this FREE family-friendly Halloween event. The Monster Bash event will kick off at 1pm with a DJ and dancing, Trunk-or-Treat, and a magic show. The Costume Parade and Contest will begin at 2pm and end at the Takoma Park Library/Community Center. Festivities will end with the Costume Award Ceremony and Celebration, including a selfie station, games, and more.

Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon

October 28
Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon, Virginia
Trick-or-Treat at Mount Vernon! Dress in costume and collect candy against this historic 18th-century backdrop. There will be a Costume Parade, an opportunity to greet General Washington, and a variety of 18th-century entertainment including a magic show and a Punch and Judy Puppet Show. You must reserve tickets online.

Halloween Carnival

October 28
Cherry Hill Park
Falls Church, VA
Costumes are encouraged at this annual, family-friendly Halloween Carnival in Cherry Hill Park. This year’s event will include games, inflatables, snacks, and more. The Carnival will be open with two time-slots: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The cost to attend and participate in carnival activities is $1 per person (children under 2 years are free).

Del Ray Halloween Parade

October 29
Del Ray Neighborhood
Alexandria, VA
Del Ray’s annual Halloween Parade begins at Mount Vernon Ave., south of E. Bellefonte, and continues down to the Mount Vernon Recreation Center play fields. Children, parents, pets, and strollers in costumes are invited to march and show off their Halloween costumes. Awards will be given out for the very best ones! Attendees will also enjoy live music at the end of the parade.

Family-friendly Halloween eventsDo you know of any events we should add?! Please let us know in the comments.

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Julie Hart
Julie is a proud born and bred Texan, but has called DC home since 2001. She studied at the University of Texas and then moved to DC to get her MPA at the George Washington University. Julie worked for ten years for a Member of Congress, where she loved working to impact public policy. In 2013, her world turned inside out when she gave birth to twins and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Currently Julie lives in the H Street Corridor with her husband, two kids, and their increasingly grouchy senior dog, Presley. Yes, please: movie dates with her husband, trying new restaurants, exploring DC with her kids, last minute road trips, being outdoors, festivals (of any kind), girls’ night out, and a rainy day with “Pride and Prejudice.” No, thank you: hot and humid summers, mistreating animals, Legos (ouch!), public speaking, laundry, raw fish


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