FYIDC: What’s Happening This Halloween?

The DMV offers a variety of spook-tacular events to give Washingtonians all the more reason to dress up this Halloween season.
By Brittni Guevara

Costume? Check.  Makeup? Check.  Candy? Keep the porch light off; the area has more exciting things to do than pass out candy this Halloween.

The spooky holiday will be here before you know it. Don’t wait too long to make some exciting plans, so get the ball (or in this case, the pumpkin!) rolling.  Here are some fun Halloween-themed events that we think will keep you in the blood-sucking vampire, cackling witch, chain-clanking ghost mood all month long.

The Spooky Movie International Film Festival

Some "spooky zombies" at The Spooky Movie International Film Festival. (photo courtesy of Curtis Prather, Spooky Movie)

Thursday, October 13th-Sunday, October 16th
What better way to get you into the Halloween spirit than watching a couple scary flicks? The 6th Annual Spooky Movie International Film Festival will feature over 32 hours of creepy-crawly, eye-covering shorts and features from around the world.  Opening night will feature the film Helldriver, the zombie-filled 2010 film directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura.  Enjoy an opening-night reception after the 7PM screening and before the 10PM screening of Helldriver, which will feature food, drinks and a “Scary-oke” session (karaoke, for those who didn’t get it!). Just steps away from the famously scary “Exorcist steps”, this year’s festival films will be shown at the Artisphere Dome Theatre, 1101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington. Although some days will feature films appropriate for the kids– like Sunday the 16th when the 1951 film The Thing from Another World will show for everyone ages 10 and up– but unless specified, no one under 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. Tickets for the event can be purchased here and are priced at $8 per film block; $20 for opening night, which will cover the reception too; $70 for a weekend pass, includes Friday through Sunday screenings; or $80 for a VIP pass, which covers all films including opening night.  For more infomration on this spooky festival, click here.

Rock, Paper, Zombies: An Evening of Art, Music and Costumes

The mansion at the Strathmore in North Bethesda will be transformed into a spookfest this Halloween season. (photo courtesy of dcJohn, Flickr)

Friday, October 28th at 8:30 PM
Halloween costumes, hip music and unique art all packed together in a mansion? Awesome.  The Strathmore mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, is hosting a Halloween-themed bash that will keep you dancing and drinking all night long. One artist to be featured at this Halloween hotspot is Rich Bernett, whose most noted work is band gig posters.  Other artists include John Foster and Itty Bitty Press.  Keep groovin’ and goblin’ throughout the night to the musical sounds of bands like Mittenfields and Bellflur.  The event starts at 8:30 PM but if you show up at 8, you can enjoy a haunted happy hour before the festivities begin.  Tickets are $10, if purchased in advance here, or $12 at the door.  Don’t forget to wear your costume; you don’t want to be the party pooper!

The 4th Annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk

Local "zombies" swarm the outside of the AFI Silver in Downtown Silver Spring for the annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk. (photo courtesy of Downtown Silver Spring, Flickr)

Saturday, October 22nd at 8 PM
Although it may have gotten a little rowdy last year, the annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk is back on for another creepy walk around Downtown Silver Spring!  With over 2,000 zombie participants, this year is expected to bring out the scariest zombies of them all.  Beginning at the intersection of Georgia and Sligo Avenues in Downtown Silver Spring, you can join the rest of DMV’s zombies as they stalk down through Ellsworth Drive and end at the AFI Silver Theatre.  The walk, which starts at 8:45 PM, will be followed by the screening of the movie Dead Snow, directed by Tommy Wirkola, at the AFI Silver at 9:45 PM.  Tickets for the movie are available here.  Zombies of all ages can participate in the walk, but children must be accompanied by an adult or guardian to view the film.  Zombie Walk coordinators are pleading with participants to keep their inner zombie to a minimum and not repeat the window-banging fiasco from last year’s walk! So make your face look as pale and dead as possible and head Downtown for a zombie raid.

Bark-O-Treat at Redwood

Dress you and your dog up in fun Halloween costumes for the Bark-O-Treat party at Redwood Restaurant and Bar. (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Tuesday, October 25th
If everyone in the family is getting into the Halloween spirit, your little pooch can be part of the festivities too! At the Bark-O-Treat doggie Halloween party at Redwood Restaurant and Bar, 7121 Bethesda Lane, all the puppies of the DMV can show off their scariest and most creative costumes.  This free event is family-friendly and open to the public.  The Bark-O-Treat party will have prizes for the best dog costumes and the best owner/dog matching costumes of the day.  A full bar and Halloween themed food will also be provided to keep both man and his best friend happy and occupied all day long.  Be sure you and your canine companion are dressed in your Halloween best.

DMV Ghost Tours

Let tour guide Wellington Watts take you on a mysteriously scary walk through Alexandria's creepiest spots. (photo courtesy of Wellington Watts, Alexandria Colonial Tours)

What’s scarier than finding out the bloody, gory, mysterious tales of the Washington area could have happened in your backyard?! There are several ghost tours in the DMV area that will surely creep you out with their haunting tales of Washingtonian terrors.  Although many ghost tours are open outside of the Halloween season, this would be the perfect time to check them out. Below are two ghost tours that could be happening in your area:

  • The Washington DC Ghost Tours highlights the conspiracies, crimes of passion and murders of Lafayette Park on these spooky tours.  For the month of October, specific days like Halloween night will feature two tour times, 8 PM and 8:30 PM as opposed to the usual 8 PM tour only. A scary and intriguingly good time, these ghost tours are open for the entire family.  Adult tickets (ages 12+) are $15, children tickets (ages 7-11) are $8 and children 6 and under get in for free.  The 90-minute tours begin in front of the Dolley Madison House, 1520 H Street NW. Reservations are required, so sign up here to find out why Lafayette Park is known as “Tragedy Square”!
  • Alexandria’s Original Ghost and Graveyard Tour may leave you shaking in your Ugg boots.  For their Halloween special, the tour will visit spooky rooms where restless spirits still creep, eerie Alexandria streets, cemeteries and one of the most haunted buildings in Old Town.  Tickets for adults (ages 18+) are $15, children’s tickets (ages 7 to 17) are $7 and children 6 and under get in for free.  Some of the proceeds of the tour benefit Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.  Halloween special tour dates are Friday, October 28th through Sunday, October 30th starting every 15 minutes from 6:30 PM to 9 PM.  Each tour is an hour long, so be prepared to be spooked.  Click here to purchase tickets.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your costumes, makeup and the whole family and head out around town for some Halloween fun.

But remember: when you get home… DON’T look under the bed!

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