Pandemic or not, SP00KY SZN is inarguably (INARGUABLY) the best time of the year, so it’s ultra-important to make the most of it! We’ve got some v. solid picks for your consideration (thirteen to start, v. appropriate, but we’ll be updating as needed) // prepare to mark your calendar accordingly. (Even though all of the IRL events we’re highlighting are slated to happen outdoors, it’s totally understandable if you’re still wary, so we’ve made sure to mix it up with a balance of virtual options, too. And if you DO head to anything in-person, obviously do your civic duty and wear a mask, practice social/physical distancing, wash/sanitize your hands, etc. We like to keep the horror vibes purely fictional, y’know?)
And be sure to check out all the upcoming spooky outdoor movie screenings via our handy dandy guide!
Wunder Garten’s 13 Nights of Halloween
Wunder Garten at NoMa (1101 First Street NE), Multiple Dates (now through October 31)
Lots of great stuff happening at Wunder Garten in honor of America’s favorite holiday (as dictated by me); they’ll have outdoor heaters and fire pits to keep you toasty as you enjoy some hot themed drinks in a socially distanced fashion. “The Halloween-themed Boo’z will include drinks such as Witch’s Brew, Bloodier Mary, Zombie Juice, Pumpkin Brew, Basic Witch, and other bone-chilling reFleshments.” Spooky trivia happens on Tuesdays, plus there’ll be pumpkin decorating, spooky movie screenings, an LGBTQ night on the 28th, dog-friendly Sundays and more. (Basically, prepare to move to Wunder Garten.)
Online and IRL (various pick-up locations), Free, Multiple Dates (October 21-October 30)
If you’re looking for even a hint of an excuse to carve a creative pumpkin, this is most definitely it; NoMa Business Improvement District is offering free pumpkins for pick-up, as well as decorating supplies and other fun stuff. Then, you can tag your finished masterpiece with @NoMaBID and #NoMaPumpkinPalooza to enter to win in a variety of categories, from Scariest to “Most NoMa”.
Virtual Midnight Ghost Hunt with Bloody Mary’s Haunted Museum of New Orleans
Online, $33, Tuesday October 20
Chug a late-night coffee, ’cause this one isn’t happening until 11pm ET; New Orleans-based Bloody Mary’s Haunted Museum will be embarking on a roughly hour-long Zoom ghost hunt featuring…haunted dolls! Voodoo secrets! EVPs! They’ve got it all! The best part? Lower risk of spirit attachment, demonic possession, etc. when it’s through a computer screen! (At least I would assume! I am not an expert! Don’t @ me!)
DC Brau Adult Halloween Beer & Local Candy Pairing
Online, $26, Thursday October 22
Skip the garbage candy this year and treat yourself to a fun lil grown-up pairing! The menu features Orange Crush Full Transparency + Bourbon Lollipop, On The Wings of Armageddon + White Chocolate Popcorn, Barrel-Aged Ghouls Night Out + Chocolate Espresso Bites, and Wake Up Ghouls For Breakfast + Chocolate Peanut Butter Potato Chip Bark. (YUM DOT COM!) Orders are available for delivery or pick-up, and all who purchase will be provided a Zoom link for the virtual pairing event.
Death Becomes Her Drag Ghost Tour
Online, $15, Multiple Dates (October 23, 24, 30, 31)
Heralded as Chicago’s only drag ghost tour, this virtual series is led by drag queen Wanda Screw; she’ll be telling scary stories and talking about the Windy City’s dark history, from fires to notorious serial killers. It’ll all take place over Zoom during hour-long slots the next two weekends, and tickets are $15 a pop. Perfect for those of you looking to “travel” to a different city without leaving the comfort and safety of home. (Also, we always love a queer vibe.)
The Great Pumpkin Extravaganza
The Bullpen (1201 Half Street SE), $55-$60, Saturday October 24
There ain’t no alcohol like seasonal alcohol, and The Great Pumpkin Extravaganza invites you to try unlimited samples of exactly that! We’re specifically talking beers ‘n ciders, plus there’ll be a cider donut eating contest, games and more, all socially distanced. “Groups will be sat 6 feet apart to comply with CDC guidelines. Picnic tables fit 4-6 participants comfortably. Event staff will bring buckets to each table with seasonal beers and ciders. Wine and seltzers will also be available.” There you have it! There are two seatings, the first from 1pm to 4pm, the second from 5pm to 8pm.
Drive-Thru Trot or Treat
North Star Stables (4092 Rolling Hills Drive, Delaplane VA), Suggested Donation, Sunday October 25
If you’re in the mood to scope some horses in costume (WHO ISN’T?!), take a drive out to Delaplane in Virginia for North Star Stables’ Halloween drive thru along the fence line. (Is this designed mainly for children who want to trick-or-treat socially distanced style? Yes. Do I feel like it still sounds like a real good time? Also yes.) Technically free, but the whole point of this (besides bringing unbridled joy PUN INTENDED) is to raise money for their therapeutic riding scholarship fund, so definitely consider making a donation.
Black History: Ghost Stories
Online, $20, Sunday October 25
Catland has been nailing the virtual programming, and the classes led by Baltimore-based Hess Love are always super interesting; they are the co-founder of Chesapeake Conjure Society, “a spiritual activism hub that celebrates Hoodoo as the epicenter of it’s direction and welcomes in people of all African/Diaspora faiths.” This particular two-hour course will take a look at the history and traditions of Black Ghost Stories and Justice for Black Ghosts, including how to pay respects to local famous ghosts. Buy tickets here.
Spooky Halloween Mushrooms with Masters of Social Gastronomy
Online, $9, Wednesday October 28
Delve into the darker side of mushrooms in this virtual Brooklyn Brainery class, which will cover folklore, fairy rings ‘n more! And while you do need some pretty extensive expert training to safely be able to forage on your own, the basics will also be covered as an added bonus in case it’s something you’re curious about getting into with the proper knowledge.
Día de los Muertos Sugar Skull Painting Class
HalfSmoke (651 Florida Avenue NW), $25, Wednesday October 28
Take part in a Day of the Dead tradition with this outdoor sugar skull painting class, which is happening on HalfSmoke’s patio; the three-hour event will include step-by-step instructions, paint, and one sugar skull per person. You’ll also receive complimentary Don Julio cocktail called La Catrina, which involves Don Julio tequila, charred grapefruit, cinnamon, lime, simple syrup and egg whites. (Yum dot com!)
ScareSpace: Stories with an Air of Mystery
Online, Free, Friday October 30
Air & Scare is happening at home this year with a variety of different activities, but my personal top pick is this one; follow along on Instagram Live throughout the day as Air & Space shares spooky and mysterious stories from the aviation and space history!
LGBT History Month Walking Tour
Congressional Cemetery, Free, Saturday October 31
Congressional Cemetery’s walking tours have been wildly popular, and things like their Soul Strolls twilight series are 100% sold out. However, our LGBT readers (and allies) may be pleased to hear that there’s a special LGBT walking tour in honor of LGBT History Month happening on the afternoon of Halloween. (I don’t know about you, but as a queer individual, this is kind of exactly how I want to spend my Halloween?) It’s obviously not meant to be spooky, more of a history lesson, but a super cool idea; HCC is the only known cemetery in the world with a dedicated LGBTQ section, which is bonkers! Take advantage of such a unique opportunity!
Eighties Mayhem Halloween Dance Party Streaming Live from The Black Cat
Online, Free (donations welcome/encouraged), Saturday October 31
The annual bash will run from 9pm ET to midnight ET, this year via Twitch. (And it’s Beetlejuice themed!!! Costumes clearly encouraged.) While it’s technically a free event, and you don’t even need a Twitch account to tune in, it would obviously be nice to support Black Cat with a donation if you have the means. (Just a thought!)
BENTTV Halloween LiveScream
Online, Free (donations welcome/encouraged) Saturday, October 31
Most definitely tune into this 9pm ET benefit for BENT performers and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) Save Our Stages Fund; the evening will feature Lemz and Pussy Noir, with guest performances by Ana Latour, Blaq Dinamyte, Jaxknife Complex and JJ202. Streaming live from 9:30 Club via Twitch!
Tipsy60 XL Power Hour Costume Party
Songbyrd (2477 18th Street NW), $25 minimum per table, Saturday October 31
From 9pm to 11pm you can post up at Songbyrd’s outdoor eatery for the Halloween edition of tipsy60, the dance power hour ft. one minute music video clips. It’s a costume party, so come dressed to impress; the winning costume will receive a prize! Do note that there are four guests MAX to a group, and you must maintain six feet of social distance with others.
Celebrating Día de los Muertos at National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery (8th and G Streets NW), Free, November 1
We’ll wrap up our thirteen picks on a bit more of a solemn note; National Portrait Gallery is taking its annual Día de los Muertos event outside this year, and they specifically invite the public to remember loved ones and victims of Covid-19, which has disproportionately impacted the Latinx community. Visitors can contribute their own memories to the altars (which will be located on the steps) via artwork, photos or other items. There will also be a 2-hour live visual performance by MasPaz and Guache, which will be projected onto the museum facade starting at 6:30pm.
We’ll be updating as needed, so check back for more as we get closer to Halloween!