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Where to watch spooky, scary movies around the D.C. area

“Frankenstein” (1931) is one of the films featured as part of AFI Silver’s Halloween on Screen series. (Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

As you go down your list of things to do this fall — pumpkin patches, apple picking, bumpy hayrides as you cradle hot cider — don’t forget to check off the annual scary (or slightly scary) movie. Whether you want to bundle up with a family classic outdoors or dress up and do the time warp again, there are plenty of choices in the D.C. area for you this spooky season.


The culmination of Suns Cinema’s Vamp Noire series is “Blacula,” which tells the story of an African prince cursed to haunt the world alone after an encounter with Dracula. The 1972 blaxploitation horror film has healthy doses of gore and cultural commentary, which District filmmaker, writer and artist Britt Sankofa will discuss during a post-screening Q&A. Proof of vaccination is required for entry. 7 p.m. on Oct. 27. Suns Cinema, 3107 Mount Pleasant St. $12.

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Halloween on Screen

AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring is counting down to Halloween with screenings of some of the darkest and most delightful 20th-century horror flicks, including campy delights such as “The Howling” (Oct. 30; Nov. 1, 3) and 90th anniversary showings of “Dracula” (Oct. 29, 30; Nov. 4) and “Frankenstein” (Oct. 29-31; Nov. 2, 4). An Oct. 31 screening of the 1922 silent film classic “Nosferatu” features a live musical accompaniment by Hesperus. Proof of vaccination or negative coronavirus test taken within three days of visit required for entry. Various showtimes from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. $13.


For more gasps than screams, head to Angelika at Mosaic’s Hitchcocktober. It’s an opportunity to see the brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock’s works on the big screen, including “Psycho” on Halloween night. Also on the docket from the “Master of Suspense”: “Vertigo” (Oct. 20) and “Strangers on a Train” (Oct. 27). 7 p.m. on Oct. 20, 27 and 31. 2911 District Ave., Fairfax. $15.25-$16.

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'Hocus Pocus'

This 1993 cult classic centers on a group of evil witch sisters, played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker, who seek to gain immortality through the souls of children. Two “Hocus Pocus” screenings are available this spooky season — one is perfect for the whole family and the other for just the adults.

The family-friendly PumpkinPalooza at Alethia Tanner Park on Oct. 28 boasts live entertainers, pumpkins for “picking,” a scavenger hunt, a costume contest and, when the sun sets, a screening of “Hocus Pocus.” For a more grown-up evening, Ba’Naka is returning to Number Nine to host a drag “Hocus Pocus” screening. Audience members will get to answer “Hocus Pocus” trivia questions for prizes.

PumpkinPalooza: 4-7 p.m. on Oct. 28; film screens at 6:30 p.m. Alethia Tanner Park, 227 Harry Thomas Way NE. Free.

Hocus Pocus viewing party: 8 p.m. on Oct. 25. Number Nine, 1435 P St. NW. Free. Proof of vaccination required; 21 and older.

'The Nightmare Before Christmas'

Is Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween movie or a Christmas film? You and your family can debate that after an outdoor viewing at Rosslyn Cinema. This event requires no reservations, so simply bring a blanket and grab dinner and drinks from food trucks and a wine and sangria bar. 7 p.m. on Oct. 22. Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Hwy., Arlington. Free.

'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'

This explosion of camp and gore has been a Halloween night classic for years, and there are a range of screening options.

The standard “Rocky Horror” experience — chock full of chaos and characters — can be found at Landmark’s E Street Cinema (Oct. 30 at 10 p.m., $10), AFI’s Silver Theatre (Oct. 30 at 10 p.m., $8-$13) or “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” 45th anniversary spectacular tour at Entertainment and Sports Arena (Oct. 31 at 8 p.m., $25-$45). All will feature live shadow casts, but the anniversary tour includes special guest Barry Bostwick, the original Brad Majors.

If you’re a Rocky Horror fan drawn to the film’s eccentric style and leveling of gender norms, consider a drag “Rocky Horror” experience. Metrobar DC is hosting a screening with a drag shadow cast (Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., free); expect full audience participation, too.

And finally, if you’d rather watch the movie outdoors, look no further than the Ven’s Fright Fest. The Dupont hotel is screening the film on its rooftop (Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., $20); tickets include a bag of popcorn. Flaunt your Halloween garb in the costume contest — the winner gets a free one-night weekend stay.