After a year of Zoom costume contests and streaming dancing parties, Halloween 2021 is shaping up as a return to normal. The CDC has okayed trick-or-treating. Bars have “spooky” cocktails on their menus. Pet costume contests are a thing.

There’s still an air of caution: Some DJ nights require showing proof of vaccination to enter, and you won’t find as many jam-packed nightclub events as you might have a few years ago. But those who live for Spooky Season still have plenty of options — for themselves, their kids and their dogs.

This list will be updated.


Halloween on Screen at AFI Silver

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” and 90th anniversary showings of “Dracula” and “Frankenstein.” A Halloween 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. Friday through Thursday. 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. $13.

Pumpkins & Pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso

Feed your child’s creativity while also feeding the family with this package from Pizzeria Paradiso and Art Works Now. (The two businesses are neighbors in Hyattsville.) Each package includes two pizzas and two pumpkin painting kits with a 6 1/2-inch pumpkin, acrylic paints and brushes, and an activity sheet. Packages are available through Pizzeria Paradiso locations in Hyattsville and Spring Valley. Friday through Sunday. $45-$65; extra painting kits available for $12 each.

‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ at Dumbarton House

The annual Jane Austen film series on the grounds of Dumbarton House draws sold-out crowds of Janeites, who enjoy picnics and timeless love stories on the lawn of the Federal-period home. That formula is being turned on its head for Halloween, when Dumbarton is screening “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” the 2016 mash-up that recasts Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy as cultured zombie hunters, who fight the undead and attend glamorous balls — sometimes at the same time. Guests are encouraged to put a Regency spin on their Halloween outfits. Picnics are welcome; wine and beer are for sale. Gates open to the public at 5:30 p.m. 2715 Q St. NW. $10.

Vampire Ball at Synetic Theater

Synetic Theater is throwing a Halloween party that begins with a performance of the company’s Edgar Allan Poe-themed show “The Madness of Poe’’ and ends with an indoor/outdoor dance party featuring aerialists, DJ remixes and a costume contest. Poe-inspired cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres are included in the “Vampire” ticket price. Proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test is required for entry. 7:30 p.m. 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. $95-$125.

Desiree Dik’s Halloween Ball at Red Bear Brewing

Desiree Dik, the host of Red Bear’s weekly drag bingo night, has invited friends, including Bombalicious Eklavar, Jayvon Love and DJ Twink, for a performance and dance party at the NoMa brewery. The invitation encourages guests to “dress up as your favorite super villain,” but any costume goes. 10 p.m. 209 M St. NE. Free.


Best in Show at the Boro

Costumed pups trot a “doggy catwalk” and pose for judges during an outdoor fall festival in Tysons’ up-and-coming Boro neighborhood, with prizes awarded for the best outfits. Elsewhere, there’s trick-or-treating, crafts and games. Advance registration required for costume contest. 1 to 3 p.m. 8350 Broad St., McLean. Free.

Halloween at The Lane

The Lane, a social club for families that’s home to a giant slide, climbing walls and a roofdeck, is opening its Ivy City facility to all for two Halloween parties. Each session includes a family costume contest, pumpkin decorating, candy and games. Proof of vaccination is required for everyone age 12 and older; masks are required indoors for everyone 2 and older. 2-4 p.m. or 4-6 p.m. 1408 Okie St. NE. $20 per child for nonmembers; $5 per pumpkin.

Lil Pumpkins Festival at BlackRock Center for the Arts

BlackRock has something for all Halloween fans: Families can visit between 2 and 6 p.m. for outdoor trick-or-treating, pumpkin painting and a costume parade, plus a beer garden for mom and dad. After dark, the Germantown arts venue hosts a 9 p.m. screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” complete with a live cast and audience partici-pation. Proof of vaccination is required for everyone 12 and older to enter the building; younger children must wear a mask indoors. 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown. Lil’ Pumpkins is free; “Rocky Horror” costs $15 per person and $120 for a group of four, including popcorn and drinks.

U Street Old-School Hip-Hop Bar Crawl: Halloween Edition

The long-running Old School Hip-Hop Bar Crawl returns to seven U Street bars with a Halloween twist. The format remains the same: Each stop features a different DJ with their own theme: Jahsonic spins “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” at Vivid Lounge from 4 to 7 p.m., while Harvey Dent rocks “106 & Park” classics from 5 to 8 p.m. at Pure. The drink specials also rotate between clubs, so if you find a vibe and a favorite beverage, you can stay as long as you want. Costumes are encouraged, especially if you can find your old Humpty nose or Compton hat. 2 to 10 p.m. $20-$30.

Mad Science Halloween Party at Chicken + Whiskey

Through Oct. 31, the hidden-ish cocktail bar at 14th Street NW’s Chicken + Whiskey has been transformed into a “Mad Scientist’s Lab,” complete with drink specials. The night before Halloween, there’s a party that features DJ Farrah Flosscett on the patio from 4 to 7 p.m., and DJ Welby from 10 p.m. on, with no reservations required. Dress in your best to win $500 in the costume contest, but don’t plan on spending that cash on your drink tab: Costumes will be photographed and shared on Instagram, where the one that garners the most likes will take the prize. 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. 1738 14th St. NW. Free.

Hi-Lawn Halloween

The rooftop expanse above Union Market is hosting a ’90s-themed prom party with local cover band Uncle Jesse, $6 ghost dogs and $6.66 spiked cider cocktails. Tables and lawn space is first come, first served, so arrive early, and stick around for DJ Free Candy after 9 p.m. Costumes are encouraged, and a “prom court” will be crowned on Instagram. 6 p.m. to midnight. 1309 Fifth St. NE. $10-$15.

Nightmare on Eighth Street at Dirty Habit

The Hotel Monaco’s courtyard bar welcomes fire dancers, aerialists and costumed ghouls at this free, no-reservations-required party. Dance to Top 40 hits from the ’80s through the ’00s while sipping themed drink specials. The costume contest has a $200 grand prize. 7 p.m. 555 Eighth St. NW. Free.

‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Screenings

This explosion of camp and gore has been a Halloween night classic for years, and there are multiple screening options over the weekend. The standard “Rocky Horror” experience — chock full of chaos and characters — can be found Saturday night at Landmark’s E Street Cinema (10 p.m., $10) and AFI’s Silver Theatre (10 p.m., $8-$13). If you’d rather watch ‘Rocky Horror’ 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.


Halloween at National Harbor

It’s a kid’s dream to stay in costume all day on Halloween, and National Harbor’s afternoon celebration makes it easier for parents to say “Yes.” Between noon and 2 p.m., costumed children aged 10 and younger ride the Capital Wheel and Carousel free when adults purchase admission. (Limit two children per adult.) Afterward, “Goosebumps” plays on the big waterfront movie screen at 4 p.m. Bring chairs and blankets and make a picnic with food from neighborhood restaurants. Various times. 165 Waterfront St., National Harbor. Free for kids; adult admission on the Capital Wheel $13.50-$15.

Fall Fest and Puppy Parade at Bark Social

Costumes are encouraged for customers with two and four legs during this party at Pike and Rose’s outdoor dog park. The day starts with games — ring toss, bobbing for apples, cookie decorating — before parading around the North Bethesda development. Prizes will be awarded for the best dog costume, the best joint human-and-dog costume and best group costume, which includes one dog and at least two humans. Brews from Silver Branch and cocktails from Frankly Vodka will be available. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 935 Prose St., North Bethesda. $30 for one dog and one or two humans; $15 each additional human. Children aged 3 and younger are free.

‘A Concert for Halloween’ at Washington National Cathedral

Forget haunted mansions: Few things are creepier after dark than a cavernous gothic cathedral, full of shadowy corners and flickering light. Try to avoid shivering as you listen to Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” — a stormy organ piece that’s become standard for horror films. This concert, which also contains pieces by Vivaldi and Purcell, features organist Tom Sheehan and the Cathedral’s vocal and instrumental ensemble Cathedra. It will be streamed online for those who don’t wish to attend in person. 4 p.m. 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW.$45-$65 in person; pay-what-you-wish for live stream.

‘Espookio’ Spooktacular Fiesta at Estadio

For the fifth year running, Logan Circle’s Estadio is becoming “Espookio.” Think frozen Slushito cocktails festively decorated with monstrous eyeballs or jack o’lanterns — or bite-sized appetizers that look like bloody eyes. The dining room is festively decorated, and this year, the fun also moves outside to a haunted streetery. That’s where you’ll find the two-part Spooktacular Fiesta on Halloween night: Tickets include passed pintxos and hors d’oeuvres, two drinks and entry into the costume contest. (If you can’t venture out on Halloween, the special menu is available through the end of the month.) 4-6 p.m. or 5-7 p.m. 1520 14th St. NW. $31.

Haunted Heist at Markoff’s Haunted Forest

After you’ve made your way through the scary outdoor trails and haunted town at Markoff’s Haunted Forest, you’ll probably need a drink. Also, maybe a DJ. Heist, the upscale Dupont dance club, is hosting a pop-up party at Markoff’s on Halloween night, complete with cocktails, a costume contest and optional bottle service, as well as admission to the ghoulish attractions. And because Markoff’s is located north of Poolesville, round-trip bus transportation is included in the ticket price. (Note: Tickets for the Trail at Markoff’s Haunted Forest are sold out for the weekend.) 9 p.m. 19120 Martinsburg Rd., Dickerson. $100.

Profs & Pints Matinee: A Brainy Look at Zombies at Bier Baron

Humans have long believed that the dead can magically be brought back to life. But it’s only in the last half-century that we’ve become obsessed with mindless, shuffling, brain-eating zombies. William Egginton, a professor of humanities at Johns Hopkins University, returns to the popular Profs and Pints lecture series at the Bier Baron to trace the popularity of modern zombies from “Night of the Living Dead” through “28 Days Later,” “Shaun of the Dead” and “The Walking Dead,” and what this fascination with the undead says about society, our fears and our future. Proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test taken less than 72 hours before the program are required for entry. 3 to 5:30 p.m. $12.72.

‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ at Entertainment & Sports Arena

A special screening of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is touring the country in honor of the cult classic’s 45th anniversary, with an appearance by original cast member Barry Bostwick (a.k.a. Brad Majors in the film). The D.C. show is serendipitously timed to Halloween, and fittingly, getting dressed up is encouraged with a costume contest on the line. 8 p.m. 1100 Oak Dr. SE. $25-$45.