Halloween is around the corner, which means weekends full of bar crawls and costume contests. After awhile, though, both prospects sound as exciting as a party packed with people dressed as David S. Pumpkins. There's far more seasonal fun out there: Here are 10 Halloween events that actually sound like something worth going to.
Espookio at Estadio, through Oct. 31
In addition to its daily menu, Estadio is offering Halloween treats: “boo-cadillo” (a riff on bocadillo, a small, Spanish sandwich) and “monster-ditos” (open-face sandwiches known as montaditos). Edible eyeballs top the manchego cheesecake, and festive cocktails include a pumpkin slushito and a gin and tonic mixed with blood-red, house-made tonic. The festivities come to a head Oct. 31 when the restaurant, which is appropriately decorated for the season, throws its second annual Halloween party. 1520 14th St. NW.
Port City's Long Black Veil happy hour at Gadsby's, Saturday
One of the most fabled mysteries in Alexandria's history is the story of the Female Stranger, a woman who died at Gadsby's Tavern on Oct. 14, 1816. Her face was concealed by a long black veil, and she never told anyone her true identity. Her male companion disappeared right after she died. Buried in the nearby St. Paul's Cemetery, the unknown woman reputedly haunts room eight of Gatsby's. On the 201st anniversary of her death, the tavern remembers the Female Stranger with a Halloween happy hour. Tickets include tours, snacks and a pint of Port City Brewing's Long Black Veil IPA. 6 to 9 p.m. 134 N. Royal St., Alexandria. $25.
Soul Strolls at Congressional Cemetery, Oct. 20-21 and 27-28
The Congressional Cemetery is the resting place for soldiers, politicians, madams, spiritualists and one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. You'll “meet” some of the cemetery's famous residents during “Soul Strolls” of the grounds at twilight and after dark. (BYO flashlight.) Wine and beer are sold in the cemetery's chapel before and after tours; a VIP ticket includes three drinks in a “speakeasy” in the public vault — a burial chamber where the bodies of three presidents have been temporarily interred. 5:30 to 10 p.m. 1801 E St. SE. $22 adults, $12 children. $55 VIP.
Members of some of the city's finest hardcore and punk bands — including Kombat, the Rememberables, Bacchae, Rashomon and Pure Disgust — form cover bands and play the songs of their favorite groups, including Weezer, Jawbreaker and Rage Against the Machine, to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. It's organized by the team behind the annual Damaged City punk festival, so you know it's going to be good. Remember to wear a costume: Prices go up if you don't dress up. 7 p.m. to midnight. 3548 14th St. NW. $10 if wearing a costume, $15 if not.
Night of the Living Zoo, Oct. 27
Leave the kiddos at home for this one. The adult-only party, which includes craft beer, a costume contest and performance artists, culminates in a DJ-led dance party. Food trucks supply the fuel, including cake pops from Baked by Yael, empanadas from D.C. Empanadas, pizza from D.C. Slices and barbecue from Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company. You’ll also get after-hours access to such exhibits as the small-mammal house, reptile center and the Great Cats Circle. 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. $40.
This annual scary movie festival includes the 1922 silent film “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror” and the creepy 1977 Italian horror movie “Suspiria,” but the biggest draw will be the only Washington-region screenings of the newly restored version of “Night of the Living Dead.” On Oct. 28, the screening will be preceded by the annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk, when elaborately costumed hordes gather at Denizens for beers and costume contests before making their way through the streets, beginning at 9 p.m. Movie showtimes vary. AFI Silver: $13 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children. The Silver Spring Zombie Walk is free.
Del Ray Halloween parade, Oct. 29
Live music, pets in costume and spooky decorated homes make up the Del Ray Halloween parade. Don't want to participate? Grab a seat on the sidelines at one of the bar patios nearby or along the route, including Evening Star Cafe and the Front Porch. Many bars offer drink specials and provide just as good of a view. 2 p.m. Begins at Mount Vernon Ave., south of E. Bellefonte Ave. Free.
Jos. A. Magnus Halloween cocktail menu, through Oct. 29
The bar at the Ivy City distillery recently debuted a cocktail menu dedicated to scary movie villains and boogie monsters. The Freddy Kruger is made with vodka, rosemary, lemon and Axia Bianco vermouth; the Candy Man features the distillery’s bourbon along with tonic and pomegranate brains; and the Hannibal Lecter is mixed with Jos. A. Mangus bourbon, maple syrup, lemon, blueberry, egg white and Chianti. Fava beans not included. 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE. $12-$14.
Drink Company's latest pop-up bar is full of creepy dolls, spooky cocktails and sinister things that rattle in the night. On Halloween, the Shaw bar is using evil as a force for good: A $20 cover charge will be donated to José Andrés's World Central Kitchen, which has fed more than 130,000 Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Buying tickets in advance guarantees at least two hours inside the bar on what will probably be its busiest night. 1843 Seventh St. NW. 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. $20.
“Arts and crafts for adults” is the theme at the Red Derby's annual pumpkin-carving contest, which finds artists and groups carving intricate designs into gourds to win bar tabs and other prizes. (The bar provides a limited number of pumpkins and carving tools.) While you work, you can watch the original “Halloween” film on a big screen, or enjoy seasonal beers and drinks on the patio or rooftop deck. 8 p.m. 3718 14th St. NW. Free.