No matter what you do this Halloween, the most important thing is that you have fun and score tons of candy. Tons and tons of candy. Read on for our top event picks (although if you're looking for haunted houses, click here):
Boo at the Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. NW
This National Zoo event is great if you have kids ages 2-12. Let the ankle-biters do all the footwork running around collecting candy, while you take in a view of exotic birds. After their candy sacks have been filled, promptly take away all of their grownup candy (*read: chocolate) and send them on their merry way.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster here; FONZ member discounts are available. NOTE: If the government remains shut down, this event will be cancelled.
Back from the Dead: Silver Spring Zombie Walk
Saturday, Oct. 26; details TBA
A zombie walk that culminates with a screening of "Return of the Living Dead" at the AFI Silver Theatre: What could be better? More information will become available in the days to come, so check their website periodically for updates.
Nightmare on M Street
South of Dupont Circle
Nightmare on M Street bills itself as D.C.'s largest costumed pub crawl and is a fixture in Halloweentown local life. This annual event will feature a midnight costume contest, have insane food and drink specials, and 30+ DC bars to crawl in and around, including staples The Front Page, Maddy's and McFadden's. Specials include $2 Coors Lights, $3 Blue Moons and $4 Bacardi drinks. You can get tickets ($22.50) online here.
D.C. Drag Queen Race
Tuesday, Oct. 29; 17th Street NW
The D.C. Drag race has become a staple in D.C. culture. Every Tuesday before Halloween, the area between Dupont and Logan circles becomes the epicenter for one of the greatest races (and block parties) in the city each year.
As early as three hours in advance of the 9 p.m. race, participants and spectators gather in anticipation of seeing D.C's finest drag queens drag race (well, foot race) down the block in heels.
Fright at the Museum
575 7th St. NW
The Crime Museum is the antithesis of the "all museums are boring" theory. Their Dead Men Walking event is not recommended for those under the age of 17 due to the frightening nature of the tour, so let the kids sit out on this one, "as the museum morphs from a storage house of criminal artifacts into a hunting ground for the criminally insane." So yeah, you should be slightly concerned. Artifacts from the criminally insane will still be on display, but you probably won't be able to read them, unless you can read and scream at the same time. Tickets ($30) are available online here for Oct. 18-19; 24-26 and 31.
If you're just dying (see what we did there?) to bring the kids, take them to the museum's special kids' event Sat., Oct. 27 from 1 to 5 p.m. They can take the regular museum tour, score candy, meet McGruff the Crime Dog and more. Tickets ($10) are available online here.
Alexandria's Haunted Dine Around and Ghost and Graveyard Tour
Locations vary for dining; 21 King St. for tour
Both events take place in historic Old Town. The Haunted Dine Around will take you on an eating tour around the city that will fill your stomach with good food while filing your ear with tales of the ghostly and unknown. This tour is by appointment only, so call 202-683-8847 to book.
The lantern-lit Ghost and Graveyard Tour will walk you down six blocks worth of ghost stories, unsolved mysterious, and revenge. The hour-long tour culminates in with your 1800s-garbed guide abandoning you in a cemetery. No, really. Tickets can be reserved online here.
Cox Farms' Fields of Fear
15621 Braddock Road, Centreville, Va.
This all-ages Virginia attraction teaches zombie safety, a dark cornfield walking trail, and a six-lane-wide slide, among other attractions. To purchase tickets, visit the site here.
18031 Central Park Circle, Boyds, Md.
One of the DMV's most popular Halloween attractions, Nightmare Screamplex offers some truly horrifying and fun times. Visit their haunted forest, paintball shooting range, haunted asylum or one of the many other frightening gems they've arranged all for you. For more information and ticket sales, call 301-948-3141 or visit their site here.