Halloween 2011: Quirky Events

Weird Halloween Events

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Whether you want to dress up your dog or participate in a zombie walk, here are a selection of quirky, off-the-beaten path events just for you, you weirdo.

We'll add to this section as Halloween looms ever-closer, so keep checking back for more!  (Unless you're looking for those necessary bar events. Those are here.)


  • It's the tour you never wanted! Fright at the Museum: Dead Men Walking features a Tennessee electric chair used from 1916 to 1960, and apparently, their ghosts! Mwahaha! The macabre exhibit is featured each year at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment (575 7th St. N.W.). Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29, 30 and 31; entrance times begin at 7 p.m.; $25. Minimum age 17.
  • Catch a performance of the Arthur Miller play "The Crucible" at Keegan Theatre (1742 Church St. N.W.). Set during the 17th-century Salem witch trials, the play is also an allegory for the 1950s Communist accusations. (Or so our high school English teachers told us.) But just focus on the (alleged) witches. Oct. 22-Nov. 19; Thurs.-Sats. 7:30 p.m.; Suns. 3 p.m.; plus special performance Monday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.; $30-$35.


  • The Silver Spring Zombie Walk started three years ago with a mere 150 zombies. Last year, almost 2,000 honorary members of the undead took a nice moonlight stroll. (Stay tuned for future info on a central congregating location.) This year's walk will begin at Georgia and Sligo Avenues, meander down Ellsworth Drive, and end at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring) -- when zombies will pack the audience for a screening of horror flick "Dead Snow." The movie will likely sell out, so buy your tickets early. Walk begins 8:45 p.m.; free. Movie begins 9:45 p.m.; $11.


  • The Drag Queen Race takes over 17th Street every year on the Tuesday before Halloween. Dressed-up drag queens don their finest footwear for a short race down 17th (between P and S streets N.W.). The race itself is only about 30 seconds long, so make sure you're early. Gathering begins around 6 p.m.; race at 9 p.m.; free.


  • Calling all crafty carvers! Helix Lounge (1430 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.) hosts a pumpkin-carving contest, featuring prizes and seasonal cocktails. The first 30 guests or groups will each score a pre-scooped pumpkin, plus carving tools will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Prizes are a $50 gift certificate for "Spookiest Pumpkin" and a one-night weekend stay at Hotel Helix for the winner of "Most Ghoulish Gourd." In the spirit of the contest, try a pumpkin martini. Happy hour prices include half-price burgers, $6 cosmos, $3 Yuengling drafts and $2 PBRs. Carving contest 6–8 p.m.; no cover.


  • Why should pets have to miss out on Halloween? Dress up your dogs and bring them over to the Jackson 20 courtyard (480 King St., Alexandria; enter on Royal Street) for the Doggie Howl-o-ween Costume Party. Prizes will be given for Most Glamorous Get-Up, Best Overall Costume, and Best-Dressed Couple (pet and owner). Proceeds will benefit the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. $10 to enter; registration 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.; contest begins 6 p.m.
  • Domku Cafe (821 Upshur St. N.W.) holds a dog-friendly Halloween event on their patio, with prizes for Best Doggie Costume, Best Twins (dog/owner) and Best Dog Trick (costumes not necessary). See previous years' costumes for inspiration here. 7 p.m.; no cover.
  • Head over to Red Palace (1212 H St. N.E.) for their Twisted Knickers Burlesque and Black Tassel Boolesque: Pastieville Horror show that will scare you straight and/or make you die of laughter. Doors 8:30 p.m.; show 9 p.m.; $10; 21+.
  • The Washington Film Institute hosts Classic Vampire and Live Jazz Night at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington) for a screening of "Orlok the Vampire" in 3D. Enjoy a happy hour before the screening and take in the sounds of critically acclaimed jazz singer Yvonne Johnson. 3D director Keith Carter hosts a Q&A after the screening. Happy hour 5:30-7:30 p.m.; film starts at 8 p.m.; $10.


  • The launch party for new recipe book "Wizards in the Kitchen" will bring a some magic in to your cooking at L2 Lounge (3315 Cady's Alley N.W.). Rock your inner Hogwarts student (e.g., go dressed as your favorite wizard, witch or magical creature) for a chance to win prizes. Psychics and tarot card readers will also be in attendance. Arrive before 10 p.m. to score your own copy of the cookbook. $25 in advance; $30 at the door; 7 p.m.-2 a.m.


  • Learn sweet, sweet zombie moves straight out of the "Thriller" video. Lessons are at Joy Of Motion at the Atlas (1333 H St. N.E.). After the workshop, you can perform under the stars at the Thriller on H Street Party outside. Costumes are suggested. The night includes the Haunt Hunt contest along the H Street corridor, a moonwalk contest, door prizes and more. 7-9 p.m.; $25 advance registration; $30 day of workshop. All levels; age 18+.

SUNDAY, OCT. 30:  

  • Tilted Torch's annual Halloween production, Spook-O-Rama, is a spooky variety show featuring "horrifying hooping," "wicked burlesque," a magic show and more at Red Palace (1212 H St. N.E.). Head to the show in your Halloween costume as you go on a terrifying journey like before. Must be 21+; doors open at 8:30 p.m.; show starts at 9 p.m.; $10.
  • Ofrenda: Art for the Dead at the Torpedo Factory (105 N Union St., Alexandria) features local artists' shrines, altars, paintings, music, spoken word and more, in the tradition of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The Ofrenda parade (7-7:45 p.m.) leaves from Market Square near City Hall (301 King St., Alexandria) and ends at the Torpedo Factory. Bring puppets or noisemakers, and don't be afraid to wear your costume. The evening's masquerade party features live entertainment and performances by the Hootenanny Orchestra, Dragon Fire Drummers and more. 2-11 p.m.; free admission; cash bar.
  • Night Of The Living Dead at Jammin' Java (227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna, Va.) is a songwriter circle featuring Shane Hines, Todd Wright, Anthony Fiacco and Luke Brindley. They'll take inspiration from great musicians who have passed into "the great beyond," performing "stripped-down, downright spooktacular songs alongside originals of their own," Jammin' Java says. 7 p.m.; $15.
  • Cupcakes and candy, oh my! Learn how to take your cupcake from sweet to scary at the Butcher's Block (1600 King St., Alexandria) during a cupcake-decorating class. Restaurant manager Pamela Doherty will enlighten you and your youngsters on decorating techniques using frosting, candy corn and other goodies. Your ticket includes a Halloween treat bag, an unfrosted cupcake for decorating and a glass of vino for the adult. 3-5 p.m.; $15 for an adult with child; $8 for each additional child.

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