Although there are plenty of Halloween events in the Capital Region that are appropriate for all ages, especially families, there are also several adult-only celebrations in northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. at the end of October and in early November this year.
If you're traveling to the area this Halloween (or Day of the Dead) season without kids and looking for a place to get dressed up in fun or scary costumes, these parties, events, and festivals offer everything from drinking and dancing to out-of-this-world terrors in honor of the haunted holiday.
Be sure to check each event's website for inquiries about ticketing and guidelines for attendees including dress codes, and up-to-date information about the party itself (in case of cancellation).
From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, October 26, 2018, the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., will be open late for will be open late for the Night of the Living Zoo event, which features live music as well as bone-chilling performance art including palm readers, fire eaters, talking bats, and illusionists.
A beer, wine, and food truck area will also be set up and the animal habitats will be open throughout the event, which is only available to guests over the age of 21. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes—and yes, you'll be right at home at the Night of the Living Zoo in your animal onesie.
The 20th Annual Nightmare on M Street bar crawl will take place on Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 1 to 8 p.m. Hosted by Vinny Guadagnino from MTV's "Jersey Shore," the crawl includes stops at Dupont Circle's best bars decorated in Halloween terror. Participants are encouraged to dress as ghouls and goblins to join in the fun of this annual tradition.
Tickets for the crawl must be purchased in advance, and they include access to great drink specials and various costume contests to all participating bars, as well as some custom souvenirs from the event organizer when you pick up your wristband. Guests should be sure to review rules and guidelines for the event before attending.
The upper-class neighborhood of Clarendon in Arlington County, Virginia, is home to one of the area's best holiday bar crawls and costume contests for adults each year. On Halloween from 5 to 9 p.m. in 2018, you can celebrate the scariest time of autumn with your favorite ghouls and goblins while barhopping through the area's most popular bars at the Clarendon Halloween Crawl.
Featuring cover-free admission and drinks specials, the Clarendon Halloween Crawl grants you access to all sorts of fun across the neighborhood, including an event-wide costume contest. Bars and taverns participating in this year's events include Whitlow’s, Spider Kelly's, SoBe, Hunan One, Mister Days, Hard Times Cafe, IOTA Club & Cafe, American Tap Room, and Bracket Room.
One part theme party, one part comedy show, the "HA!lloween: Beers, Costumes, and Killer Jokes" event returns in 2018 for its fifth year starting at 7 p.m. on Halloween night. Hosted by the Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft in Washington, D.C., this delightfully unique Halloween extravaganza features a killer lineup of local comics as well as a costume contest, mummy wrap, and other macabre activities. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and although costumes are highly encouraged, they are not required to attend.
The Giant Halloween Graveyard Jam is the biggest adult Halloween dance party happening in Washington, D.C. this year, and it will take place at the Blackfinn Ameripub from 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, to 3 a.m. on Sunday, October 28, 2018. The Graveyard Jam is a huge costume party sponsored by the Things to Do DC team featuring a costume contest, prizes including a trip to the Carribean, DJ music, dancing, and a variety of other entertainment options like pumpkin party games, getting a free drawing done by a caricaturist from Frankenstein's Castle, and tons of giveaways. While costumes are not required to attend, you'll be sorely out of place among the thousand costumed guests if you don't dress up.
Located on the Georgetown Waterfront, Nick's Riverside Grill in Washington, D.C. hosts a spooky and fun holiday party each year on the Friday before Halloween. This means that in 2018, Nick's Halloween Bash will take place on October 26 from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. the following day. Dress in your best costume for a night of drink specials, a finger-food buffet, live DJs, and a costume contest. Prize giveaways include tickets to Nick's New Year's Eve Bash, a $50 cash prize, gift cards to local restaurants, and tickets to ride the Boomerang Boat. Tickets are available at the door and include access to the buffet and entrance into the contest.
Each year, the Synetic Theater in Arlington, Virginia hosts a party for the cast, crew, and audience of its annual Halloween production known as The Vampire's Ball. The event also includes an open bar, light snacks, a chance to meet the cast and crew, and a costume contest—so come to the performance in your most theatrical outfit and you could go home with the night's biggest prize.
Now in its 12th year, the Vampire's Ball invites audience members to stay after the Friday night performance on October 26, 2018. This year's production is directed by the theater's artistic director Paata Tsikurishvili and is a new adaptation of "Sleepy Hollow" that's making its debut on October 3 and closing on November 4, 2018.