Halloween parades and costume contests are a seasonal tradition for many communities in the Capital Region of northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Participants enjoy showing off their costumes and it’s a great photo opportunity for families visiting the area.
Paired with one of the many other great Halloween events and attractions coming to the D.C. area in October, these extravagant community parades can make your holiday trip memorable and are a fun way to check out the season’s most popular and creative costumes.
Keep in mind that many Halloween parades around the Capital Region have been scaled back or canceled in 2020. Always check in with the individual organizers to confirm the most up-to-date information.
Vienna Halloween Parade
The small town of Vienna in Fairfax County northwest of Arlington, Virginia, unites its entire community each year to celebrate with a festive Halloween parade including youth and adult bands, floats, and classic vehicles. In 2020, the parade consists of only about 10 to 15 floats and the route has been modified to pass through all four quadrants of the city of Vienna, so neighbors can enjoy from their own front yard or somewhere nearby without gathering on a crowded street. Residents are encouraged to dress up in costumes to cheer on the floats as they pass by.
The parade will depart from the Vienna Community Center on October 31, 2020, and the finalized route will be released a few days before.
Leesburg Kiwanis Halloween Parade
The Northern Virginia community of Leesburg first held this parade on October 31, 1957, and it's been a Halloween night tradition ever since. The Leesburg Halloween Parade features high school and music school bands, decorated floats, classic cars, police and fire rescue units, and animals marching for one mile down King Street from Ida Lee Park to Catoctin Circle (Fairfax Street) in Leesburg. While the largest crowds gather north of Market Street, the best viewing area is near Loudoun Street.
The parade in 2020 looks different from most years and the usual jamboree is going to be split into two different parades, each one with just five vehicles each. Instead of the usual one-mile route, the cars will drive through the entire Leesburg neighborhood so community members can watch and cheer from their homes. Follow the parade route to know exactly when the vehicles will pass closest to you.
D.C. High Heel Drag Queen Race
The 17th Street High Heel Race is canceled in 2020.
Although it began as a joke between a group of friends in the 1980s, this annual event in Dupont Circle now attracts a large crowd of costumed revelers each year on the Tuesday before Halloween. Known as the 17th Street High Heel Race, the event involves participants dressed in creative drag outfits that race on 17th Street, between P and S Streets NW near Dupont Circle in northwest Washington, D.C. The evening race only lasts a couple of minutes, but you can enjoy drink specials at several area bars all night to celebrate another successful run.
Del Ray Halloween Parade
The Halloween in Del Ray parade is canceled in 2020.
On the last Sunday in October, elected officials, special dignitaries, children, and costumed pets march down Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia, for the annual Del Ray Halloween Parade. The route starts south of East Bellefonte and continues along Mount Vernon Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue. Awards are given for the Best Pet Costume, Best Decorated Business, Best Decorated Home, and Best Decorated Stroller; judges include local city and community officials.
Hagerstown Alsatia Mummer's Parade
The Mummer's Parade is canceled in 2020.
Located in northwest Maryland about an hour outside of Washington, D.C., the town of Hagerstown has hosted one of the largest Halloween parades in the Mid-Atlantic each year since 1921, known as the Alsatia Mummers' Parade. This fall event features local floats, bands, and costumed mummers (typically actors in masked mime) and brings the whole community together to celebrate the Halloween season.