Trick-or-treat at centuries-old sites, experience spine-chilling ghost tours and dress up the whole family (pups included) for Halloween festivities. Whether you’re looking for creepy cocktails or spooky movie screenings, head to Alexandria, Virginia, minutes from Washington D.C. Here are our top Halloween picks in Old Town and beyond.
Haunts at Historic Sites
Dive into the city’s centuries-old secrets this Halloween. Join Port City Brewing Company and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum as they honor the anniversary of the Female Stranger‘s death, which took place on October 14, 1816. Sit down to a four-course meal and brews including a special Long Black Veil beer in her honor. Also at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, the Death at the City Hotel Specialty Tour on October 19, 2019, invites you to raise a glass to those who breathed their last breath at the hotel, from a famous actress to Civil War soldiers. Then, celebrate Halloween with a look at Victorian mourning traditions and stories of tragic deaths and mysterious encounters at the Lee-Fendall House’s Grief & Ghost Tour, October 25-26 and November 1-2, 2019.
Movie buffs will love Carlyle House’s frightful film festivities. Catch an outdoor double feature of classic horror flicks at the Movie Night at Carlyle House on October 25, 2019. Come back the following day for a family-friendly Tim Burton-themed party, Carlyle House’s Wonderland, where visitors can interact with several characters (such as Alice in Wonderland) and play Burton-themed games. Evening brings Carlyle House’s Nightmare, a grown-up soiree reveling in Burton’s scarier side, from “Beetlejuice” to “Edward Scissorhands” and beyond.
Head to Alexandria’s History Museum at The Lyceum for two unforgettable Halloween evenings with America’s earliest master of the macabre: Edgar Allan Poe. Actor David Keltz recreates one of Edgar Allen Poe’s 19th-century speaking engagements October 30-31, 2019.
Trick-or-Treating Around Town
There’s no shortage of spots where costumed kiddos can collect treats this season. On October 26, 2019, trick-or-treat back in time at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and enjoy activities like a scavenger hunt, craft-making and 18th-century dancing before meeting Martha Washington herself. Dust off your mini powdered wigs for the George and Martha costume contest in the children’s parade. On Halloween itself, bring the gang to another candy-fueled historic outing at Carlyle House, the perfect backdrop for a decked-out family photo op.
Don your disguises for Old Town Trick-or-Treat, October 26, 2019, and stroll through the historic streets as you scoop up treats from some of Alexandria’s finest restaurants, shops and attractions. The next day, parade your dolled-up pups at Doggie Trick-or-Treat. Start at The Dog Park for a map and photo, then tour the rest of the participating stores for more treats and a sale or two in town.
Toast Halloween with parties at drink destinations and restaurants around the city. On October 26, 2019, jam out with a pint in hand at Port City Brewing Company’s Halloween Rock Show. That same night, the Fish Market’s Nightmare on King Street will include a costume contest, cash prizes, a mummy wrap contest and a live DJ on Old Town’s largest dance floor, with no cover charge. Then, zombie walk your way over to Chadwicks’ Monster Ball for more DJ’d dancing, a photo booth, killer drink specials and a costume contest. Sneak into Captain Gregory’s Haunted Hole in the Wall on October 29, 2019, preferably in costume, for a special cocktail menu including “Up With the Full Moon,” mixing rye, amaro Averna, espresso and burnt sugar.
On October 27, 2019, see and be seen at the 23rd Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade along Mount Vernon Avenue. Witness a community’s creative spirit and competition for prizes such as Best Decorated Stroller and Best Pet Costume. While you’re there, be sure to stop by Del Ray Artisans’ eerie exhibit, “Art Inspired by the Twilight Zone,” on display October 4-27, 2019.
Honor the harvest season at River Farm for the American Horticultural Society’s “Pumpkins & Pollinators” Fall Festival on October 26, 2019. Learn about the vital connection between people, plants and pollinators while enjoying nature-based crafts, beekeeping and horticultural demonstrations, live music and more.
Breathe in the fresh fall air at Lee-Fendall House’s 6th Annual Pumpkin Hunt on October 26, 2019, and find its lush garden filled with toys galore along with spooky stories, a sticker station, temporary tattoos and more. Take your gourd to Jackson 20’s courtyard for a pumpkin painting contest on October 27, 2019, and the chance to win and overnight stay at The Alexandrian.
Make mellower Halloween memories during story time at Hooray for Books!, from Tracey Baptiste’s spellbinding Haitian folktales on October 5, 2019 to Sam Street’s quirky, Victorian-set story of monsters and tea time on October 26, 2019.
Spook-tacular Walking Tours
Walk your way through Alexandria’s creepiest secrets this season. Alexandria Colonial Tours’ Ghost & Graveyard Tour will be offered every evening of October. You’ll follow an 18th-century costumed guide by lantern light and soak up ghost stories, legends and folklore.
Discover Alexandria presents its Special Halloween Ghost Tour, an extended version of their Ghosts of Alexandria Tour, from October 29 to 31, 2019. Guests will explore haunted Old Town at twilight, learning more about the city’s history and lingering spirits. Or, opt for the Historic Cemetery Tour on October 26, 2019, for a guided tour through several of Alexandria’s historic cemeteries.
Eerie Entertainment at Ivy Hill Cemetery
Ivy Hill Cemetery is a 22-acre natural oasis and active cemetery located in the Rosemont neighborhood. This fall, it doubles as the backdrop for some of the city’s eeriest events. Michael Jons shares his story of a peculiar haunted artifact and his attempts to return it to where it belongs. Hear his tale September 21, October 5, 12, 18 and 25, and November 1-2, 2019.
Then, on October 30, 2019, take part in a Halloween Shindig at Ivy Hill Cemetery, complete with ghost stories, cocktails and costume prizes.
See Poe’s immortal words come to life: “Even in the grave, all is not lost!” The Guillotine Theatre presents “Tales of Mystery & the Imagination: Poe in the Vault.” This limited mobility-accessible ghost tour begins at the Ivy Hill Cemetery Office and ends at the Receiving Vault, where the performance transpires to haunting effect.
Let your pup partake in the fun this Halloween. On the evening of October 25, 2019, Potomac Riverboat Company launches two Canine Halloween Tours where four-legged friends can get decked out and set sail. Keep those canine costumes handy for Doggie Trick-or-Treat on October 27, 2019, when dogs and their humans can visit Old Town’s The Dog Park boutique to grab treats and bargains, snap a photo and scope out other participating stores with sales. That same day, bring your pup to Mount Vernon for trick-or-treating and mingling with people from Washington’s world.
Need more ideas? Check out other spooky experiences in Alexandria this Halloween.