More Scary Than a Shutdown: A Guide to a DC Halloween
With the government shutdown, the threat of default and the general partisan mood in Washington, the District has been pretty scary over the last month or so. But Halloween brings a whole different flavor of scary. And it’s the fun kind. Anyone living in the District should definitely take advantage of the spooky history in town to celebrate Halloween in style. During Halloween, you can visit a haunted house, romp around a pumpkin patch or go on a haunted city tour. There’s even a haunted forest in the area, a few in fact.
Here’s a quick look at what you can do today for your tricks and treats:
A Fright Night at the Museum
The National Museum of Crime & Punishment, located at 575 7th Street NW, has probably the scariest event of ’em all. They’ve set up a Halloween program in the midst of real historic criminal artifacts. Per their website, the museum will be “transformed into a hunting ground for the criminally insane”. And they’re probably not talking about the House of Representatives. They are open late on Halloween with evening hours for the special seasonal program. Tickets are different than regular museum admission tickets, so be sure to check their website for listings.
Last Haunted House on the Left
Gravensteen’s Haunted House, located at 50 Florida Ave NE, is the District’s only true haunted house. It features the story of The Curse of Frau Mueller with 50,000 square feet of scares on three floors. Remaining dates are today, October 31-November 2. And it’s not just scary, it’s for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Operation Rebound to support disabled soldiers’ active and athletic lifestyles.
The Trees Have Eyes
If outlandish or over the top thrills and chills are not your thing, then you might consider this gem. After all, ABC has rated it the #1 Halloween attraction in the DC area. That should be a pretty solid endorsement from the network that gave us Once Upon a Time. It’s called Markoff’s Haunted Forest and is located at Calleva Farm, 19120 Martinsburg Road in Dickerson, Maryland. The Enchanted Forest, a purposefully not scary Halloween attraction, designed especially for younger children, has scenes that are well-lit and recommended for kids of all ages (even the big kid inside of you). Think of it as a Disney Halloween. Remaining dates are Halloween night and November 2.
A Walk Through the Park
Lafayette Square Park is known as the most haunted site in Washington, DC. You can take a two hour walking ghost tour with Washington Walks (one of DC’s premier walking tour companies) and discover the hauntings of the six (yes, six!) apparitions allegedly seen at St. John’s Church, which begs the question, “why are there six ghosts in a church?” Or you can see the poltergeist of the Hay-Adams Hotel, and of course the legendary accounts of Lincoln’s ghost inside the White House, where our 16th president continues hunting down vampires in the afterlife. Tours are offered nightly at 8-9:30PM, March through mid-November. Additional tours added on Halloween. No reservations necessary.
The Slaughtered Lamb(s)
The White House Haunted Pub Tour is a two and a half hour walking tour past some of the most historic and haunted pubs in the District. The tour stops at a few different locations, and allows you to get a beverage at each place. Of particular note, The Capitol Hill Dive Bar Tour actually includes a former funeral home that is now a haunted bar. In this way, you can enjoy some spirits with the spirits! (Sorry) Participants must be 21+.
Washington, DC is a great town with an even greater history. And sometimes, that history walks among you. Literally. So, take a moment and enjoy yourself. Have a happy and safe Halloween, DC Style!