Four Kid-Friendly Halloween Celebrations

It’s October! The leaves are changing, there is a chill in the air, and Halloween is around the corner. Growing up, I loved Halloween. Each year, my habits were the same. I’d get in my costume, watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller on MTV, get together with my friends, trick-or-treat, eat candy, and then maybe watch a scary movie – but only if we could handle it. That was fun but today there are so many more options for kids!

Below are four really cool options of Halloween activities happening in the area during the month of October. Go beyond candy and you’ll find opportunities to learn, experiment, and explore. And yes, there will still be candy. The options below are great if you’re interested in history or science. I had a hard time finding art-based Halloween activities, so if you know of any please leave the information in the comments below!

Spooky Spy Family Night

Date: Friday, October 12, 2018

Time: 6:00-9:00 PM

Cost: $15

Getting there: Accessible by all metro lines; you can get off at either Metro Center or Gallery Place Chinatown. The Spy Museum’s website has great information on parking if you choose to drive.

Costume help: Check out this 4-person family costume inspired by Inspector Gadget. A great way to be on-theme for the event.

After-hours spy fun for the whole family! I think if you go in costume, it would be fun to adopt your costumed persona and try to live that cover personality for the entire night. While you’re there, the Spy Museum will help you live the life of the spy. There will be missions and code-cracking activities alongside a professional make-up artist to help give you the disguise you need! But you’ll have to attend to believe it, because as they say, trust no one.

Boo at the Zoo

Date: Friday, October 19, 2018 until Sunday, October 21, 2018

Time: 5:30-8:30 PM

Cost: $30, discount if you’re a FONZ member

Getting there: For those who drive, Zoo parking costs $25. Otherwise take the metro and ride the red line to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park, then walk from there.

Costume help: Animal costumes are nothing new, but this link here gives some simple ideas for DIY animal costumes with links to printable mask templates.

Sure, you could trick-or-treat in your neighborhood… or instead, you could trick or treat surrounded by amazing animals from all over the world! Boo at the Zoo has more than 40 treat stations throughout the space and gives you and your little zombie after-hours access to a number of animal houses. Conquer your fears and enter the Reptile Discovery Center when the sun goes down or walk over to the Great Cats Circle and face down a lion. It will be a fun way to trick-or-treat for grown-ups and kids alike.

Air and Scare at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018

Time: 12:00-5:30 PM

Cost: Admission is free.

Getting there: For those who drive, parking is $15. If you’re taking public transportation, you’re going to need a combination of options. Check your favorite maps site or app to help you plan your trip.

Costume help: This post has a few DIY space themed costume ideas, but my favorite is the one for a rocket scientist. Simply paint a few 2 liter soda bottles and you can make a rocket pack for your scientist. Get it – rocket science?!

I know I’m suggesting a site far off the beaten path, but it’s totally worth the trip. The Udvar-Hazy is the companion site to the National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall. This building is two hangars filled with full-sized aircrafts like a Concorde and the space shuttle Discovery. It’s an incredible space regularly, and for Air and Scare they have craft activities and in-gallery science experiments. Get ready for your visit by creating your own Air & Space themed jack-o’-lantern using one of their free downloadable templates.

Trick-or-Treat at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2018

Time: 3:30-6:30 PM

Cost: $14 Adults, $8 kids under 11

Getting there: For those who drive, enjoy free parking. If you’re taking the metro, ride the yellow line to Huntington, then take the Fairfax Connector Bus #101, Fort Hunt Line and it will take you right to Mt. Vernon.

Costume help: Use this tutorial to make a George Washington wig.

An evening visit to beautiful Mount Vernon in the heart of autumn? Yes, please! I think this is an incredible place to visit anytime, but there’s even more going on than usual during Halloween. During Trick-or-Treat there is a scavenger hunt, wagon ride, costume parade, and even a chocolate-making demonstration. Kids can make crafts, learn to card wool, and maybe win a prize for the best George or Martha Washington costume!

Mariel Smith

Mariel Smith is originally from outside of Baltimore and grew up visiting museums in Maryland and Washington, DC. Those early experiences gave her the strong belief that museums and historic sites are perfect places to learn, explore, and have fun. She has a B.A. in English literature from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in museum studies from New York University. Committed to sharing her passion for informal hands-on education, Mariel has worked in museums in Washington, DC and New York City, as well as abroad in London, England. She is proud to be a part of Live It Learn It where she can use her teaching experience and passion for learning to help students explore the wonderful history and resources DC has to offer. Outside of work Mariel loves to read, bake cookies, and watch Star Wars.

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