Trick or Treat? Local Halloween Thrills

Photo courtesy of
‘Count Gore De Vol and band’
courtesy of ‘Photos by Chip Py’

Oh, Halloween. Silly Halloween. Childish Halloween. With your costumes, and your theme parties, and your candy. You’re for kids! …Aren’t you? Not in DC.

Amongst the usual suspects are some slightly sophisticated ways to spend Halloween. You can be indoors or out. Get things going early or stay out late. But you can be sure that this Halloween there’ll be tricks and treats — and naked butt cheeks (gah!).

Outdoor scares

DC’s temperate weather up until just about Halloween allows for some great outdoor scare-fests (and some costumes that seemed like a good idea). Drive for up to an hour to reach some real thrills, or stay nearby for some seriously freaky fun.

Every year since I discovered it, I’ve gone to Markoff’s Haunted Forest to scream my way through one of the two dark and spooky outdoor trails. The first year was the best, and by the second, I had remembered most of their scare tactics, but it didn’t mean it still wasn’t ridiculously fun.  But what really keeps me going back is taking someone with me who has never been. It’s just an experience you need to have. An hour away, the cost is a steep $25 on a weekend.

But Markoff’s Haunted Forest also has a number of “while-you-wait” activities, such as watching a 7 year old boy climb to the top of the wobbling telephone pole “Death Jump” only to be too scared to jump off or climb down. Terrifying…

Photo courtesy of
‘forest fingers’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

But if you’re like me, and you’ve been to Markoff’s Haunted Forest and already taken all your new-to-town friends, this year, I would suggest Cox Farms Fields of Fear. From Centreville, VA, the “Cornnightmare” is a haunted trail through “cornfield terrors.”  They allow you to bring your own food (no alcohol), and admission is only $15. They also have a Fall Festival during the day.

In DC, opt to stay outdoors for the freakishly fun Drag Queen High Heel Race in Dupont. There are few things that are as highly anticipated as this sprint down 17th street. The week before Halloween, this quick race isn’t about the speed, or the winner, for that matter, it attracts the most creative costumes that DC has ever seen.The insane costumes combined with the jovial atmosphere and occasional naked butt cheek are enough to make you giggle and jump in for a photo opp.

Photo courtesy of
‘Ah down beside that red firelight’
courtesy of ‘christaki’

Dine in style — or in costume
Some people still take Halloween very seriously. (It’s just not something that’s easy to outgrow.) While others refuse to dress up and act like they’re in college again. (Come on, it’s not that hard!) But if you’re so over Halloween, here are some sophisticated ways to pretend like you care – and still look good.

On Halloween, the Poste Ghost Roast in the Penn Quarter offers a selection of roasted meats complete with pumpkin cocktails, roasted capretto and candy apples for $45. Costumes are highly encouraged, with the best dressed winning a 5-course chef’s tasting for two. Space is limited, and reservations are required. Not a bad deal at all!

Photo courtesy of
‘Halloween 2008 – Cast a Grin – 10-29-08’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

During Happy Hour on October 27th, Helix Lounge in Logan Circle is hosting their fifth annual Pumpkin Carving Contest. With the Helix Lounge providing pre-scooped pumpkins, carving tools and prizes. I feel sorry for all the poor folks who have to scoop out all those pumpkins, but I plan to take advantage of this! No costumes necessary. On Halloween, return dressed up as your favorite vampire for the Vampire Ball.

From Monday, October 26th through Saturday, October 31st, Zengo is offering patrons a chance to choose one “Trick” or one “Treat” when the check arrives at the end of the meal. A “Treat” will earn you a complimentary signature dessert for your next visit, and a “Trick” is a random chance to win cocktails, dinner for two, a signature bento box or — nothing at all.

The same week prior to Halloween, TenPenh will be doctoring up Candy Corn, Caramel Candy Apple, and Jack O’ Lantern cocktails served out of a dry-ice fuming pumpkin. How dramatic.

Halloween Happy Hour (HHH!)
There’s nothing I hate more than seeing Halloween costumes online for hundreds of dollars. With a little creativity, it’s much less expensive to do it yourself – and the results are just more fun. Like your costume, staying in with your friends and coming up with some creative games and activities is a whole heck of a lot more fun in my opinion. And then, maybe you can head out to the all-you-can-drink bar after your party!

But you WILL want to make it out by midnight for E Street Theatre’s midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. I hear there’s nothing quite like seeing this film in the theater, and that’s pretty enticing in itself. Showing on both Friday and Saturday nights, this “harmless musical fun… was the first – and is still the best – interactive movie experience.”

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘trevorv’

If you decide to take Happy Hour seriously (or if you’re like me and turn into a pumpkin at midnight), head to Razzmatazz at Black Cat starting at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 31st. For only $5, the seasonal British pop music night will make you dance the night away. Downside: no pre-event ticket sales, so get there early!

And seriously – if you haven’t already – go see Dracula at the Synetic Theater in Rosslyn. It’s the most Matrix-style action, sex-ed up vampire play I’ve ever seen. I didn’t yawn once. This play will get you seriously in the mood to spook up your attire AND your home for Halloween.

Jealous of Shannon’s metro pylon costume? Check back on Friday for Karl’s DC-themed costume ideas!

What will you do for Halloween this year?

Cathy was fortunate to spend a year in Paris – traveling to all surrounding countries and touring all that is worthy. Upon realizing that there is no place like home (she does hail from Kansas City – but did not click her heels to get back – thank you, Air France), she returned to America where she set out to explore every last inch of our massive country. From her base in the nation’s capital, she has worked in marketing and event planning for the past 4 years. Mail any and all DC related tips to Cathy (at) WeLoveDC (dot) com.

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