From spookily sweet school parties to door-to-door trick-or-treating, candy is everywhere right about now. But when you think about it, only a fraction of the Halloween fun is due to the ingestion of large amounts of candy (hello, sugar high!). The rest of it comes from exploring corn fields, ghost tours and pumpkin patches. Read on–what these local happenings lack in sugar, they make up for it in general awesomeness.

CRDT-kidshalloween-12, trick or treatPhoto: Jim Pennucci via Flickr

#1 Get lost in a corn field. During this time of the year, pumpkins get all the glory. But corn has found a way to steal some of the thunder back. We’re talking about corn mazes. Enter one of our favorites and you and the kiddos can get lost (in a good way) for hours.

#2 Go on a ghost tour. Known as one of the most famous haunted buildings in DC, the National Building Museum invites brave souls on a spooky-ish, lantern-lit ghost tour. You’ll hear tales of an irritable rider on horseback and look for mysterious faces in the 75-foot Corinthian columns and much more!

#3 March it out. The pentacle of Halloween Parades can be found on Mount Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Va. Held at the kid-friendly time of 2 pm-4 pm (Oct. 30), the Del Ray Halloween Parade features elected officials, kids and pets–all of whom are dressed up, of course. Awards are given for the Best Pet Costume, Best Decorated Business, Best Decorated Home, and Best Decorated Stroller.

#4 Add some air to your Halloween. Sure, Air and Scare at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center has some trick-or-treating action going on; but with so many other things going on, kiddo will hardly realize it. Visitors can enjoy story times, face-painting stations, hands-on activities, free screenings of an episode of “The Jetsons” in the Imax Theater, karaoke, simulation games and robotics demonstrations.

#5 Catch a ride. Every weekend through the end of October, you and your costumed crew can hop on a Halloween themed train ride in a Montgomery County Park. There are two options ($6/ride): a fun and festive ride for the under-8 set at Cabin John Regional. And, there’s a super scary ride for kiddos over-8 at Wheaton Regional Park.

#6 Nosh and nibble. Carlucio’s in Old Town Alexandria is the place to fill your belly this Halloween. Swing by for A Spooktacular Halloween (Oct. 27, 6 pm-8 pm, $20), featuring a cookie decorating contest and a costume contest. Come dressed to impress and come hungry.

#7 Do a little dance. Kindie musician Mr. Jon will be playing a Halloween Party concert at Jammin Java (Oct. 29, 10:30 am, $8). Seriously, who needs candy when this fun show will have you jumping and jiving…sans a sugar high.

What are your favorite Halloween activities…that do not involve a bunch of candy? Tell us in the comments below.


–Ayren Jackson-Cannady