Get more mileage out of that over-priced Halloween costume and start the trick-or-treating early!. There are plenty of candy-filled events this weekend, from Boo at the Zoo to an after-performance candy-grab at the annual NSO Halloween performance. If you’re looking to up the spooky-factor on your fall fun, take in a hike (with some haunts) in Bethesda. And if everything Halloween is already driving you batty, well, there’s an event for that, too!

photo: Kevin Bidwell via Pexels


Woodley Park

Boo at the Zoo
At the 21st annual Boo at the Zoo, sponsored by Mars Wrigley Confectionery, your fearsome cubs (or princesses, or robots) will have the chance to trick or treat at more than 40 stations, sing their hearts out to Halloween’s grooviest karaoke tunes and show off their costumes on a spooky fun catwalk. Hosted by Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ), Boo at the Zo is the only Halloween event in town where kids of all ages can meet Frankenpanda and Count Pandula. Kids also will get to explore animal houses, see cool creatures and learn about their favorite wild things.  Fri.-Sat. Event details. 

National Mall

Lakota Music Project With the South Dako
The Lakota Music Project is the flagship community engagement program of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO). In performing Native and non-Native music, the project seeks to create an environment of openness that treats both cultures with dignity and respect. Enjoy this musical collaboration by members of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Lakota singer Emmanuel Black Bear (Oglala Sioux Tribe), and cedar flutist Bryan Akipa (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate). The performance will include commissioned works by Akipa and Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate (Chickasaw Nation), participants in the SDSO’s Music Composition Academies. Sat. Event details. 

Preschool Pioneers: Batty, Batty Bat
You might be seeing lots of bats around now that Halloween is getting closer, but what do we actually know about these animals?  Through hands-on activities learn about these flying mammals’ characteristics, habitats and more! Following this hands-on program, the class will head to the National Museum of Natural History. Sun. Event details. 

Foggy Bottom

NSO Halloween Spooktacular
Introduce your littles to the wonders of live music in this beloved Halloween tradition. Musicians in ghoulish costumes play new and old favorites to celebrate Halloween. Come early to take part in trick-or-treating and the Haunted Hall Musical Instrument Petting Zoo. For ages 5 and up. Sun. Event details. 

Darci Lynne, Singer and Ventriloquist
Kids are fascinated by a talking puppet. Add a 12-year-old singer and ventriloquist into the mix and they are guaranteed to be enthralled. NBCs “Americas Got Talent” winner Darci Lynne is taking the stage at The DAR with her musical friends Petunia a divaesque rabbit, Oscar a shy and soulful mouse and old lady Edna. Sun. Event details. 

Spring Valley

Fall Family Fun Day
Fall Family Fun Day at the AU Museum is a family-friendly event for all ages. All activities are free and inspired by current exhibitions. Create hands-on art projects, explore art with a scavenger hunt, take a tour with a tour guide, listen and participate in storytelling and music-making, and more. This event is free. Sat. Event details. 



Sugarloaf Crafts Festival. 
Don’t miss this fun and interactive shopping experience! With art, gifts, fashion, jewelry, home decor, furniture and much more, there’s something for everyone at Sugarloaf Crafts. Get a head start on your holiday shopping, sample small batch specialty foods, watch live art demonstrations and take a free painting class. Enjoy interactive theater for the kids. Sat. Event details. 


Hike & Seek: Haunted Forest
Looking for a little adventure? Follow the clues as you hike around Cabin John Park to solve a new nature-themed puzzle each month. Spooky objects and strange creatures have been spotted in the forest. Find all the skulls, or you may not get out of the woods alive! Check-in at the front desk any time between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. for the clues. Then work together with your family to find hidden objects in the park along the trails. Register by Friday, Oct. 18 to receive a prize for completing the hunt. Natural surface trails may not be stroller accessible. Severe weather cancels the program. Please register both adults and children over the age of 2. Sun. Event details. 


Gustafer Yellowgold
Most often compared to worldwide icons The Beatles, the music of Gustafer Yellowgold accompanied by quirky videos by creator Morgan Taylor, is iconic in its own right. Beloved by legions of littles and adults alike, Gustafer’s songs about pine cones, cake, robots, and bacon (yes, bacon) are irresistible. AMP’s Pajama Jam series hosts where even if you forget the goldfish to go with your bacon, you’re covered. Sun. Event details. 



Oktoberfest at Schifferstadt
This family-friendly fall festival features authentic German food and drink, an oompah band, cultural activities and tons of children’s fun. Come enjoy Oktoberfest with the littles! Admission to the festival is free, but they do request a $3 donation for ages 12 & up if you choose to take the museum tour while you’re there. Sat. Event details. 

—Meghan Yudes Meyers