14 Family-Friendly Fall Fests and Halloween Events
Get ready for hayrides, costume parades and ghost hunts at these frightfully fun seasonal outings.
Throw on a sweatshirt (or costume) and dig out the trick-or-treat pail for these events—’tis the season for fall festivals and spooky spectacles. Here are some of the best Halloween-y outings in the area:
Fall Festival at Shipgarten
Oct. 1, 1-6 p.m.
Catch live character performances from Frozen and Captain America at this afternoon party for kids and adults alike. The festivities include bobbing for apples, moon bounces, a pie-tossing competition and a (presumably yummier) pie-eating competition. Bring your appetite; the event features bratwurst, wings and doughnuts, as well as samples of 50-plus beers, wines and ciders. (Psst … The fun returns to Shipgarten Oct. 29 with Ship-o-ween.) // Shipgarten, 7581 Colshire Drive, McLean. Free.
Great Country Farms Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Roast marshmallows, learn how cider is made and observe a pumpkin-eating dinosaur at this picturesque farm (which, incidentally, is just across the road from Dirt Farm Brewing). While the festival does run on weekdays, the weekends bring extra fun, with Oinkintucky Derby pig races, live music and a cow train. // Great Country Farms, 34345 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont. Admission for adults is $12, children $10, age 2 and under free.
Falls Church Halloween Window Painting Festival
Oct. 8-9, 10 and 15
Got a Frida Kahlo in your family? Give them the opportunity to put their artistic stamp on The Little City with this annual takeover of downtown windows. All participants should register in advance, and can pick up paint at Mr. Brown’s Park on painting days. // Mr. Brown’s Park, 100 block of West Broad Street, Falls Church City. Free, $5 donation for supplies is suggested.
Fairlington Fall Festival
Oct. 15, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Pop over to Fairlington for some midday fall fun, including face painting, pumpkin decorating and a themed photo booth. Come in costume if you like, and tote along some nonperishable items; donations will be collected for Arlington Food Assistance Center. // Fairlington Villages Community Center, 3005 S. Abingdon St., Arlington. Free.
Arcadia Farm Fall Funtacular
Oct. 16, 1-4 p.m.
Catch hay rides, a petting zoo, live music, food and drink, and more during this fall extravaganza at Arcadia Farm. Learn more about the farm here. // 9000 Richmond Highway, Alexandria. Free.
Lee-Fendall House Fall Frolic
Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Take part in a costume parade and a ghost hunt in the garden of Lee-Fendall House, an historic Old Town building that dates back to 1785. Timed tickets should be purchased in advance, and sessions run every hour, beginning at 10 a.m. // Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria. Admission for adults is $5, children age 2-12 $15, age 2 and under free. Face masks required for attendees over 2.
Boos, Blues and Brews
Oct. 27, 5-9 p.m.
Adults should don their most inventive duds for a Halloween costume contest, while kids can tote their trick-or-treat sacks and collect free candy during this festive event at Harvey’s on Broad Street. Enjoy tunes from the Bobby Thompson Trio, special bites such as blackened alligator tacos and candied apple slices, and adult beverages from Audacious Aleworks and Metro Cellars. Ten percent of sales will benefit the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation. // Harvey’s, 513 W. Broad St., Falls Church. Free.
Best in Show at The Boro
Oct. 29, 3-8:30 p.m.
Behold the spooky looks local canines are sporting these days at this inaugural dog costume contest for The Boro. Human attendees can also make Halloween crafts, trick-or-treat and enjoy a screening of Scooby Doo, with selections from the on-site popcorn bar. (Pro tip: Bring a blanket and/or chairs for the film, which starts at 6:30 p.m.) // The Boro Tysons, 8350 Broad St., Tysons. Free.
Shirlington Trick or Treat
Oct. 29, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Costumed kiddos can stroll through Shirlington with a candy-collecting receptacle in hand, as shops and eateries will be passing out plenty of treats. Ticket proceeds benefit Arlington Food Assistance Center. // The Village at Shirlington, Campbell Ave., Arlington. $5.
Halloween-Themed Pizza Making
Oct. 29, 1-3 p.m.
Why make a jack-o’-lantern when you can make a pizza? Stellina Pizzeria‘s executive chef, Matteo Venini, will lead the pie-making, complete with ready-made appetizers and an apron, pizza cutter and spooky treats for each participant. Costumes encouraged. // Stellina Pizzeria, 2800 S. Randolph St., Arlington. $40.
Old Firehouse Festival of Frights and Trunk or Treat
Oct. 29, 5-10 p.m.
Throw on that Halloween costume and head to this former firehouse-turned-satellite location of the McLean Community Center. Expect games, contests, live tunes, food and some trunk-or-treating. Pre-registration required. // Old Firehouse, 1440 Chain Bridge Road, McLean. Free.
Reston Farm Garden Market Fall Fest
Now through Oct. 30
If you’ve got a kiddo who jumps for joy at the thought of endless jumping, don’t miss this Reston festival. It promises bounce houses, a petting zoo, games and a train ride that weaves around the market. While there, consider shelling out a little extra for balloons, face paint and an annual autumn tradition: apple cider doughnuts. // Reston Farm Garden Market, 10800 Baron Cameron Ave., Reston. Admission for adults is $7, children age 2+ $28, age 2 and under free.
Pumpkin Village at Leesburg Animal Park
Now through Nov. 6
Keep the little ones entertained for hours at Pumpkin Village, where the roster of fun includes a hay maze, hill slides, pony rides and—on weekends—a pumpkin pillow bounce. (We hope they’re not using actual pumpkins as pillows, or it may be a tad uncomfortable.) Score a free cup of cider and apple and pumpkin cookie treats on weekend visits, and come prepared Oct. 30 for a costume contest. // Leesburg Animal Park, 19236 James Monroe Highway, Leesburg. The cost of admission varies.
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Now through Nov. 8
They’ve got a “world-famous hayride.” A volcano slide. And a foam replica of Stonehenge, aptly named Foamhenge. See it all and grab some grub (pulled pork and a root beer float, anyone?) and a seat near the front of the stage; the farm also stages live music most days of the week. // Cox Farms, 15621 Braddock Road, Centreville. The cost of admission varies.