13 Adult-Friendly Costume Bashes and Halloween Outings

Get your thrills with creepy cocktails, costume contests, haunted house and graveyard tours, tales of the macabre and a Vampire Ball.
Nutsa Tediashvili As Madeline From The Fall Of The House Of Usher One Of The Stories Featured In Synetics The Madness Of Poe Photo By Johnny Shryock Photography

Nutsa Tediashvili as Madeline from The Fall of the House of Usher — one of the stories featured in Synetic’s The Madness of Poe. Photo by Johnny Shryock Photography

You may be too old for trick-or-treating, but Halloween isn’t just for the kiddos. ’Tis the season for gory ghost stories, haunted soirees, boozy potions, creepy theater and costume contests galore. Let someone else pass out the candy, and consider these adult-oriented Halloween events.

Synetic Theater: The Madness of Poe

Celebrate the season with gruesome theatrics. Synetic Theater weaves a trilogy of Edgar Allan Poe tales into one heart-pounding thriller called The Madness of Poe. The sinister performance reimagines its 2007 hit adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher, plus two more gothic tales from the writer’s vault of horror. Tickets range from $10-$60 for performances from Oct. 22 – Oct. 31. For a full-blown Halloween experience, Synetic’s Vampire Ball (Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.) includes the full Poe performance, followed by a costume dance party with talking aerialists, themed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, candy and more. Vampire Ball tickets are $95, and the VIP experience is $125. // 1800 S. Bell St., Arlington (National Landing)

The Legwarmers Halloween Show at State Theatre

Still have that Members-Only jacket from 1986? Time to resurrect it from the dead. Dress as your favorite icon from the totally awesome 80s (Madonna? Prince? Ferris Bueller?) and head to the State Theatre to rock out with D.C.’s favorite retro band, The Legwarmers on Oct. 30. Their throwback repertoire includes everything from Adam Ant and Cyndi Lauper to Run-DMC, Van Halen and Cheap Trick. This holiday show includes a costume contest with cash prizes for the top three winners. In the spirit of Safety Dance, proof of vaccine or negative Covid test required. The Saturday night events starts at 9:30 p.m., and doors open at 7:30. Tickets cost $25. // 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church City

Paul Cuoco 5qr Fauthic Unsplash

Paul Cuoco on Unsplash

Spookasana Halloween Yoga

Roll out your mat and strike a pose under the moonlight during this hauntingly moving experience on Oct. 27 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. provided by The Energy Club and Eat.Yoga.Drink. The rooftop class in Shirlington will feature seasonal tunes spun by DJ Thunder Bunny, and costumes are suggested but not required. Tickets cost $25, and BYO mat and post-yoga beverages. // 2900 S. Quincy St., Arlington (Shirlington)


If you love a good, spine-tingling scare, take a road trip out to Leesburg for the frightfest that Travel & Leisure deemed the fifth-scariest haunted house in the nation in 2018. Staged in the 150-year-old Carlheim Manor, Shocktoberfest runs through Oct. 30, sending daring souls through a house of horrors that is the stuff of nightmares—clowns, chainsaws, disembodied heads, basement experiments gone awry… you get the idea. General admission, which costs $40, includes entrance to the grounds, the manor and the “Well of Souls.” The Manor Fast Past, which lets you skip the lines, costs $60, and the exclusive “R.I.P” pass costs $125. Proceeds benefit The Arc of Loudoun, a nonprofit that provides opportunities for people with disabilities. // 112 Church St. NE, Leesburg

Jonathan Borba On Unsplash

Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Monster Ball Halloween Bash at Clarendon Pop-Up Bar

The clubby nightspot in the former Clarendon Ballroom space is hosting a Monster Ball Halloween Bash on Oct. 30 from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. with costume prizes, surprise giveaways, party favors and themed cocktails. DJ Phlipz will be spinning tunes well past the witching hour. Admission is free. //3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon)

Haunted Graveyard Party at The Lot

Prefer to take your Halloween mischief outside? The Clarendon beer garden is hosting a Haunted Graveyard Party on Oct. 30 with prizes for the best costumes (including one for best group costume), giveaways and drink specials. No cover charge. //3217 10th St. N., Arlington (Clarendon)

Luke Jones Unsplash

Luke Jones on Unsplash

Spoons, Toons & Booze Halloween Special at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse

Feeling the need for some Count Chocula or Cap’N Crunch with your adult beverage? Hit the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse for an all-you-can-eat cereal bar, classic Halloween cartoons (Scooby Doo and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown are likely frontrunners), a costume contest (extra points if you dress as a cartoon or cereal character), prizes and boozy brunch cocktails like “The Sonny,” a white Russian topped with Cocoa Puffs. Pro tip: Wear a costume that involves pajamas or a bath robe, and you’re golden. Cartoon screenings are Oct. 30 and 31 at noon. // 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington

Inner Ear Studio Farewell Benefit and Halloween Show

Back in the day, Don Zientara’s fabled recording studio near Four Mile Run launched bands such as Bad Brains and Fugazi and arguably put D.C.’s punk scene on the map. Now it’s the end of an era, and Inner Ear Studio is closing up shop at the end of this month. This farewell Halloween show on Oct. 31, staged in partnership with Creative Kollective, will feature musical artists WatersDeep, Sunshine Hysteria, Calling Downfire, I Against Eye, Damages and Daniel Ouellette. Costumes are encouraged and donations are requested, with proceeds funding local kids’ art classes. Doors open at 5:30 with music starting at 6 p.m. // 2701 S. Oakland St. Arlington

Alexandria Ghost & Graveyard Tours

Like your ghost stories to be more old school? Follow an 18th-century costumed docent by lantern light through the streets of Old Town Alexandria for a creepy tour that includes paranormal lore, unsolved mysteries, tales of unrequited romance and legends of angry spirits looking for revenge. Tours are available nightly through Oct. 31, and tickets cost $15. // Alexandria Visitor Center, 221 King St., Alexandria

Grief & Ghost Tour at Lee-Fendall House

Satisfy a few morbid curiosities by learning about Victorian mourning traditions—draped mirrors, funeral practices, hair mementos (eww), proper grieving attire and séances among them—coupled with stories of tragic deaths and mysterious occurrences, at the historic Lee-Fendall House in Alexandria. Group tours are available on Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30, and will be limited to 10 participants. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and face masks required. Tickets cost $15. // 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria

What Up Witches Halloween Punch 3

What Up Witches Halloween punch at Punchbowl Social (press photo)

Halloween Fest at Punch Bowl Social

At adult playground Punch Bowl Social you can channel your inner kid and partake in activities like giant Scrabble, ping pong, foosball, karaoke, bowling and vintage arcade games. On Halloween Eve, the Ballston watering hole will be hosting a costume contest (awarding $50 gift cards to the top three winners) with a live DJ. Grab a few friends and order a cauldron of What Up Witches, a seasonal spiked punch made with cardamom-infused gin, fernet, cassis, apple cider, simple syrup and lemon. Wicked fun will follow. Oct. 30, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.// 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Ballston Quarter)

Halloween Party at Freddie’s Beach Bar

Costumes are optional but casual beach attire is always de rigueur at Arlington’s favorite LGBTQ bar on Crystal City’s 23rd St. restaurant row. On Oct. 31 starting at 6 p.m., Go Gay DC leader and party host TJ Flavell will be on hand to greet revelers, and Scareoke starts at 8 p.m. Bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Admission is free, but RSVPs are requested. // 555 23rd St. S., Arlington (Crystal City)

Artist Marly

A skeletal print by Marly McFly at the All Hallows Show at Whino (courtesy image)

All Hallows Group Show at Whino

In the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, costumes and bonfires were thought to ward off restless souls while honoring departed saints and martyrs. All Hallows, a group show at Whino in Ballston, features original works by 10 artists exploring the history of this pagan ritual, along with similar traditions tied to Dia de los Muertos, All Saints’ Day, Hop-tu-Naa and Halloween. The works will remain on display through Nov. 10. // 4238 Wilson Blvd. (second floor), Arlington (Ballston)

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Categories: Arts & Entertainment