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Celebrate Halloween on the Hill

See 2023 version here.

Halloween is back on the Hill, baby! Last year we trick-or-treated, but this year, for the first time most folks will be halloween-ing with few reservations.

So if you’ve moved to Capitol Hill in the last three years, first –welcome! –and second, know that the Hill LOVES Halloween! People come from all over the District to join in the celebrations –some have even bussed in to enjoy the spooky decorations down every street and historic ambiance. Not to mention the short distance between doorsteps to trick or treat!

There is fun, decoration and activities all over the Hill, from the annual Hilloween event to the DC Public Libraries.

So, if you’re looking for events to celebrate one of the Hill’s favorite days, look out below! Check back often, as this list is constantly updating as we learn about more events.

We want to include you! If you have an event to add to this list, please email the details to Liz@HillRag.com

Classic Hill Events

Trick or Treating | Halloween | Monday, Oct. 31 | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. [varies]

Trick or treating on Capitol Hill always happens on Halloween, no matter what day of the week it is. This year, Halloween falls on a Monday — a school night, so it could begin and end on the earlier side.

The evening starts with the littlest trick-or-treaters, often toddlers, ringing doorbells on their streets as early as 5:30, with the elementary set coming out starting around 6 or 6:30p.m. Trick or treating mostly starts winding down around 8-8:30p.m., although you might get a few middle-schoolers and families until 9-9:30p.m. –if you still have candy.

If you’re new to the Hill, know that the area is a popular destination for area trick-or-treaters from all over the DM. Those who live on major streets can expect hundreds or upwards of a thousand of visitors: Skull Mansion on the relatively busy 12th Street SE will hand out 700 pieces of candy in three hours; houses on East Capitol could meet thousands of trick or treaters. However, side streets away from hot spots might see only 100 or so kids. If you’re new to your street, ask your neighbors to get a more exact forecase.

Some folks sit on their front steps with a beverage and a bowl of candy, not bothering to go inside because trick or treaters often come in a parade. If you are handing out treats, you’ll be popular, so be ready. When you’re done, turn off your lights and consider hanging a sign saying “out of candy” on your gate or doorway.

Streets known for their decorations include East Capitol Street near Lincoln Park, and Walter Street SE, which often closes to vehicles for the night.

Hill-O-ween at Eastern Market | Friday, Oct. 28 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. | Eastern Market (North Carolina and Independence Avenue SE) | Free

Organizers have announced that the annual and very popular Hilloween event will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday October 28th, under the farmer’s hood, in the North Hall and on the plaza.

Wear your costume and have your photo taken in the 260 degree photo booth! Meet local businesses, schools and institutions handing out treats, playing games and sometimes selling food, beverages or tickets to raffles. Check out the Haunted Circulator Bus!

Everyone is welcome, whether you wear your costume or not! Info is updating at hilloweendc.com

Arial, Ursula and her eels Flotsam and Jetsam at Howl-o-ween 2021.

Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest with Howl to the Chief

Saturday, Oct. 29 1:00 p.m. | Lincoln Park (East Capitol St. between 11th and 13th Streets, steps near green square) | Free

The steps of Lincoln Park (11st Street & East Capitol) will be the site of the much anticipated annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest. And, Rural Dog Rescue will have adoptable dogs on site that are looking for their forever families.

Registration starts at 1:00 p.m. on site (there will be no on line registration this year) and ends at 2:00 p.m..  NOTE: Entrants must be registered by 2:00 p.m. to participate! 

The event usually lasts approximately one hour. The contest will start at 2:00 p.m. with the traditional Parade Of Rescue Dogs followed immediately by the pet costume contest.

Swag bags will be given to the first 100 entries, and prizes will be given in each category.

New Categories This Year:

  • Best Group
  • Most Creative
  • Best Child & Pet
  • Funniest
  • Darvling Divas
  • Dashing Dudes
Waiting is Not Easy – 1108 Constitution Avenue, NE; winner of the 2021 Literary Pumpkin Walk. Courtesy CHCF

Literary Pumpkin Walk | Free | Various Locations, online voting | Oct. 26-31

The Capitol Hill neighborhood is continuing the Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s other Halloween tradition: the Literary Pumpkin Walk. This self-guided tour of book-themed pumpkins and scarecrows across the Capitol Hill neighborhood is a celebration of the season (and our favorite books!).

The week before Halloween, display a pumpkin, scarecrow, yard scene, or whatever, based on your choice of book or literary character.

Register your house by Monday, Oct. 24 to be include in the map and to be eligible for the voting as the most creative literary-themed display. Online voting begins Oct. 26 and ends Monday, Oct. 31 –see the map of entries here! The winning household gets to choose a Capitol Hill public or charter school to receive a $1,000 grant.

The Literary Pumpkin Walk is brought to you by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. The Foundation is a 100% volunteer driven community organization that supporst activities, projects, and groups that enrich the history, diversity, and beauty of the Capitol Hill community.

We normally raise funds for local schools through our Literary Feast. Since this event has been cancelled, consider donating to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. Your donations support grants to local schools.

Local Neighborhoods

Spook-Tacular Halloween | Lansburgh Park (1098 Delaware Ave. SW) (map)

ORANGE YOU EXCITED FOR HALLOWEEN? Trick or treat and have fun with your neighborhood organizations at Lansburgh Park! there will be:

  • Games
  • Goodies and treats
  • Face painting
  • DIY Halloween crafts
  • Live music
  • And many more activities!

Dío de los Muertos at The Wharf | Sunday, Oct. 23 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. | District Pier

Celebrate the Day of the Dead at The Wharf on Sunday, October 23. There will be live music, street food, a beer garden, face painting, sugar skull decorating and more at District Pier in partnership with Modelo and Fiesta DC.

Capitol Riverfront Hallo-weekend | Oct 27-30 | Various 

The Capitol Riverfront BID has geared up for a spooktacular weekend of Halloween chills and thrills. All are free and open to the public!

Movie | Ghostbusters |  7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 | Free

Enjoy a Spooktacular Movie Night featuring Ghostbusters (1984) at the Yards Park Great Lawn (355 Water Street SE) on Thursday, October 27th. Bring your picnic blankets, favorite fall snacks, and get ready to be spooked by an all-time Halloween classic starting at 7:00 pm. RSVP here.
Pumpkins in the Park | Saturday, Oct. 29 | Canal Park Middle Block (200 M Street SE)
Canal Park will once again transform into the neighborhood’s very own pumpkin patch at Pumpkins in the Park, featuring seasonal festivities from pumpkin decorating (while supplies last) and a giant moon bounce to a festive photo booth and live music – plus a magic show and seasonal beverages (for 21+). This event is free for all ages. Pumpkins will be available on a first come first serve throughout the event, so come early to get yours! RSVP here


Maury ES Fall Fest | Saturday, Oct. 22 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | 1250 Constitution Ave. NE [playground and multi-purpose space] | tickets ($1) or bracelet ($25)
Come join us at Maury‘s Fall Festival to have fun and support our 5th graders as they raise money for the celebration of their last year at Maury. All events are staged by the fifth grade class and families!
This year’s festival includes food, music, haunted house, crafts, face painting, carnival games, musical cake and more! There’s a bouncy house for those in Kindergarten and under.
You can buy bracelets in advance for $25 (or $30 at the door). The price of the bracelet includes:
  • Food ticket (breakfast or lunch options)
  • face painting
  • unlimited haunted house and games
  • craft
  • 3 turns at musical cake
  • 1 entry to a raffle to silly string Principal Payne Chauvenet (PC), music teacher Ms. Mina or art teacher Ms. Bomba OR to get a face paint by Ms. Conant
Individual tickets are also available for sale on-line and at the event. Online sales END Friday 8 p.m. Pickup bracelets and tickets at the entrance on 13th st NE
Prices include:
  • Pizza or muffin – 2 tickets
  • Drink – 2 tickets
  • Chance to silly string – 1 ticket
  • Carnival game – 1 ticket
  • Face painting – 2 tickets
  • Haunted house – 2 tickets
  • Craft – 2 tickets
  • Bouncy house – 2 tickets
Serious pumpkin decorating at Payne Fall Fest 2019.
Payne ES Fall Fest | Saturday, Oct. 22 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | 1445 C St. SE | Free
Payne Elementary School (1445 C St. SE) is having their Annual Fall Festival on the Payne Elementary Playground at the corner of 15th and C Streets SE (301 15 St. SE). Admission is free and open to all.
Decorate pumpkins, show off your costume and get a seasonal prize in the book character parade at 12:45pm, eat some Nando’s, meet Mirabel from Encanto and Spiderman, visit DC Water and Wendy the waterdrop, pick up a new read at the Scholastic Book Fair, touch a Fire Truck, crafts, and more! Admission is Free, bring the whole family!
Tyler ES Fall Fest | Saturday, Oct. 22 | 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. | 1001 G St. SE | Free + Tickets
This Saturday you’ll find warm drinks, furry farm animals, baked goods and more at the Tyler Fall Festival. There are pony rides, a petting zoo, games, art and food!
Admission and some activities are free, tickets are available for purchase for food and for bonus activities. All sales benefit the Tyler PTA.

Local Business & Institutions

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Image: Labyrinth Games

Taste of Horror & Costume Contest at Labyrinth Games | Oct. 29 & Oct. 30 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. | 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE | Free

Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is hosting their annual Halloween celebration!

There will be hosting bone-chilling roleplaying games (RPGs) and board games during the spooky Taste of Horror event on October 30!

Feeling like you want to get into the spirit of Halloween that weekend? Stop by to participate in the costume contest anytime the store is open! They’ll take a picture of the costume and post it to Labyrinth social media, where the vote will take place. The best costume among adult entrants and the kid entrants will each win a $50 gift card.

Taste of Horror Role Playing Games (RPGs) and games will happen exclusively on Oct. 30th. Come to the store to play one of four RPGs: Cats of Catthulhu, Dread, Call of Cthulhu, and Mothership! They will also be playing the new 3rd edition of Betrayal House on the Hill and more scary board games. LEARN MORE

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Image: Courtesy the Hill Center

Halloween Sugar Cookie Decorating at Hill Center | 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE || Saturday, Oct. 22 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Min age 13 years. Tickets $65 [includes wine & beer]

BCome decorate stunning Halloween sugar cookies at the Hill Center! Join the class with Paige Sholar to learn the basics of royal icing, tips to make decorating easier, and various techniques to elevate your designs.

Everything you need is provided including pumpkin flavored cookies, cream cheese royal icing, decorating tools, and a box to take home your creations. Don’t worry about bringing your own boos, beer and wine are included in your ticket! LEARN MORE

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