Halloween is always a hot holiday in D.C., where still-mild temperatures allow for lots of bar hopping, skimpy costumes, and imbibing.
Since the holiday falls on a Monday this year, restaurants are getting the party started early—and the devil is in the details. Holiday accents around town include spooky-themed cocktails, tap takeovers, and creative costume contests like a superhero party at 14th Street’s new Tilt bar.
Día de Los Muertos, which runs Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, is also a big reason to celebrate this time of year. This week, José Andrés threw a traditional Day of the Dead party at Oyamel—a packed annual event featuring passed mezcal and tequila cocktails, face painting from Mezcal El Silencio team, tacos, and other Mexican fare. Their festival runs through Nov. 6. Espita Mezcaleria and Service Bar are also getting in on the action with specials.
Read on for Eater’s Halloween picks for where to trick or treat, over-21 style.
1606 20th St. NW
On Oct. 29, the lively Dupont Circle Mexican bar will be hold its third annual Halloween party, where tickets grant access to an open bar, appetizer buffet, DJ, and, a costume contest. Get tickets here.
5 Cameron St., Alexandria, Va.
On Oct. 29, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., enjoy booze on the back porch with a tap takeover from South Street Brewery from Charlottesville. Compete in such costume categories as “Best Nautically-Themed” and “Best Couple.”
Texas Jack’s Barbecue
2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington, Va.
Any guests wearing a Halloween costume during lunch or dinner service will receive a complimentary mini pumpkin pie, while supplies last. And on Halloween only, come for the $6.50 Texas Jacks' ghoulish seasonal cocktail, the Ghost of Jack (below), made from a combination of Four Roses bourbon, Crème de Violette, fresh basil and ginger.
Macon Bistro & Larder
5520 Connecticut Ave. NW
Celebrate Edgar Allan Poe with a tap takeover from Baltimore-based RavenBeer, inspired by the dark and eerie poet himself. Drafts will be poured in RavenBeer-branded glassware through Oct. 31.
1250 9th St. NW
On Nov. 1, the Southern Mexican-inspired eatery will honor the holiday with a Los Siete Misterios mezcal tasting and special dishes during dinner (think Morcilla Tlayuda, house-made Morcilla blood sausage, served on a crisp oversized tortilla with queso Oaxaca). Face painting and (temporary) tattoos with designs from Espita artists will also be available. The special cocktail for the night is the $13 Flor de Muerto, translated to “Death’s Flower,” below.
From Oct. 28 through Oct. 31, guests who flock to Fish Taco in costume will get a free order of chips and salsa. Take a pic in your costume at the eatery and tag @myfishtaco to enter to win a $50 gift card.
2519 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
From 10 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 29, Bayou is promising “spooky grooves, monster jams, and enough soulful mojo to get the dead up and dancing”: expect $4 spooky peach lager, $6 haunted hurricanes and ectoplasm punch, and a $200 bar tab for the best costume. Get $20 tickets here.
2321 18th St. NW
Head upstairs to the Adams Morgan watering hole on Oct. 29 from 10 p.m. to close for drink specials and a waived cover with a costume. Brandon Brown will be spinning tracks until 3 a.m.
606 N. Fayette Street, Alexandria, Va.
Chefs/owners Christophe & Michelle Poteaux will focus on pumpkins making their way into food, not booze. Think soup with Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Velouté, Crème fraiche, toasted seeds, and pumpkin oil or a sautéed trout filet over pumpkin and apple risotto with sage brown-butter.
1337 14th St. NW
Churchkey’s Annual Halloween Bash is Oct. 29 from 9:30 p.m. to close, and no ticket is needed. Expect tunes from Video Killers and a costume contest, with prizes including gift cards for Churchkey and sister spots Birch & Barley and Bluejacket.
The Graham Georgetown
1075 Thomas Jefferson St. NW
Nab a special cocktail at this Georgetown hotel haunt throughout Halloween weekend from Oct. 27 to Oct. 30. The "El Diablo" cocktail, pictured below, will be offered at The Observatory Rooftop Lounge and is made with El Silencio mezcal, Luxardo Maraschino, Aperol, Lime juice and garnished with ghost peppers ($14).
1612 14th St. NW
Black Jack and its new pinball-themed back bar will throw a Halloween bash on Oct. 29 from 5 p.m. to close. Guests can expect a super freaky look to take over Black Jack, while Tilt will host a superhero-themed costume party with drink specials and a photo booth. While costumes are not required, they will unlock the door to a free drink ticket. Libations include a Pumpkin spice slushy ($8) with Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice liqueur.
2031 Florida Ave. NW
The Dupont Circle bar is already dressed up for Halloween with skulls and spider webs weaved throughout. Its no-cover 2nd annual Halloween party is on tap for Oct. 29 starting at 7:30 p.m. Expect a special spooky punch, and the most creative costume will go home with a gift card. Its current fall cocktail lineup includes the Corpse Reviver 2031 ($11) with Rujero Singani, Fernet Branca, and Dry Cacao mint syrup with mint garnish.
Union Street Public House
121 S Union St., Alexandria, Va.
Expect food and drink specials, a DJ and dancing, and a costume contest, starting 9 p.m. in the Grille Room on Oct. 28.
1201 F St. NW
Oceanaire is putting a romantic spin on the holiday with a special Halloween dinner for two on Oct. 30 and 31. Appetizers include buttermilk fried calamari and stuffed fish florentine or jumbo shrimp scampi for the main, with a pumpkin-ginger crème brulee for dessert, among other options.
926-928 U St. NW
U Street’s newest bar is Day of the Dead ready, teaming up with Mezcal El Silencio (produced in Oaxaca, Mexico) for a weeklong celebration with seven different Mezcal cocktails. From Oct. 31 through Nov. 7, scary concoctions include A Slow, Silent, Death with El Silencio, lemon, lavender, and absinthe.
418 7th St. NW
José Andrés is throwing an all-day Halloween Pisco Party on Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. until closing. The event will feature their Pisco Hour menu all day, in addition to pisco tastings and cocktail demonstrations from Pisco 100 and Campo de Encanto from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Order one of its special $5 pisco cocktails to get a free treat from the chef.