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 Tuesday this year, restaurants are getting the party started early — and the devil is in the details. Holiday accents around town include spooky cocktails, tap takeovers, and creative costume contests (with prizes ranging from generous gift cards to VIP bottle service).
Día de Los Muertos is another big reason to celebrate this time of year, with Mexican bars especially getting in on the action.
Read on for Eater’s Halloween picks for where to trick or treat all around town.
Tuesday, October 31
901 New York Avenue NW
The Louisiana-themed spot has a “haunted” happy hour in store with $5 drinks to drool over. The Pennywise (named after the terrifying “It” star) does damage with Jim Beam Apple, mixed with mint and sour mix.
1337 14th Street NW
City Tap Penn Quarter
901 Ninth Street NW
The Penn Quarter bar is teaming up with New Belgium Brewing to offer $5 pints of Voodoo Ranger all Tuesday long. There’s also a swag giveaway all day and a costume contest at night.
929 F Street NW
A chocolate-and-bubbly happy hour runs 5 p.m to 7 p.m. before trick-or-treating activities ensue. There’s prosecco paired with a chocolate tasting plate ($9), signature cocktails ($8), beer and house wine specials, and $6-$10 savory snacks.
1520 14th Street NW
The 14th Street NW haunt transformed into “Espookio” for the month with ghoulish décor, a special menu of festive pintxos, tapas, desserts, and drinks, and will cap off its last night with a bash. Tickets are $31, which includes a costume contest with prizes.
716 7th Street NW / 1100 S Hayes Street, Arlington, Va.
Enter the fast-casual stop in costume from 5:30 p.m. to close and get a treat: a honeybar. The fruit-based dish is topped with goodies like local honey, whipped cream, chocolate chips, granola, and coconut shavings.
1050 Connecticut Avenue NW
For a grown-up celebration, check out this steak house’s all-night happy hour (5 p.m. to close) with beers ($5.50), wine ($7.50), martinis and cocktails ($8.50) and $7 bar bites.
1843 Seventh Street NW
Halloween marks the last night of Drink’s Company latest pop-up bar, offering timed entry passes to benefit disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico. At $20 a ticket, 100 percent of ticket sales will be donated to chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen to help those in need. In addition to Pub Dread’s extensive horror-inspired cocktail list, Piña Coladas (the official cocktail of Puerto Rico) will be at the ready. 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
2446 18th Street NW
Executive chef Jenn Flynn is focusing on offal for this holiday. Her love of whole-animal cooking shines in specials including trotter tots ($8) made with braised pig trotters breaded with potato flakes and fried, and grilled beef heart ($12) with roasted baby beets and zesty chimichurri sauce. A pumpkin saison will also be on tap, and all bottled beer selections will be half off.
1220 Connecticut Avenue NW
Costumes are a must at this sexy party, with music from DJ Quicksilva. Expect an open bar from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. and boozing on the dance floor until 2 a.m.
Smoked & Stacked
1239 Ninth Street NW
The Shaw sandwich shop is giving away smoked salted caramels for Halloween.
Rolling Halloween specials
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Halloween-inspired mini doughnuts ($22 per dozen) include flavors such as candied apple and pumpkin pie. Available at its Falls Church and D.C. locations on Saturday, October 28, and Tuesday, October 31.
Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar and Eatery
1515 N Courthouse Road, Arlington, Va.
Chef David Guas made Dat-o-Lanterns for the holiday; orange whipped buttercream and vanilla bean filling is wedged between two pumpkin-shaped dark chocolate cookies. And his new Lil’ B Coffee & Eatery (1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW) is pushing pumpkin and ghost-shaped sugar cookies.
1250 9th Street NW
Pastry pro Tiffany MacIsaac has adult-approved skull king candy bars with vodka-mixed gold dust, stuffed with meringue and caramel. Kid-friendly 3-D mini chocolate skulls, are stuffed with red velvet Oreo cookies and cream filling. And dare to devour her green-hued Frankenstein macaroons.
974 Palmer Alley NW
From Thursday, October 26, through Tuesday, October 31, feast on pastry chef Caitlin Dysart’s holiday creations including devil's food cupcakes with mocha ganache and devil horn garnish ($3.50), spider web pizzelle cookies ($2), and more.
651 Florida Avenue NW
Now through Thursday, November 30, the sausage house’s 50-seat outdoor patio will serve as an urban pumpkin patch. Down an apple cider hot toddy while surrounded by 300 pumpkins, 40 gourds, 125 corn stalks, straw bales, and 20 mums. Other seasonal sips include Pumpkin Ale by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and a spiced pear bellini.
Hank’s Cocktail Bar
819 Upshur Street NW
Head bartender Jessica Weinstein is toasting the Day of the Dead with a blood red sangrita oozing with tomato, cucumber, lime, and worcestershire, served alongside a split base shot of Avion Silver tequila, jalapeno aguardiente, and ancho reyes.
Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
2052 West Virginia Avenue NE
A special Halloween-themed cocktail menu in the liquor company’s Murray Hill Club Bar includes a cast of horror movie-inspired elixirs, like the Jason ($12), featuring cherry-spiked Royal Seal vodka, Don Ciccio spiced coffee liqueur, mezcal, and black walnut bitters, as well as the Candy Man ($14), combining Jos. A. Magnus & Co. bourbon, with basil, honey, and atomized candy.
3060 M Street NW
Through Halloween, a limited-edition gift box at this cult sweets shop comes adorned with a jack o’lantern design shielding six macarons ($24). In addition, Ladurée will be debuting a milk chocolate hazelnut macaron for the occasion ($2.80 per piece). Blast out some spooky social media love (a picture in front of Ladurée Georgetown’s window) and tag @LadureeUS and two friends for a chance to win one of three prizes.
931 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, Md.
A crazy chocolate-based milkshake at this recent arrival is packed with kid-friendly gummy worms, Oreos, and a scary eyeball (gum ball) ($10).
401 Seventh Street NW
Ongoing Day of the Dead festivities (through Sunday, November 5) at this Penn Quarter fixture include special dishes and holiday-themed cocktails. The team will also be hosting two seated dinners that include five-course tasting menus with cocktail pairings.
7187 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, Md.
The Mummy is a lethal elixir of Petty Island Silver and Dark Rum, pecan orgeat, dry orange Curacao, lime, and mint. Also pick up the Bride of Frankenstein, with Beefeater gin, Del Maguey mescal, St. Germaine, lemon-simple, and pineapple.
1350 Eye Street NW
Taste test Halloween menu offerings like the Raven ($8) cocktail made with rum, pomegranate, juice, blackberries, and mint leaves, or a pot de crème ($6) dessert featuring white chocolate pumpkin pot de crème, whipped cream, roasted peanuts, and a pumpkin spice sugar cookie.
2017 14th Street NW
A pumpkin-inspired cocktail, It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, has arrived at the U Street drinking den to ring in the holiday.
926-928 U Street NW
In honor of the Day of the Dead, sip the Griselda Blanco aka The Black Widow, featuring El Silencio mezcal, coconut, grapefruit, cardamom, and lime.
Taqueria del Barrio
821 Upshur Street NW
Petworth’s colorful Mexican eatery is celebrating its first Dia de Los Muertos with themed specials and family-friendly activities (kids can color their own Day of the Dead masks while dining in). On November 1, a display of traditional altars will take over the restaurant’s front windows in memory of loved ones. One fall cocktail picks is the Show Me Your Pepita!, with Ilegal Resposado Mezcal, toasted pumpkin seed syrup, and allspice.
The St. Regis Washington DC
923 16th Street NW
During the month of October, customers are encouraged to try Halloween cocktail offerings like the Autumn Leaves cocktail ($17) made with cognac, apple brandy, Italian liqueur, and an apple cider reduction, or a barrel aged Old Fashioned ($17) made with Filibuster barrel aged bourbon. Dressed-up doggies get a special treat on the big day.