Halloween is quickly approaching, and bars and restaurants around the city are rolling out spooky specials and costume parties. October 31 falls on a Wednesday this year, making the weekend prior prime time for enjoying the festivities.
Embrace the ghoulish side of the holiday with menus packed of themed dishes and cocktails, or head out for some family-friendly fun and face painting. The following weekend, the Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday means more programming and Mexican-themed bites and drinks.
Here are a dozen events and offers to earmark for Halloween fun.
1612 14th Street NW
Polish up the costumes early and head out to the Halloween weekend costume contest at Black Jack and its back room cocktail bar, Tilt. The contest runs from Friday, October 26 to Sunday, October 28; just tag a photo taken in either bar on Instagram to enter. Prizes are $50, $100 and $200 gift certificates to Black Restaurant Group.
1600 King Street, Alexandria
Trade Halloween candy for a steaming pot of roasted pumpkin moules frites from Brabo chef Sebastien Rondier. The seasonal mussel preparation is priced at $15 for a half portion and $22 for a whole portion. Pair it with the La Bruja cocktail from beverage director Brett Oye. The $14 tipple combines Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, agave ginger beer and lime.
4531 Wisconsin Avenue NW
The Tenleytown location of José Andrés’ fast-casual vegetable chain is hosting a family-friendly afternoon of Halloween fun on Sunday, October 28. The “Little Sprouts” event takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include crafts, pumpkin snacks and decorating, coupons and discounts on vegetable bowls, as well as a costume contest.
50 Blagden Alley NW
Spend Halloween weekend with a backyard costume party at this hidden Blagden Alley hangout on Saturday, October 27. There will be themed frozen cocktails and candy giveaways. Dog owners (and canine fans) can come on the 31st for a “Howl-o-Ween” gathering to include mini pumpkins filled with dog treats and a 10 percent donation of all proceeds to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue charity.
901 9th Street NW
The Saturday before Halloween will feature a Witchin’ party at this beer bar and pub. Guests can pick from a special cocktail menu or a $35 open bar package featuring select drinks (including some beers and wines) from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Food will be a la carte and there will be a prize for the best costume of the night.
1601 14th Street NW
This French bistro will host a drag show Halloween night starting at 9 p.m. A lip sync contest will follow, along with candied apples and a live DJ. The party will roll until 2 a.m.
1250 9th Street NW
Swap Halloween for the Day of the Dead party at Espita Mezcaleria on Thursday, November 1. Beverage director Megan Barnes will mix up some festive cocktails, such as the Mayahuel es Muerte, featuring El Buho espadin mezcal, Gabriel Boudier Triple Sec, lime, burnt sugar, and hoja santa lava salt. Executive chef Robert Aikens is working on a mole negro taco with spiced duck, raisin and guajillo salsa, beet and apple slaw and walnut crema. Both will be available all night, and face painting will be an option from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for free.
1520 14th Street NW
It’s time for the annual “Espookio” celebration at Estadio, a two-week period of Spanish food and drink with a ghoulish twist. Dishes include items like grilled octopus and squid ink rice gets a web-shaped drizzle of aioli and rebranded as a “tarantula” for the season. Drinks include two variations on the bar’s adult slushies, including the Jack O’ Lantern with pumpkin, Shipyard Pumpkinhead ale, scotch and lemon. The specials end on October 31 with a special ticketed party ($31) from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. with a costume contest, passed tapas and food and a cash bar.
1201 F Street NW
Ditch the elaborate costume parties and spooky treats for something simple: $1 raw oysters at the Oceanaire bar. The deal will run all day on October 30 and 31.
1430 Rhode Island Avenue NW
Grab a furry friend and enjoy fall weather at Radiator’s patio “Howl-o-ween” happy hour on Saturday, October 27. Come for $5 bar snacks like Sriracha deviled eggs or charred shishito peppers along with cocktail specials from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dogs can take home a themed gift bag, and there’s a bonus for any pooches in costume. A few days later, a Day of the Dead celebration will include a rooftop cocktail, taco party and (free) face painting party on Friday, November 2 starting at 5 p.m.
1701 Connecticut Avenue NW
Fill up on Italian classics at La Tomate bistro’s Halloween night feast, starting at 7 p.m. The $38 menu ranges from angus beef meatballs to pasta shells Amatriciana and risotto-style Tuscan farro. Drinks are a la carte and prizes are awarded for the best costumes.
2650 Virginia Avenue NW
Take in a 360-degree view of the Potomac and Foggy Bottom during the Watergate Hotel’s rooftop costume party on Saturday, October 27. Admission is $20 and includes a glass of sparkling wine for anyone who dresses up. Table and lounge reservations are also available with a $50 per person minimum.