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How to Celebrate a Socially Distanced Halloween With Help From D.C. Restaurants

Picks for virtual pumpkin carving parties, sugary snacks, “pupcakes,” and free drinks

Nina May is selling delivery packages with candy apples and koginut pumpkin soup.
Nina May is selling delivery packages with caramel apples and koginut pumpkin soup.
Nina May/official photo

Halloween as we know it is off this year because of a public health crisis that requires people to minimize face-to-face interactions, no matter how terrifying or hilarious this year’s costume idea may be. In the District, Mayor Muriel Bowser has released guidelines calling for residents to avoid “high-risk” activities, including traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating; offering candy from communal trunks or bowls; taking hayrides; visiting haunted houses; and — of course — bobbing for apples .

D.C. restaurants have been adapting to COVID-19-era protocols for months, which means many are ready to conduct virtual events, lead outdoor decorating sections, or otherwise offer up walk-up, takeout, or delivery deals with spooky themes. Here are more than a dozen ways to celebrate Halloween (Saturday, October 31) with a little help from the hospitality industry.

— Gabe Hiatt

Free cookies at Peruvian Brothers

Multiple locations

Now through Halloween, all kids in costumes can swing by Peruvian Brothers’ outposts at the Stand in Crystal City and La Cosecha in Northeast for complimentary alfajores cookies. Dressed-up doggies can trick or treat for a snack, too.

Themed treats at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Multiple locations

The homegrown doughnut and fried chicken chain is selling a $22 box set of a dozen mini doughnuts sporting spooky decorations (spoiler alert: some look like eyeballs). The sampler includes classic flavors like vanilla glazed and creme brulee, in addition to new fall varieties like candy apple, cookie dough, and pumpkin pie. Boxes must be pre-ordered and picked up at its downtown and Falls Church locations starting Saturday, October 24.

October flavors at Astro Doughnuts.
Scott Suchman/Astro Doughnuts

Outdoor festivities at Wunder Garten

1101 First Street NE

The all-outdoor beer garden in NoMa plans to celebrate Halloween for 13 days straight, starting Monday, October 26. There are hot cocktail deals on Mondays; “spooky” trivia on Tuesdays; pumpkin decorating and cult Halloween movie showings on Wednesdays; LGBTQ “Hallo-Queen” nights on Thursdays; and weekend activities like pumpkin holding and weighing contests.

Sugar Skull Painting at HalfSmoke

651 Florida Avenue NW

The Shaw spot pays homage to Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) with a sugar skull painting class on its 34-seat outdoor patio on Wednesday, October 28. The three-hour class starts at 6 p.m. and includes step-by-step instructions, paint, a sugar skull, and a complimentary Don Julio cocktail. Each $25 ticket must be purchased in advance.

Pumpkin painting at Pizzeria Paradiso

Multiple locations

Local chain Pizzeria Paradiso hosts a virtual pumpkin painting party in partnership with Art Works Now on Wednesday, October 28. Pick up a DIY party pack from Pizzeria Paradiso’s Spring Valley or Hyattsville locations to participate in a virtual class led by Art Works Now at 6 p.m. Party packages ($55-$70) includes pizzas and a six-pack of fall beers, two mini pumpkins, paint, and brushes. A Zoom link for the class will be shared via email.

Takeout cocktails at Brothers and Sisters

1770 Euclid Street NW

At the Line hotel in Adams Morgan, lobby-level bar and restaurant Brothers and Sisters will be giving out free goodies on Halloween from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Specialty $15 cocktails like “How Do You Like ‘Dem Apples” (Plantation O.F.T.D. rum, Luxardo apricot liqueur, and apple-Demerara cider) are available for takeout from Wednesday, October 28, to Saturday, October 31.

Haunted cookie houses at Fare Well

406 H Street NE

This vegan diner and bakery offers kits to build haunted cookie houses ($25) at home. Kits can be purchased online for pickup or delivery, with a link to attend a virtual tutorial on Friday, October 30, at 4 p.m. Haunted house building blocks include pumpkin spice cookie “walls,” chocolate “dirt” icing, and assorted candy decor.

Wine-o-ween at Wagshal’s Delicatessen

4855 Massachusetts Avenue NW

The classic D.C. deli invites adults to a free, pre-Halloween wine tasting on Friday, October 30, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Decorative cookies and cupcakes will be paired with pours like Galen Glen Winery riesling, Old Westminster Carbonic Cabernet Franc, dessert wines, and more.

Treats for kids and dogs at the Fairmont

2401 M Street NW

The West End hotel offers to-go Halloween boxes for kids and canines. The kids’ pack ($20) includes a themed cupcake, cookie, caramel corn, disposable Halloween face mask, and more. A “Howl-O-Ween” box designed for pups is filled with a “pupcake,” squeaky toy, beef jerky, and dog biscuits ($15). Orders must be placed online ahead of time and picked up in person. A holiday staycation deal running October 30 and 31 includes the boxed sets and a room for two adults, two children, and one dog (starting at $199).

Fairmont’s executive pastry chef A.J. Thalakkat and chef Jason Rowley are making treats for people and their pooches.
Fairmont/official photo

Meaty menu at Morton’s

1050 Connecticut Avenue NW

From Friday, October 30, to Sunday, November 1, the steakhouse offers a “Spooktacular” three-course menu ($45) featuring options like baked onion soup, a double-cut pork chop, and dark chocolate mousse. Bottles of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and Stoke’s Ghost Petite Sirah are $59 and $49, respectively.

Morton’s double-cut prime pork chop.
Landry’s/official photo

Day of the Dead E-Festival with National Museum of the American Indian

The Smithsonian museum also honors Day of the Dead with a virtual activity for families on October 31 and November 1. Chef Neftali Duranon will give a presentation on the food and culture associated with Dia de Los Meurtos, which falls on November 1. Museum folklorist Cynthia Vidarurri will also answer questions about the holiday’s history and offer step-by-step instructions on how to craft a traditional paper marigold. More information here.

Brunch at Belga Cafe

514 8th Street SE

Capitol Hill’s Belgian cafe hosts a Halloween brunch with a welcome glass of Veuve Clicquot. Costume contest winners get a $100 gift card to Belga Café or The Betsy. Make a reservation here or call (202) 544-0100.

Candy tour at Kinship

1015 Seventh Street NW

The Michelin-rated restaurant celebrates Halloween by inviting families on a ticketed tour to collect candies and confections made by pastry chef Anne Specker. Two families will be allowed entry per 15-minute time slot, and each one will go home with a take-and-bake lasagna. Join the wait list for the $25 ticketed tour.

Fall cocktails at Patterson Mansion

15 Dupont Circle NW

Patterson Mansion + Ampeer, the historical estate-turned-events space in Dupont Circle, is opening up its bar to the public from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Halloween. Come for costumes, a live DJ, and discounts on two specialty cocktails: “Snips, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails” and “Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice.”

Patterson Mansion’s new beverage director DJ Suan will join guest bartender EJ Apaga to stir seasonal drinks.
Patterson Mansion/official photo

Halloween “Feast” by Nina May

This seasonal American spot in Logan Circle packs a pumpkin-heavy “Feast” box (delivery only, $70 for two) set with supplies for a Halloween at home. Packages come with a mini pumpkin for carving, caramel apples with toasted peanuts, curried koginut pumpkin soup with spiced pumpkin seeds and nutmeg crème fraîche, a chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin icing and festive toppings, and more.

Ellē x Otabe takeout pop-up

3221 Mt Pleasant Street NW

Japanese comfort food pop-up Otabe is teaming up with all-day cafe Ellē for a Halloween takeout dinner in Mount Pleasant. The menu includes a spicy beef burger between rice buns, a teriyaki chicken burger, Japanese curry poutine, karaage fried chicken, and savory pancakes (okonomiyaki). Online ordering starts at 4 p.m. on Halloween until 8 p.m. or until sellout (pickup only), with Ellē’s menu available too.

Free shots at Morris American Bar

1020 Seventh Street NW

The cocktail bar near the convention center is offering a free shot on Halloween for customers who show up in costumes.

Outdoor activities at the Station at Riverdale Park

6621 Baltimore Avenue, Riverdale Park, Maryland

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Halloween, families can flock to the Prince George’s County shopping center for free, socially distanced outdoor activities like mini golf, a self-guided photo scavenger hunt, a prize raffle, and more. Also expect treats from Denizens brewery and District Taco and a visit from a food truck.