Halloween Haunts Abound in Washington, D.C.

20 Oct
October 20, 2011

There’s just a week and half until to the spookiest season of the year. Halloween is one of the few times where both kids and adults get to act like children, and in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas, there are an unlimited number of activities to indulge your ghoulish side. From pumpkin patches and haunted houses to corn mazes and ghost tours, there is no reason this year to not go out and enjoy the fright.

To begin the season, everyone needs a jack-o-lantern. What’s Halloween without a big orange pumpkin placed outside the front door? Anyone can walk to their local Harris Teeter and grab a gourd, but this year, visit a farm for a bigger selection and better time.

Homestead Farm, in Poolesville, Maryland, is only a few miles west of the Beltway and has everything one wants in a fall farm: apple picking, corn mazes and pumpkins that cost just 59 cents a pound. The farm is open seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., so swing by anytime to pick up a pumpkin.

In Virginia, Ticonderoga Farms and its Fall Pumpkin Festival, is the spot to visit. Just south of Dulles, pumpkins may be the least exciting part of your visit. Among the attractions at Ticonderoga are hayrides, hillside slides, Native America Teepees and the longest swinging bridge in Virginia. And Ticonderoga is also open every day of the week, from 9 a.m – 5 p.m.

Since farms are only open during the day, what’s there to do with the nights?

This weekend is one of Washington’s biggest Halloween events, Boo at the Zoo, which runs all three weekend nights, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the National Zoo. For the event, the zoo transforms into a giant Halloween haunt for children, with decorations, spooky trails and opportunities to see your favorite October animals, like spiders and bats. There will also be volunteers in costumes, passing out candy to kids at 40 different spots within the zoo.

Tickets for the event cost $20 for Friends of the National Zoo and $30 for non-members.

While Boo at the Zoo will provide scares to children, this area is replete with places for adults to get the chills while walking around.

Inside Washington, D.C. Lafayette Square Park is known as the most haunted spot in the area. Washington Walks puts on a tour that takes people around some of the most cursed locations in Northwest, telling tales of murder and intrigue. The tour cost $15 dollars, and is held Thursday-Saturday. Tickets can be bought online, but reservations don’t need to be made in advance. You can just show up and pay.

In Virginia, the spot to go for ghost tours is Old Town, Alexandria. Alexandria Colonial Tours, during the Halloween season, takes people through a lantern-lit graveyard tour. For just $12, on any night of the week, you can be led through the cobblestone streets of Old Town by a local dressed in traditional Colonial garb, while he or she tells murder mysteries that are nearly 300 years old.

In Maryland, the place to go for Halloween haunts is Annapolis. Annapolis Ghost Tours leads nighttime walks through the maritime port. If you’re without children, the company’s haunted pub crawl is one of the most fun activities the area has to offer. A $20 ticket takes you to three of the most haunted pubs in Annapolis, where you hear stories of ghost and ghouls who still frequent their favorite watering hole. Starting at 9:00 p.m. on both nights of the weekend, the trip is not to be missed.

So make this Halloween the most haunted yet, and visit many of the great attractions Washington, D.C. has to offer.

-David

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