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20 family-friendly Halloween events happening in NoVA

From costume contests to ghost stories surrounding local folklore, here’s how families of Northern Virginia can get in the Halloween spirit throughout October.

people looking at old town decor
Photo courtesy of Visit Alexandria

While trick-or-treating is typically reserved for the kids and Halloween parties are designated for adults, that is not the case in Northern Virginia this October.

Whether you choose to participate in a 5K or watch Tim Burton films on one of Old Town’s historic properties, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate spooky season as a family. Here are 20 to choose from.

Spookley the Square Pumpkin
Through Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
This year, turn Halloween celebrations into an educational experience with help from Spookley the Square Pumpkin at the seasonal Reston Farm Market. In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month this October, the market has partnered with the talking pumpkin to help youngsters understand the importance of being tolerant and kind. // Reston Farm Market: 10800 Baron Cameron Ave., Reston; students $10, teachers and bus drivers enter for free

Fireside Ghost Stories at Ben Lomond Historic Site
Oct. 4, 7-8 p.m.
October is the perfect time to sit around a campfire and enjoying some s’mores. This year, add a little scare to the seasonal affair at the Ben Lomond Historic Site, where staff will share ghost stories and legends of Civil War days associated with the centuries-old grounds. // Ben Lomond Historic Site and Old Rose Garden: 10311 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas; $5, free for children under 2

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Pumpkin 5K & Kids’ Dash
Oct. 13, 8:15 a.m.
Stay active with the kids this month by taking them to this Halloween-themed race event, where every participant is encouraged to debut their costumes a few weeks early. Plus, there will be a celebration and costume contest after everyone gets a workout in. // Reston Town Center: 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston; $10-$30

Halloween Party at Beehive
Oct. 18, 5:30-8 p.m.
Celebrate Halloween a little early with this one-of-a-kind indoor event hosted by Beehive Indoor playground. For an entire evening, your youngsters will be entertained with a live reptile show, face painting, a costume contest, photo wall and so much more. Be sure to register early, as this event tends to sell out. // Beehive Indoor Playground: 13412 Jefferson Davis Highway, Woodbridge; $15

Petoberfest 2019
Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
This year, playing dress-up during Halloween season doesn’t have to be strictly for the humans. Just over a week before Oct. 31, come out for a family-friendly event focusing on your furry friend at home. From a pet parade to entertainment designated for the kids, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. // Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center: 15201 Potomac Town Place, Suite 180, Woodbridge; free

Pumpkin Carving
Oct. 19, noon-2 p.m.
Do you want to carve pumpkins with your kids but avoid the inevitable messy kitchen? If yes, then come over to Potomac Overlook Regional Park to find provided pumpkins, tools and paints for an afternoon of carving with the family and other members of the community. // Potomac Overlook Regional Park: 2845 Marcey Road, Arlington; $12

Monster Mash
Oct. 19, 3-7 p.m.
Ghosts and witches alike are invited to this Halloween fete dedicated specifically to little ones. From live-action pumpkin carving stations to on-site magicians, this event will be action-packed and fun for the whole family. // Village at Leesburg: 1602 Village Market Blvd. SE, Leesburg; free

Trick or Treat: Stamp and Tote at Water’s End Brewery
Oct. 20, noon-2 p.m.
Collecting candy in a pillow case is definitely fun, but carrying candy in a hand-crafted, personally designed pillow case is even better. At this event hosted by Water’s End Brewery, your kiddos will be able to use potato stamps to create their own trick or treat bag, all while you assist with a beer in hand. // Water’s End Brewery: 12425 Dillingham Square, Lake Ridge; $20

Canine Halloween Cruise
Oct. 25, 6:30-8 p.m.
Take a spin along the Potomac River as an entire family, including Fido. Throughout the evening cruise, Halloween-themed tunes will play from the speakers and treats will be provided. Don’t forget to dress your four-legged friend in his best costume, as there will be a pup-tastic contest following the trip. // Alexandria City Marina: 1 Cameron St., Alexandria; $0-$24.99

Lee-Fendall House Halloween Pumpkin Hunt
Oct. 26, $0-$15
For the sixth year in a row, the Lee-Fendall House will host its outdoor pumpkin hunt, giving elementary-aged children and younger the chance to find which big orange vegetables are filled with toys. In addition to the hunt, the event will feature a sticker station, spooky tales, refreshments, a costume contest and more. Be sure to sign up for a program slot soon, as this event tends to sell out early. // Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden: 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria; $0-$15

Halloween Family Fun Day
Oct. 26, noon-2 p.m.
For just two hours on Oct. 26, you and your kiddos can enjoy live performances while dressed in your favorite costumes. This event is great for children under the age of 8, as the lineup includes a one-man band, a puppet show and a series of carnival games for their enjoyment. // Reston Community Center: 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston; free

Carlyle House’s Wonderland
Oct. 26, noon-4 p.m.
Introduce your child to classic characters from Tim Burton’s famed films at this unique event dedicated to the American filmmaker and his spooky tales. For the entire afternoon, Burton’s films will be playing on the back terrace, all while characters like Alice in Wonderland walk around, a costume contest occurs and Burton-themed games are on display. // Carlyle House: 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria; $5 for children ages 0-12, $1 for those ages 13 and older

Family Friendly Halloween Party
Oct. 26, 5-7 p.m.
Bring the children to the newly renovated Oasis Performance Center, boasting a haunted house, on-stage skits, live painting demonstrations and more for this special Halloween celebration. While there is a cost associated with each child, parents are welcome for free. // Infinity Arts Center: 21586 Atlantic Blvd., Building 130, Sterling; $40 per child, parents enter for free

Fourth Annual Cookies & Scream
Oct. 26, 6-9 p.m.
Bring the whole family for an evening of tasty treats, entertainment and giveaways at Cookies & Cream in Haymarket. For the fourth year, individuals of all ages are invited to wear their best spooky looks and come together for a community celebration surrounding something everyone loves: cookies. // Cookies & Cream: 14659 Washington St., Haymarket; free

Arctoberfest: A Halloween Extravaganza
Oct. 26, 6-9 p.m.
No matter your ability, this event is welcome to all people through a fun, family-friendly celebration hosted by Arc of Northern Virginia. For three hours, guests can enjoy live music from a DJ, a haunted house and graveyard site, costume contest and more. Plus, there will be a sensory-friendly hour offered from 6 to 7 p.m. // The Columbus Club: 5115 Little Falls Road, Arlington; $25

Halloween’s Nightmare Thriller
Oct. 26, 11:30 p.m.-6 a.m.
For one night only, Laser Quest is opening its doors for a haunted evening of laser tag, featuring a costume contest, haunted missions and more. While this event is open to anyone ages 5 and older, be aware that there will be spooky decor surrounding the space. // Laser Quest: 14517 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge; $35 in advance, $40 at the door

Boo at the Zoo
Oct. 26 & 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Celebrate Halloween a weekend early at Roer’s Zoofari. Boys and ghouls alike will have the opportunity to trick or treat for delicious candies from booths manned by local businesses and sponsors. Plus, select animals will be available for children to see. // Roer’s Zoofari: 1228 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna; $20

23rd Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade
Oct. 27, 2 p.m.
Witches, goblins and princesses alike are welcome to take part in the 23rd annual Del Ray Halloween Parade, attracting more than 7,000 participants each year. Children and pets, as well as decorated strollers, are welcome to stroll the neighborhood streets. When the parade concludes, all community members can enjoy refreshments like apple cider and live musical entertainment at the Recreation Center fields. // Parade begins at Mount Vernon Avenue; free

UFOs, Criptids and Ghosts, Oh My!
Oct. 28, 7-8 p.m.
Get in the Halloween spirit with this lecture hosted by certified cryptozoologists of the Alexandria Cryptozoology and Paranormal Society, as they discuss folklore surrounding paranormal activity here in Northern Virginia. Following the discussion, the leaders will showcase equipment they use to investigate cases. // Columbia Pike Branch Library: 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington; free

Hot Dog it’s Halloween!
Oct. 31, 5-7 p.m.
Take in Halloween with the entire Middleburg community at this evening event featuring a parade, sit-down dinner and takeaway goody bags for the little ones. Be sure to come in your favorite Halloween costume as there will be themed entertainment in the ballroom to follow. // Middleburg Community Center: 300 W. Washington St., Middleburg; free

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