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From books to spooky selfies: What we’re looking forward to this week, Oct. 7-13

This week, the Northern Virginia Magazine editorial team is looking forward to Fall for the Book Festival, the Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour, Bagel Uprising, building kokedamas and American Scream.

Photo courtesy of Live Oak

This story appears in our weekly Things to Do newsletter, sent out to subscribers every Monday. Get it in your inbox by signing up here.

By Katie BiancoJess FeldmanHolly GambrellStefanie Gans and Jennifer Zeleski

For the love of books
I live with a self-described bibliophile. We own a couch that doubles as a bookshelf. We participate in a two-person book club (i.e. the two of us). And, sometimes, he’ll ask me if it’s OK if he listens to his audiobook in the car rather than music. I’ll admit, I thought I liked to read, but my appreciation for the leisure activity has never come close to the love my partner-in-crime and English-degree-holder has for books. Lucky for us, the Fall for the Book Festival is back this weekend, and the lineup is incredible. I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for the first time in a “Women’s Writing Worldwide” course in college (and she is fantastic), and dove in head-first to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl when I was a freshman in college (and trying to escape my first hellish year of dorm life). Plus, Delia Owens, the author of Where the Crawdads Sing (see: two-person book club), will be in attendance, too. As much as our book-loving partnership isn’t quite equal, at least this weekend we can be on the same playing field. -Jennifer Zeleski, Editoral Assistant // George Mason University (and other locations): 4400 University Drive, Fairfax; free (first-come, first-served)

Nothing to wine about 
Due to the fact that I was raised by a European father, I was introduced to wine from a very young age (13, to be exact). While yes my first favorite was the ever-so-fruity sangria, I have since grown to understand the complexities of a vintage and why my parents are such avid fans of Napa Valley grapes. When it comes to Virginia wine, though, I know very little. Having since read the in-depth cover story spearheaded by our food editor, Stefanie Gans, I am ready to dive head first and learn more. That’s why this weekend, I’ll be making my first-ever visit to Mount Vernon for the Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. With cooler weather finally on the horizon, spending an evening with a glass of red in hand sounds like exactly what I need. -Jess Feldman, Editorial Assistant // George Washington’s Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon; Oct. 11-Oct. 13, times vary; $42-$48

Finally, it’s outdoor-eating weather. It’s time for bagels and brunch.
My husband and I joke that there are probably only a handful of days the whole year where we’re both comfortable. Predictably, he’s always hot, and I’m always cold. This weekend, we both might be happy. Saturday is best for trying the revitalized Bagel Uprising (from Nicole Jones of Stomping Ground) while walking around the Del Ray Farmers Market, and Sunday we can camp out on the deck with biscuits and fried chicken at Live Oak. And maybe some bubbles … weather this good only happens once a year. -Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor // Bagel Uprising: 2307A Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; Live Oak: 1603 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria

Even plants are feeling the Halloween spirit
I’ll be honest, this month you can probably expect most of my “What We’re Looking Forward To” blurbs in our Monday newsletters to relate to Halloween in some shape or form. Last week I wrote about Shocktober, and this week it’s spooky kokedamas’ time to shine. This Sunday, Oct. 13, Botanologica is hosting a workshop for kids (ages 8 and up) and their families to create mini kokedamas with googly eyes, plastic spiders and other festive decorations. I’ll be going with my niece, who is now old enough to fully immerse herself into the world of costumes, decor and not-too-scary stories. It’s going to be a spooktacular day, and I can’t wait to pass down the joy of Halloween to the next generation. -Holly Gambrell, Digital Editor // Botanologica: 817 W. Broad St., Falls Church; $30

(Don’t) scream for your selfie
I’m not a huge Halloween person, to be honest. Mostly because I absolutely positively despise being scared. Horror movies? Never seen one. Haunted houses? Not a chance. But, this year, I’m thinking I may actually check one out. American Scream at Tysons is a haunted house-selfie hybrid of a Halloween attraction that focuses more on creating immersive scenes to pose in rather than having a scary clown jump out at you. I think I can handle this. Plus, the attraction specifically marks the scariest rooms (so wimps like me can skip them). I got to interview the creator of the new haunted house slash museum for a story in our October issue and he convinced me. I’ll give this Halloween attraction a try. -Katie Bianco, Editor // Located inside Tysons Corner Mall (lower level near Lord & Taylor): 1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean; open on select dates through Nov. 3; tickets $18 general admission, $15 students, military, first responders

For more fun things to do this month, check out these 19 events.

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