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The Best Things to do With Kids in Washington, D.C. in October

Things to Do DC/MD/VA

It's hard to believe that before long we'll be breaking out our sweaters and jackets, making our holiday shopping list, and preparing for Thanksgiving. All fun things to look forward to, but not before pumpkin carving, loads of candy, and fall festivals!

Looking for things to do with your kids in Washington DC this October? Say no more.

American Scream Halloween Selfie Museum in Tysons Corner, Virginia

American Scream Halloween Selfie Museum
American Scream Halloween Selfie Museum Photo by: Mariana Perez

The ultimate Insta-worthy, interactive, pop-up experience dedicated to all things Halloween is now open at Tysons Corner Center through November 3rd! The American Scream Halloween Museum is designed for all ages with costumed characters, creatures, scarecrows, jack o'lantern displays, and selfie-worthy sets only before seen on screen. For you Game of Thrones fans, there's even a replica of the Iron Throne so you can get some Insta-worthy shots of your little monsters ruling the Seven Kingdoms! More adventurous guests can head to the "extreme haunts" section for scarier thrills. Save 39% off admission with this CertifiKID Deal.

The GLOW A Pumpkin Wonderland in Reston, VA

Photo by The Glow
Photo courtesy of The Glow

THE GLOW is an enchanting Halloween experience from October 3rd - 27th at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston that features a pumpkin wonderland with thousands of hand-carved jack o’lanterns. From single pumpkin carvings to larger than life displays, THE GLOW’s master carvers bring the Halloween spirit to life. In addition to marveling at the masterpieces created by talented artists, you can also enjoy a pumpkin patch, live carving demonstrations and tasty fall food and beverages. Save 20% Off admission with this CertifiKID Deal

Shocktober Haunted House in Leesburg, VA

Photo by Shocktober
Photo courtesy of Shocktober

Northern Virginia's SERIOUSLY SCARY Haunted House: Shocktober in Leesburg, Virginia welcomes only the bravest among us longing to explore creepy, gory, enter-at-your-own-risk, SERIOUSLY SCARY haunts from October 4th - 27th. Even better, this hair-raising event is also a fundraiser for The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit that provides opportunities and support for people with disabilities and their families. Save 34% off admission here!

Fall for Fairfax KidsFest in Fairfax, VA

Fall for Fairfax KidsFest

On October 5th and 6th head to the 27th annual Fall For Fairfax KidsFest! Enjoy exciting, interactive and educational programs, entertainment and activities specially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children. Activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, petting zoo, model trains, instrument petting zoo, the KidWay MidWay (with more than a dozen rides and attractions), and live entertainment. Admission, most activities and entertainment are free of charge. Save 25% off VIP Parking and two "All-You-Can-Ride" Super Passes for the KidWay MidWay with this CertifiKID Deal

Markoff's Haunted Forest in Dickerson, MD

Photo by Markoff's Haunted Forest
Photo courtesy of Markoff's Haunted Forest

Markoff’s Haunted Forest - scaring the pants off people since 1993 - is back in 2019 with more hair-raising thrills in the ghostly woods outside Poolesville. This year, Markoff’s will bring you a brand new theme – BLACK DEATH – which will plague all who dare enter its terror-filled trail. MHF offers three terrifying trails, sure to give you the jitters that can only be calmed with apple cider and homemade kettle corn sold on site! Terrifying for the whole family! Take advantage of CertifiKID's discount here!

Peter Rabbit Tales at Center for the Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA

A favorite among children and adults, Peter Rabbit Tales at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University is on October 6th. Follow the little blue-coated rabbit and his adventures in Mr. McGregor's garden! Have fun with some great activities in the lobby before the show.

Big Build Festival at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. - FREE

Great for all ages and FREE, the Big Build Festival gives kids and adults the chance to discover, play, make, climb, and design alongside architects, hobbyists, artisans, and craftspeople. You can explore the construction vehicle “petting zoo”, spackle walls, chop and hammer wood, and experience cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality in the Tech Lab. Attend the Big Build on October 12th. Attendees can visit all exhibitions for free on this day as well. Can't visit on October 12th? Save 50% off admission to National Building Museum through April 20, 2020 with this CertifiKID Deal!

International Children's Festival at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. - FREE

The International Children’s Festival celebrates Washington’s international fabric offering exiting experiences for thousands of D.C.-metro area students and their families, in addition to visitors from around the globe. On Monday, October 14th from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. experience 30+ embassy booths, music, dance performances, art and photography, exhibits, workshops, international food tastings and so much more!

Indigenous Peoples' Day at the American Indian Museum in Washington, D.C. - FREE

On October 14th take the family to the American Indian Museum for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Learn about Native scientific discoveries and inventions that affect our daily lives. From foods and medicines to the engineering principles of bridge-building, learn about the remarkable contributions from Native people throughout the Western Hemisphere in a fun and interactive space. Check out our review of the American Indian Museum.

Boo at the Zoo at Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. - FREE

From October 18th - 20th kids can go trick-or-treating at the wildest spot in town during Boo at the Zoo at the National Zoo! Celebrate Halloween early with more than 40 treat stations, a dance party and kids' karaoke. This frightfully fun evening is a magical time for the whole family. Tickets are required and go on sale to Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) members on September 5th and to non-members on September 12th. 

Family Day at the AU Museum in Washington, D.C. - FREE

FALL FAMILY FUN DAY at the AU Museum for all ages is on October 19th! All activities are free and inspired by their current exhibitions. Create hands-on art projects, explore art with a scavenger hunt, take a tour with one of the Museum's guides, listen and participate in storytelling and music-making, and more.

Archaeology Family Day at the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. - FREE

On October 19th, the National Museum of Natural History, the Society for American Archaeology, DC Historic Preservation Office, and Archaeology in the Community invite you to a family-friendly event celebrating International Archaeology Day! At this free event, talk to archaeologists, learn about fascinating finds, career paths, challenges in the field, and the joy of discovery. Practice the skills archaeologists use to piece together the past. Participate in mock excavations, illustration, decoding ancient writing systems, experimentation and artifact analysis.

Fall Harvest Family Days in Mount Vernon in Washington, D.C.

Enjoy fall activities with the whole family at Mount Vernon on October 19th and 20th! Take a horse-drawn wagon ride and play colonial games on the bowling green before heading to the Pioneer Farm to observe 18th-century demonstrations and greet General Washington. Find your way through a straw bale maze and listen to the Itinerant Band play colonial tunes. Sightseeing cruises will be free throughout the weekend (while supplies last).

Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD

Maryland Renaissance Festival

If the handmade crafts from over 140 artisans don't get you to visit the Maryland Renaissance Festival then maybe the 42 food and beverage emporiums might convince you. Just outside Annapolis, the festival takes place every Saturday and Sunday (plus Labor Day Monday) through October 20th. Over 200 performers take over the 10 stages for constant entertainment and even meander the festival.

Annual Halloween Parade, Vienna, VA - FREE

One of Vienna’s most popular events! On October 23rd this fun, free parade features originally-created floats, bands, costumed kids, and more. The Vienna Halloween Parade's theme is ‘Famous Children’s Books and Fairytales Brought to Life.’ Dress in your best Halloween costume and bring the whole family!

Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon in Mt. Vernon, VA

Photo by Mount Vernon
Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon

Participate in a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft in this unforgettable evening, Trick-or-Treating at Mt. Vernon on October 26th. Watch wool carding and spinning, historic chocolate-making, and fishnet-making demonstrations in the historic area. In order to burn off all the extra excitement, try 18th-century dancing in the upper garden before greeting Martha Washington. Walk in a children’s costume parade around the historic area—prizes will be awarded for the best George and Martha costumes! 

Air & Scare at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA - FREE

Air & Scare at the Air and Space Museum
Air & Scare Science Demonstration, Photo Courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum

One of the Air and Space Museum's most popular annual events is back this year! Don your costumes and head to the Udvar-Hazy Center from 12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. on October 26th to explore the spooky side of air and space at Air & Scare! Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, safe indoor trick-or-treating, and other Halloween-themed activities. Note that full-face masks are prohibited for visitors over 16 years of age for safety purposes. This event is free, but you must pay for parking.

Trick or Treat in Tudor Place Historic House and Garden in Washington, D.C.

Get into the Halloween spirit on October 26th at the Tudor Place Historic House and Garden! Explore the Tudor Place garden as the seasons change, and trick or treat throughout the site. Decorate your own haunted house and make a spooky tree craft. Play traditional outdoor games, enjoy face painting, and paint your own pumpkin to bring home. Costumes suggested but not required. Tickets are required and cost $10 for member children and $15 for non-member children. Adult chaperone tickets are $5.

Pumpkins in the Park at Canal Park, Washington, D.C.- FREE

On Saturday, October 26th from 4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., head to Canal Park for Pumpkins in the Park, featuring Halloween-themed activities and spooky fun and surprises for the whole family! Bring your little monsters out to decorate their own pumpkin, play in the moon bounce, and get their faces painted - all for FREE! Wear your best costume for your chance to win a spooky surprise!

Dragons Love Tacos at Olney Theatre in Olney, MD

Photo by The Olney Theater
Photo courtesy of The Olney Theater

Dragons love all sorts of tacos -- except spicy ones! When a boy throws his new dragon friends a spicy salsa taco party, red-hot trouble ensues. Join the Olney Theatre for their special performance of Dragons Love Tacos on October 26th and 27thGet tickets for the whole family for 25% OFF with this CertifiKID deal!

Celebrate Día de los Muertos

Originating in Mexico, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated all over Latin America where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion with food, drink and lively celebration. This three-day festival takes place every year from October 31st through November 2nd.

This is not the Mexican version of Halloween! While the theme is death, Día de los Muertos is a festive celebration of love and respect. The centerpiece of the festivities is an altar loaded with offerings meant to welcome spirits back to the realm of the living. Dressing up as a skeleton, including painting your face to resemble a skull and donning a suit or fancy dress, is also part of the fun.

Celebrate Día de los Muertos at one of these fun events in Washington, D.C.!

Dia de los Muertos Family Day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. - FREE

Celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with SAAM on October 26th! Enjoy Mexican folk dance performances throughout the day, a live Mariachi band, and face painting! Leave your handmade ofrendas (offerings) including paper marigolds, calaveras (skull masks), and paper monarch butterflies on their beautiful Day of the Dead altar.

Día de los Muertos at The Wharf in Washington, D.C.

Photo by John Gervasi/On Tap Magazine for The Wharf, Washington DC
Photo courtesy of John Gervasi/On Tap Magazine for The Wharf, Washington DC

Celebrate the Day of the Dead at The Wharf on October 26th from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Head to a transformed Pearl Street for a memorable afternoon with live music by La Unica, beer stations, street food, a photobooth, an altar contest, and more. Want to get creative yourself? Decorate a sugar skull or get your face painted. Win prizes for the best self-painted faces.

Family Game Night: Arctic Edition at the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C.

On October 26th head to the Natural History Museum for an evening of arctic and climate-themed activities for the whole family! The night will include different types of arctic-themed games for ages 10 and up, exploration of arctic objects and specimens with anthropologists, and discovery of the arctic ecosystem and the animals that live there through games, puzzes, and hands on activities!

HOPE FOR KIDS Fall Festival and Costume Party Fundraiser at American University in Washington, D.C.

Take the family to an event benefiting a great cause, the fifth annual Hope for Kids Fall Festival on October 26th from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. at American University School of International Service Atrium. Proceeds from this fun event benefit Extra-Ordinary Birthdays, an organization that provides personalized birthday parties for homeless children. Have a blast with the costume parade and contest, a live DJ and dancing, silent auction, slime station, refreshments, and even a candy tour!

NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, October 28th The Kennedy Center Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when the NSO's ghoulishly-attired musicians perform new and old classics. This year, the NSO celebrates Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) with music from the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature and Best Song, Coco. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” This event is great for ages 5 and up. 

This event is part of The Kennedy Center's Performances for Young Audiences series. Purchase three or more Young Audiences shows and get 20% off PLUS ticketing fees waived with this CertifiKID Deal!

Photo by The Kennedy Center
Photo courtesy of The Kennedy Center

Fall Festivals, Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes and Farm Fun - Up to 50% Off!

Great Country Farms
Great Country Farms Photo by: Ashley Augustine

Get lost in a corn maze, pick pumpkins, slide down giant hill slides, visit with farm animals, pick apples, watch pigs race, take a wagon ride, visit a haunted house and more -- all for up to 50% off HERE

For more fall family fun, check out The Best Fall Festivals Across the U.S.


CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!