Spooky Season in Arlington: Halloween 2023

Published on October 25, 2023

family celebrating Halloween

The days are getting shorter and there is a chill in the air ... Halloween season has arrived.

Whether you're looking for a frightfully fun party or planning your trick-or-treat itinerary, there is plenty to do in Arlington County.


While Arlington doesn't have set hours for trick-or-treating, it usually coincides with sunset, which is just after 6 p.m. on Tue., Oct. 31, 2023.

As Arlington's younger population takes to the streets, keep in mind these trick-or-treating tips from our friends at the Arlington County Police Department:

  • See and be seen! Select bright costumes, add reflective tape and/or carry flashlights and glow sticks.
  • Plan your trick-or-treat route in advance. Stick to familiar neighborhoods and well-lit streets. For those on the Nextdoor app, check out its annual Treat Map, which allows people to share how they will be celebrating Halloween – whether it’s decorating one’s home or taking part in the neighborhood trick-or-treating by giving out candy.
  • Only visit homes with exterior lights on.
  • Never send children out alone. Younger children should be with a trusted adult. Ensure older children take friends and stay together.
  • Check candy before eating. Consider bringing treats from home so children don’t snack on candy before it is inspected.
  • Walk on sidewalks and cross at corners, using traffic signals and/or crosswalks.
  • Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween. Slow down, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic, and turn on your headlights earlier in the evening to spot children from greater distances.  

October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. Remember to stop for pedestrians, maintain safe distance from cyclists on roadways, and follow all speed limits. Learn more about the County’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

Creepy Calendar 

  • Virginia Ghosts Campfire: The whole family is invited to join on Wed., Oct. 25, Thur., Oct. 26 or Fri., Oct. 27 from 5-6 p.m. at the Fort C.F. Smith Park fire ring for lots of old-fashioned fun and of course, S’mores. $5 per person. Learn more and sign up.
  • marshmallows on fire pit
  • Howl-o-weenThe Rosslyn BID and the Rosslyn Dog Owners Group (R-DOGS) are teaming up for a Halloween-themed evening of dog-friendly activities, treats, and fun at the Gateway Park Interim Dog Park on Friday, Oct. 27, from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
  • The Tell-Tale Heart at Synetic Theater: Sanity and madness blur on stage during a classic tale of suspense. The iconic, Edgar Allen Poe penned story, is playing at Synetic Theater now until Nov. 5. Note for parents, the play recommends guest be at least 13 years old. 
  • Halloween Splash: Sample five aqua fitness classes on Fri., Oct. 27, from 8–11 a.m. at Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center.
  • Spooktacular Costume Swap: Drop off gently used costumes at the Courthouse Arlington Library location during regular hours. Return on Saturday, Oct. 28 and discover a new one in time for Halloween.
  • Halloween Bark Party: Stop by the park next to Aurora Hills on Oct. 28 for an afternoon of fun for dogs, and dog lovers. You can expect treats, a dog photo booth, and a canine costume contest. 
  • Nature Spooktacular: Join for a "Spooktacular" day of fun learning about nighttime animals and cultural festivities surrounding nature this time of the year on Sun., Oct. 29 from 3:30-5 p.m. and 5-6:30 p.m. at Long Branch Nature Center. Earlier time will be less spooky for families with young children. $7 per person. Learn more and sign up.
  • Poe Garden: A Literary Halloween Tradition: Join the Kenmore Middle School’s Drama Club on Oct. 30 for an annual literary tradition in Glencarlyn's "haunted" garden, complete with readings of Edgar Allan Poe, festive decorations, refreshments in the Library.
  • Halloween Scavenger Hunt at Columbia Pike: Can you find the Halloween characters hidden around the library? Fun for kids of all ages on Halloween.
  • Fall Family Fun: Looking for alternative to Trick-or-Treating? Join the Library for an afternoon of family-friendly harvest-themed crafts and activities including pumpkin painting, candy corn hole, and more.  


David Amoroso_Calavera Roja

If all that isn't enough, on Wed., Nov. 1, the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington is hosting its Día de los Muertos Celebrationan evening picnic on their lawn with family-friendly art projects. There will be music from Grupo Fénix, dance performance from Los Quetzales, and a spoken word performance from Cristi Donoso. 

A Spooky—and Safe—Halloween

The only thing scarier than zombies and witches loose on the streets is an impaired driver. This Halloween, make happy memories, not tragic nightmares by getting behind the wheel after drinking. To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, the Arlington County Police Department, in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), is hosting a Halloween anti-drunk driving event to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills. This free event is open to the public and will take place on Sat., Oct. 28, at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard, beginning at 8 p.m.

Don’t let drunk driving haunt your celebrations. Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program's 2023 Halloween SoberRide® program is offering free rides home, in partnership with Lyft, from 4 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 28 until 4 a.m. on Sun., Oct. 29.

Pumpkin Chuck

decomposing pumpkin

And when it's all said and done, don't let those gourds go to waste -- pumpkins can be put in the green curbside cart with yard waste and food scraps for weekly collection/composting. 

Arlington County's award-winning residential food scrap collection bolsters sustainability by diverting biodegradable waste from incineration to composting. Click here to request a green curbside cart

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