With Halloween just around the corner, museums around town are gearing up for celebrations, parades and haunted houses. Washington has everything to offer — from a museum haunted by criminals to a ghost ship. Whether you’ve got young kids who are looking for another reason to put on their costumes or you simply want a good scare, we’ve got a roundup of where to go to celebrate this spooky day.
Have you seen ghosts lurking around Lafayette Square lately? Never fear; those are the tour guides for the Ghost Story Tour of Washington. This 9-year-old tour is led by costumed guides who tell guests who is haunting the Hay Adams and whether Edgar Allan Poe’s ghost lingers in the city. The tour costs $10 for adults and $5 for children under 16. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Whitman-Walker Clinic. Reservations are not required; the tour group meets at the corner of Vermont Avenue and I Street Northwest in front of the McPherson Square Metro station, at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The National Museum of Crime and Punishment is pulling out all the stops in its haunted museum tour, Dead Men Walking. The tour centers on the electric chair that is housed in the museum. The chair was used to execute 125 men in a Tennessee prison. According to the museum, the ghosts of these criminals now haunt the facility. The tour features drama students from George Washington University dressed in costumes and jumping out from behind every corner. As is the case with many haunted houses, the anticipation is scarier than the tour itself. Tickets are $14.95 to $19.95 and the tour takes about 10 minutes. Remaining dates for Dead Men Walking are Oct. 29, 30 and 31.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back, less scary Halloween experience, swing by Madame Tussauds. The wax museum will be hosting two Halloween-themed movie nights that are perfect for families with young children. Tonight, the museum will be screening “The Addams Family,— and Friday it will show “Monster House.— For $10, patrons can attend the screening and tour the museum. Halloween-themed concessions will also be available.
The U.S. Navy Museum (805 Kidder Breese St. SE in the Washington Navy Yard) will also be offering kid-friendly free tours of the Ghost Ship Barry on Friday. Tours that run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. are designed for children ages 4 to 9, while a later tour beginning at 8 p.m. is geared toward children ages 9 and older. Those who attend are asked not to wear costumes as they will interfere with the experience. After the tour, patrons will be invited to create Halloween picture frames and decorate trick-or-treat bags in the museum.
Swing by the Botanic Garden before hitting the town on Saturday night and you’ll have a chance to partake in HallowFest. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., HallowFest is free of charge. The event will include the opportunity to decorate a pumpkin, attend a “Monster Meal— cooking demonstration and create a craft. All are invited to wear costumes and participate in a Halloween parade at noon. Prizes will be given out for the best disguises.