Photo: courtesy of Beetle House

Spooky Soirées

As adults, our Halloween event options are typically limited to costume parties with kegs and bar crawls with rail drinks. While we’re not opposed to dressing up as a Sailor Moon character and getting buzzed, DC has more to offer than your typical All Hallows’ Eve celebration. Why not elevate your experience and party at a historic cemetery or peep a super obscure horror flick? What we’re saying is: switch things up this year and do something spooky or weird or both. Read on for our off-the-beaten-path Halloween event picks.

THROUGHOUT OCTOBER

Beetle House
Beetle House celebrates Halloween every single day. To make October 31 special, this gothic lounge bar will host performances and a costume contest. “When it comes to the actual holiday, we go all out,” says Todd Luongo, who partnered with Beetle House creator Zach Neil on the new DC location. There are two floors of horror. The first features art made of real human bones, haunted photos and more in addition to a dining space. And the second? “Our second floor is our bar [and] theater where we put the ‘fun’ in funeral, themed as a Tim Burtonesque look into the afterlife,” Luongo continues. Their signature drinks include The Beetle’s Juice and the Big Fishbowl for two. 21-plus. 816 H St. NE, DC; www.beetlehousenyc.com

Hex
For a bewitching night out, come to Hex. Get spooky for costume contests every Thursday in October. The best costume each night will receive a free bottle of champagne. Learn your future with a tarot reader, Tuesday through Friday all month between 6:30 p.m. and midnight. Hex will host a witching hour starting October 1 with special elixirs to sip from midnight to close on Tuesday through Friday. 21-plus. 1539 7th St. NW, DC; www.hexbardc.com

Slash Run
Beer. Burgers. Rock ‘n’ roll. Halloween. Throughout the month, be sure to check out one of Slash Run’s festive events. There are free movie nights featuring horror flicks such as Pet Cemetery and The Fly (the 1986 remake with Jeff Goldblum). Breakfast has never been so campy with a Beetlejuice-themed brunch. Other activities include pumpkin painting, Halloween cover shows and karaoke. Hallowzine will consist of zinesters, comedians and storytellers sharing scary tales. Various dates, times and ticket prices. 201 Upshur St. NW, DC; www.slashrun.com 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10

October NGA Nights: After Hours at the National Gallery of Art
There’s a mystery to solve at the National Gallery of Art. Join after hours for a fun night of sleuthing and discoveries. Explore the gallery’s extensive art collection like a detective and learn the secrets hiding in the artwork. There will be pop-up talks, dancing and music by Les the DJ. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. The National Gallery of Art East Building: 4th Street in NW, DC; www.nga.gov

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

Hocus Pocus
Join the National Museum of American History in celebrating the spooky season with Disney’s Hocus Pocus, the 90s classic about three kids who accidentally free a coven of witches. In addition to the 35 mm film screening, there will be a party including drinks, music, dancing and giveaways. Costumes are encouraged, so be sure to wear some witchy attire. Party tickets include two drink tickets. Various times. Tickets $9-$36. The National Museum of American History: 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, DC; www.americanhistory.si.edu

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21 

Boos & Brews
For a night of scary good fun, Boos & Brews is bringing Halloween early. Go on a ghost tour around the famous landmark, play some games and enter the costume contest. DJ EPX will be spinning while delicious food and beer from various breweries will be featured. Each ticket purchase will come with a voucher for two free beers. 21-plus. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $20. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.nbm.org

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 

Costumes & Cocktails
Suns Cinema is bringing an entire month of fright to the city, featuring over 45 horror films. “We don’t find a lot of horror movies to be that scary, but even the horror films that aren’t scary can be entertaining,” says Suns co-owner David Cabrera. If you’re looking for a movie that is actually scary, he recommends The Exorcist. “It still holds up as terrifying, and it’s a DC classic.” Join Suns Cinema for Costumes & Cocktails: there will be spooky food, music and visual projections. Try one of the horror-themed cocktails including Rye Rye My Darling, a devilish punch of some kind, and the Blood Rage, a spicy negroni. 9 p.m. Suns Cinema: 3107 Mt. Pleasant St. NW, DC; www.sunscinema.com

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26

Eighties Mayhem: 80s Halloween Dance Party
Get ready to dance to the best alt sounds of the 80s featuring DJs Steve EP, Missguided and Killa K. The themes are REDRUM in the red room and Ghostbusters in the main room. Last year’s party sold out and was a big success, so get tickets before they sell out! Costumes are encouraged. 9 p.m. – 2:15 a.m. Tickets $15. Black Cat DC: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31

Rhizome Halloween Blowout
Rhizome is bringing the beats and noise this Halloween. This nonprofit community space is known for its innovative art, and this blowout will put a new spin on Halloween. DC native Sir E.U will be featured and is likely to perform a track off his 2019 album Red Helly / Twin Towers. Nashville artist B|_ank will be there showing off his experimental A/V drumming. Check out Rhizome’s Facebook page and website for more details to come. All ages. 8-11 p.m. Tickets $10. Rhizome: 6950 Maple St. NW, DC; www.rhizomedc.org

Wizard Fest: A Harry Potter Party
Still waiting on your Hogwarts letter? The wait is over – celebrate Halloween with Wizard Fest. This Harry Potter-themed DC pop-up party is sure to bring magic to the night. HP fans can enjoy themed trivia, music and a costume contest. For witches and wizards over 21, there will be specialty drinks such as polyjuice potion and butterbeer. Put your name in the Goblet of Fire for a chance to win a trip for two to London. 8 p.m. Tickets $25-$75. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1

Boneyard Bash
What better place to spend Halloween than a cemetery? Congressional Cemetery is hosting a costume party filled with music, dancing, an open bar and plenty of fun. In addition to a few surprises, there will be a few famous DC residents including the ghost of Mayor Marion Barry. 21-plus. 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Tickets $55. All profits go to the Association for the Preservation of the Historic Congressional Cemetery. Congressional Cemetery: 1801 E St. SE, DC; www.congressionalcemetery.org