Piles of pumpkins, blazing bonfires, lumpy scarecrows lounging in
chairs – Halloween has returned
to the parks.
We’re celebrating everyone’s favorite harvest holiday with family-friendly programs that are more silly than scary. The woods will come alive with nocturnal creatures at Fear-Less Fest, where visitors will meet life-sized animals like a black widow and a skunk at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Burke Lake Park’s forest will be crawling with costumed characters, entertaining the passengers whipping through the woods aboard the Ghost Train.
Lanterns will illuminate Halloween’s Victorian history at Sully Historic Site’s Historic All Hallows Eve event. Don’t miss seasonal fun along the shores of Lake Fairfax, where the return of the Pumpkins in the Park festival will offer food and fun for everyone. Lake Accotink’s costume contest for dogs is always a howling good time, and a round of Goblin Golf will have your whole family cackling with delight.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without a little fright, right? Test your courage and challenge your fears inside the All Hallows Eve House of Reptiles at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park and then take a ride through the moonlit meadow to look for bats. We have many more exciting activities brewing in the caldron, so grab your costume and join us in the parks this month!
Roast marshmallows at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Enjoy cookies and juice, and make crafts as we share stories about pumpkins that aren’t scary. The cost is $7. Register online. For information, call 703-631-0013.
Join a Hidden Oaks Nature Center naturalist for a night hike from 7 to 9 p.m. and meet costumed creatures including a black widow spider, skunk, owl and a dead tree who explain why they have scary reputations. Investigate real animal skulls, owl pellets and make crafts. The cost is $7. Register online. For information, call 703-941-1065.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Virginians celebrated All Hallows Eve with storytelling, fortune telling, fall foods and family gatherings. Experience these traditions as you tour Sully Historic Site by lantern light from 4 to 7 p.m. The cost is $10 per person. Register online. For information, call 703-437-1794.
Saturdays, October 18 and 25 & Sundays, October 19 and 26
Ghost Train at Burke Lake
Take a ride through the forest decorated for Halloween from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Meet costumed characters along the way. The carousel will also be running. The Ghost Train is a joint venture between Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason University, and FCPA. The cost is $5 per person. For information, call 703-323-6600.
Children enjoy activities including pumpkin painting, face painting and a puppet show at Lake Fairfax Park from 10 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. A small pumpkin is included in the $7 fee. Register online. For information, call 703-471-5415.
Sunday, October 19
Pumpkins in the Park Festival
Lake Fairfax is excited to bring back its fall festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy activities for the whole family like our burlap sack slide, face painting, class demonstrations, carousel rides, food and outdoor fun. The cost is $4 per person. For information, call 703-471-5415.
Children ages three to eight dressed in their favorite costume enjoy games and a wagon ride from 6 and 8 p.m. at Frying Pan Farm Park. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. The cost is $10. Register online. For information, call 703-437-9101.
This program for three to six-year-olds at Hidden Pond Nature Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. includes live animals, a walk into the forest at night, and a campfire with spell-binding stories, and s’mores. The cost is $7 per child. Register online. For information, call 703-451-9588.
Join us at Riverbend Park from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for a festive wagon ride complete with scarecrows, sweets and stories and s’mores around the campfire. The cost is $7 per person. Register online. For information, call 703-759-9018.
Children ages three to five make a jack-o’-lantern, listen to pumpkin tales, and sample a delicious pumpkin treat at Green Spring Gardens from 11 a.m. to noon. The cost is $6. Register online. For information, call 703-642-5173.
Saturday, October 25
Howl-o-ween Dog Costume Contest and Boneyard Hunt
Ready for some howlin’ Halloween fun? Gather at Lake Accotink Park from 2 to 4 p.m. to witness the best in canine creativity. Show off your pet’s unique personality and compete for special prizes and treats! Take your dog for a walk through the "boneyard" to sniff out well-earned treats while the judges confer. The cost is $6 per dog. To register, call 703-569-0285.
Saturday, October 25
Halloween Goblin Golf & Lakeside Bonfire
Join us at Lake Accotink Park for this spooktacular event from 5 to 8 p.m. Wander past tombstones and ghoulish delights placed along all nine holes of the “Gruesome Goose” Mini-Golf Course as you play a ghostly round with glow in the dark golf balls! Play a second round at no extra charge! Ride the spooky carousel while spectral music plays, then cast off the shivers by warming up to a blazing beach bonfire! The cost is $7 per person; ages two and under free. Take a 20-minute wagon ride through the eerie nighttime woods for $3. To register in advance, call 703-569-0285.
From 1 to 3 p.m. make your own extraordinary jack-o’-lantern creation at Green Spring Gardens. The cost is $35 per person. Register online. For information, call 703-642-5173.
Kids ages 6 to 12 explore nocturnal wildlife and local lore from 7 to 9 p.m. They’ll meet live animals, hear spellbinding stories and eat s’mores around the campfire. Scary stories will be told. The cost is $7. Register online. For information, call 703-451-9588.
Children ages three to five hunt for miniature pumpkins in Hidden Oaks Nature Center’s Nature Playce. This 45-minute program is offered at 1:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. The cost is $7. Register online. For information, call 703-941-1065.
From 7 to 8:30 p.m. test your courage and challenge your fears and phobias at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park’s All Hallows Eve House of Reptiles. Roast s’mores at the campfire and then sit back for a wagon ride through a moonlit meadow. The cost is $10 per person. Register online. For information, call 703-631-0013.
Wednesday, October 29
Wakefield Farmers Market Trick-or-Treat
Children are invited to wear their costumes and trick-or-treat for healthy goodies at the Wakefield Farmers Market from 2 to 6 p.m. There is no fee to participate. The market is located at 8100 Braddock Road in Annandale. For information, call 703-642-0128.