Fun Halloween Day Trips for the Whole Family

Celebrate Halloween with these entertaining, spooky and all-around fun excursions.

Credit: Great Country Farms
Credit: Great Country Farms
Written by Kara Hunt

Halloween is only a week away. Before you indulge in a night of trick-or-treating with a bevy of ghost, goblins and ghouls, make time for your family to enjoy these great Halloween-themed day trips:

Boo at the Zoo

National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20013

Why Go: Experience Halloween at the National Zoo! Visit with the animals and trick-or-treat throughout the park at 30 treat stations with your very own souvenir treat bag. All kids are encouraged to wear their costumes, and the zoo will be decorated in the Halloween spirit. This event is best enjoyed by kids ages 4 to 12, but all are welcome.

Insider Tip: Don’t want to pay for parking? Take the metro to Woodley Park metro station and ride the complimentary shuttle to the zoo. Check the website to ensure that parking is available the day you wish to go. Currently, parking for Saturday, Oct. 26 is sold out. To avoid surcharges when purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster, buy your tickets directly from the National Zoo at the Visitor Center from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.

Must Do: Come dressed in your best Halloween costume, and don’t forget to see the animals! With so many treat stations, it can be easy to forget that you’re at the zoo.

Many of the animal exhibits will be open, and zoo keepers will be spread throughout the park giving talks.

The Fine Print: Boo at the Zoo is held Oct. 25, 26, and 27. Zoo gates open promptly at 5:30 p.m., and the event runs until 8:30 p.m. The zoo is closed to the public, as this event is only open to those who purchase tickets. General admission is $30, and parking is $10. If you are a member of the National Zoo, tickets are $20 and $5 for parking. Ages 2 and under are free. Zoo entrances from Rock Creek Parkway and Harvard Street will be closed. The Connecticut Avenue entrance will be open for guests with a parking pass. Both the Connecticut Avenue and Harvard Street entrances will be open for pedestrians.

Pumpkin Picking, Corn Maze and More at Crumland Farms

7612 Willow Road

Frederick, MD 21702

Why Go: Delve into the spirit of fall with a day trip to Crumland Farms! With a pumpkin patch, hayride, corn maze, animals, corn cannons, pedal carts, giant slides, fall market and more, there is no limit to what you and your family can do. Once the sun sets, experience the corn maze after dark or test your nerves with a hayride through the haunted woods or a tour of the haunted barn.

Insider Tip: The hayride to the pumpkin patch is free, but unless the demand is high enough it will only run on weekends.

Must Do: Don’t miss Halloween on the Farm! This event will be held Sunday, Oct. 27 from 1 – 5 p.m. Admission is $9 per person, and children 2 and under are free. Dress in costume to enjoy all of the farm offerings, including the corn maze, crafts, games, and even trick-or-treating.

The Fine Print: Admission to the pumpkin patch is free. The corn maze is $9 per person and includes pedal carts, moochoo train, giant slide, and giant tricycles. Children 2 and under are free. Pumpkins cost $.50 per pound. The corn cannon costs $1 for three shots. The pumpkin patch is open Monday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. through Nov. 2. The corn maze is open Monday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 2. Last tickets for the maze are sold a half an hour before closing. After dark activities include a Haunted Hayride, a walk through the Corrupted Corn, a tour of the Haunted Barn, and the Starlight Corn Maze. Each attraction costs $10, and gates open at 7 p.m. These attractions are not recommended for children under 13. All after dark activities are held on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 2.

Nightmare Manor Family Night

1024 Fingerboard Road

Ijamsville, MD

Why Go: Enter into Nightmare Manor if you dare! Although this haunted house is usually set up to terrify older kids and adults, the Manor is open once a month for a lights-on, family fun night. Roast s’mores over the bonfire, don a magical ring to ward off evil as your kids explore the haunted house, fire at the paintball shooting range, participate in a bungee run, see fire dancers and more!

Insider Tip: Avoid standing in long lines at the Manor and buy tickets ahead of time on the website. Although this is a lights-on event, bring your flashlight to use outside the Manor. And come hungry—every kid receives a free s’mores kit.

Must Do: Don’t miss the behind the scenes tour to see just how they make the Manor so scary. “Kids really appreciate it,”said Kirk Davis, Director of Nightmare Manor. “They don’t want to be scared but they like seeing how all of our pneumatics and special effects work.”

The Fine Print: Family Night is Nov. 1, and doors open at 7 p.m. Ticket sales on location begin at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $25, and include all activities, as well as a s’mores kit. This event is best for kids aged 5-15.

“Eye Spy” Halloween Train

Cabin John Regional Park

7400 Tuckerman Lane

Bethesda, MD 20817

Why Go: Enjoy a kid-friendly Halloween train ride through the woods at Cabin John Regional Park. A perfect Halloween activity for kids 8 and younger, riders can help spy Halloween friends hiding along the tracks. Admission includes an “Eye Spy” card so kids can mark which friends they spot along the way. The park also provides Halloween movies, and encourages costumes.

Insider Tip: Have kids older than 8? Check out the Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park. This scarier train is perfect for older kids, and runs 6–9 p.m. each scheduled night (see dates below). Admission and ticket information is listed below. Admission includes the train, carousel and movie theater, which shows scary flicks each night.

Must Do: Get to the park early, or plan to stay after the train ride. There is so much to enjoy at this park, especially on a fall day, including the Adventure Playground and numerous sports fields.

The Fine Print: Both trains run every 30 minutes, and are open through Oct. 30. The “Eye Spy” train will be open from 3 – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 – 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission for each train is $5 plus a can of food, which will be donated. Tickets may be purchased at www.parkpass.org, under “Programs and Activities,” and then Special Events. The trains cannot run on wet tracks, so be sure to call (301-765-8670) the day you plan to go to ensure conditions are suitable.

Great Country Farms Pumpkin Chunkin’

18780 Foggy Bottom Road

Bluemont, VA 20135

Why Go: Don’t know just how to dispose of that leftover jack-o-lantern? Tired of it rotting on your porch for days, or even weeks after Halloween? Then take your old jack-o-lantern to Great Country Farms for its annual Pumpkin Chunkin’! Smash your old pumpkin yourself using the Silo Drop or the Zip Wire Sploosh, or add it to the Pumpkin Drop Zone for an upside down “fireworks display.” These pumpkins will be dropped from a 40-foot lift over the parking lot for a true pumpkin explosion.

Insider Tip: There’s an online deal for $8 tickets the weekend of Nov. 2 and 3. Tickets include all pumpkin chunkin’ events, plus the corn maze, farm animal visit, putt putt golf, pedal carts and more. Plus, adults receive a Farm Flight Wine Tasting from Bluemont Vineyards.

Must Do: Don’t miss the Pumpkin Drop Zone (specific times listed below). “The sounds of AWE are the best during the drop zone,”  Kate Zurschmeide of Great Country Farms said. “It is just too funny.”

The Fine Print: The event runs from Nov. 2 - 5, and is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. CSA, Fan Members, Military, and children under 2 are free. The cost is $10 per child, and $12 for adults. Don’t have your own pumpkin to chunk? Great Country Farms provides a pumpkin with admission, or you can even pick one from the patch to smash. The Pumpkin Drop Zone can be viewed at 12, 2 and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 12:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.


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