Even though the leaves may be falling, the National Capital Region is just getting started with a fun new season of cool events, festivals and essential experiences.

Military families stationed here are in store for a quintessential American autumn experience!

Jump Into Fall in the National Capital Region

If you’re ready for a few family-friendly frights, tons of pumpkin spice and fun fall festivals, DC is the place to be!

Run with the Old Guard

October 7; 2018 race bibs sold out

Challenge your endurance and take in the stunning early October foliage with the Army 10 Miler road race. This year’s race is sold out, so this is one to put on your calendars for next fall.

Even if you’re not running, head out to the course with a travel mug of hot cider and your best witty support sign. You’ll be overwhelmed with patriotic feelings watching the runners. There are usually several groups carrying US flags and service flags. Some opt to run the course in full battle rattle.

Boo at the Zoo

October 19-21; tickets $20 FONZ/$30 general public

Families should head over to the National Zoo (Metro Red Line to Woodley Park or Cleveland Station; limited paid parking available on-site) for a fun night of trick-or-treating!

Your ticket gets you access to the entire zoo! You’ll be able to spot often hidden creatures as they wake up for the night. Plus, there will be 40+ stations with treats, activities, games and prizes throughout the zoo.

This event sells out quickly, with parking spaces for Saturday night already booked out by mid-September, so grab your spot early!

Fall into Autumn at Cox Farms

mid-September through November; tickets $6-$20 for ages 2+

Just outside the metro DC area, Cox Farms has been providing families in the region with fun farm experiences for more than 45 years!

The Cox Farms Fall Festival is a major attraction in the area. It runs from mid-September through November. Even with many dates, expect the Festival to be packed on weekends.

Festival-goers can expect a truly unique, and totally iconic, fall experience full of hayrides, farm chores, yummy local foods and tons of kid-friendly activities!

Trick-or-Treat with Washington

October 27; tickets $8 (age 11 and under), $14 (adults)

Grab some sweets where at George’s house in Alexandria! Check out traditional early American fall activities, like barn dances and wool carding. Enjoy some yummy snacks before a costume parade.

For a chance at a prize, come dressed like our original President and First Lady, George and Martha Washington!

Get Scared at Fort Belvoir’s Haunted House

various October dates; ticket $15+

Get ready to scream at what is being called the DMV’s scariest haunted house experience! Head to Fort Belvoir’s Old DFAC building to test your nerves and stretch your vocal chords.

The scares start on October 5 and run through Halloween night. October 27 is a special lights-on event for children. Otherwise, families are advised to leave kids under 10 at home, and even then to use parental discretion.

Tickets are available for purchase online and at the door.

Experience the EU in DC

October 20-November 4; free

The European Union embassies are uniting again in 2018 to share European culture with DC families. Over the last decade, this open house has brought European artists and experiences to the US.

Your kids will love seeing traditional costumes and dances, making regional crafts and sampling the unique cuisine. Check back frequently for updated event details!

Take Your Four-Legged Family to Hillwood

October 27; tickets $0-13

Hillwood House is going to the dogs, quite literally! Bring your canine companion to this stunning mansion with gorgeous grounds for a dog-friendly Halloween celebration.

Dress your pooch for the chance to win a costume prize! Celebrate the season, and your furry friend, with signature cocktails and yummy snacks.

This is a unique event at a historic preserved DC estate.

Take a Stroll with Congressional Souls

October 19, 20, 26, 27; tickets $12+

Stop in and visit with some of America’s leading ladies and gentlemen in their final resting place: Congressional Cemetery. Costumed guides will take you through the cemetery, sharing fun facts and spooky stories about the longtime residents.

A limited quantity of tickets is available for a post-tour period soiree in the Public Vault. You’ll have access to a typically-sealed section of this historic location. And you’ll get to sip period craft cocktails and interact with historic interpreters, too.

Wear sturdy walking shoes and be prepared for rainy weather! Advance ticket purchase is recommended.

Leaf Peep Everywhere

October; generally free, some parks charge admission fees

October and even early November are great times to step outside in and around the Nation’s Capital. The trees are putting on their annual autumn show everywhere you look.

Head out west towards the Shenandoah Valley for stunning mountain views and gorgeous hikes. Great Falls, slightly closer to home, also offers easy to moderate trails near powerful waterfalls.

Even a stroll around the Tidal Basin or along the Potomac will feature the golds and reds of a DC fall.

What is your favorite fall event or experience in the greater DC region? Share a link to your favorites in the comments!



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Meg is a military spouse, teacher, writer, and mom of two MilKids. She is an education blog and coaching/advocacy service focused on military families. Meg's mission is to help families understand and navigate the K-12 world. She provides timely posts, timeless advice, and personal assistance to families with school-aged children. You can find Meg online at megflanagan.com and @MegFlanaganEducation

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