Metro Weekly

Halloween in DC: A Guide to the Best LGBTQ Events

Every spooktacular party, costume contest, and high-heeled race this coming Halloweek

17th Street High Heel Race — Photo: Ward Morrison

Some people like to dress up and get spooky as often as possible. And those people just might be the only ones who love a Hump Day Halloween, with the full week of shows and shenanigans it brings. In any case, this year promises to be all systems go from the start, as the opening Halloweekend coincides with Howard University’s Homecoming. Go Bisons! And bears, pigs, and peacocks, oh my!

Speaking of bears, the Green Lantern hosts its first of two Halloween costume contests Friday, Oct. 26, after midnight, sponsored by SkinTightUSA with a prize “valued at over $500,” as part of a Pre-Halloween shindig (with a $5 cover) featuring DJ JerrBear and host D’Manda Martini aka Captain Green Lantern 2018. Cobalt stages a $1,000 costume contest as part of a Fresh Fridays Dawn of the Dead party ($10) with DJ Sean Morris upstairs and DJ Madscience in the lounge. Meanwhile, the popular Dacha Beer Garden transform into the Dacha Fear Garden, with special prizes given out to the best costumes every day throughout the holiday.

Ella Fitzgerald and her “Witches of Illusion” beckon the spirited to Ziegfeld’s/Secrets on Saturday, Oct. 27, for “Dragula’s Haunted Rave-yard” ($10), full of showy queens, even showier boys, DJ Steve Henderson, and a contest at midnight promising $1,000 for best costumes. There’s $500 on the line at Number Nine as part of a Halloween Party hosted by KC B Yonce with the DJ duo BacK2bACk. Say Halloqueen at Trade for a special CTRL QWERTY party with DJs Dvonne, Jeff Prior, Adam Koussari, and Claudia and a $100 costume contest at midnight hosted by Donna Slash. More queens will be flocking to the Duplex Diner for “Broken Heel,” the official Miss Adams Morgan Pageant After Party ($10), where DJ Tanner will be spinning and bartenders will be “Squeeze”ing $8 specials until you’re drunk or they develop carpal tunnel — whichever comes first.

Other Saturday night highlights include DMV Deep’s “U Hell” party ($10 after 11 p.m.) at U Street Music Hall is an underground dance music party with DJ duo Rush Plus and newer house/techno DJs Saad Ashraf, Luke Andy, and Khalifeh, plus a costume contest at 11:30 p.m. (The prize is a year’s worth of shows); a $1,000 costume contest at Cobalt a la the Cherry Fund’s Cherry Horror party with DJs Paulo Pacheco and Sean Morris; Creep, a costume party with drag darlings Pussy Noir, DIVOID, and Jane Saw, and the DJs from Sleaze and fellow queer collective The NeedlExchange, at an as-still undisclosed warehouse location; and Uproar‘s Fright Night party with spooky videos courtesy of DJ Travis Island (aka VJ Tre).

Across the river on Saturday, Freddie’s Beach Bar throws a party ($5) that starts with drag at 8 p.m., continues with a $100 costume contest at 10 p.m., and ends with karaoke and music by Sexy Lexi. Meanwhile, the Majestic Diva Lounge presents the Best Latin Halloween Party ($15) (also offered Tuesday, Oct. 30) with a contest at midnight granting $500 for best costume.

Come Monday, Oct. 29, if you’re getting the itch to witch, Shaw’s Tavern offers an all-things-Wicked coven with trivia, karaoke, and a watch party for the NBC special celebrating 15 years of the Broadway blockbuster. For something a little witchier, the Dew Drop Inn in Brookland plays host to the new horror-themed drag show/dance party BratWorst’s Bat Ball with Geneva Confectionn, Buhnana Gunz, Desiree Dik, JaxKnife Complex, and Iris Honeydew, plus a special prize for scariest costume.

On Tuesday, everyone will convene on 17th Street for the High Heel Race at 9 p.m. From there, you could head to the race’s starting line for the official after party 2000 Maniacs ($5) at Cobalt with DJ Tracy Young on the main dance floor and DJ Keenan Orr in the Lounge. You could also stumble a few blocks east to Number Nine for a party with DJ Chord or to Trade for a party with DJ Joann Fabrixx and a bevy of heel-slingers including host Geneva Confectionn, Bratworst, Sippi Galore, and Sigma Freud.

If you’re still standing the next day, get pumped, you’re at the hump — and just in time to do the time warp. Nellie’s toasts the holiday with a Rocky Horror Halloween party featuring a sing/dance-along with the Absolutely Snatched Wednesdays queens plus evening host Brooklyn Heights, a costume contest at 11 p.m. with prizes including a $250 grand prize, and drink specials including $6 Absolut mixes and “Red Bull Blood Bags.”

Trade leans into the holiday with the “Queering Halloween” Womxn Crush Wednesday happy hour at 6 p.m., later ushering in a special “Hell House” edition of Church with a $100 costume contest hosted by Pussy Noir and a cavalcade of talent on tap, from drag acts Domingx and Bombalicious Eklaver, to DJs Alex DB, “Rev. Jesse Jackson,” and “Wicked Witch of the Wessthedj.”

All Hallows Eve also finds Ziegfeld’s/Secrets opening its doors for the midweek special “Wicked Divas and Killer Cocks” ($10), with a show hosted by Kristina Kelly, a midnight costume contest with $500 in prizes, and dancing to DJ Steve Henderson. Green Lantern turns to tricks with host Gladys Kravitz and treats with DJ Darryl Strickland and performers Sony and Brian Hutson, plus a $200 costume contest at 11 p.m. At A League of Her Own and Pitchers, patrons dressed in costume might get a free drink — or even better, a gift certificate — from a bartender per the complex’s Bartenders’ Choice Costume Contest. Shaw’s Tavern offers a Halloween Dance Party featuring karaoke and a costume contest at 9 p.m. with a $200 prize with host Kristina Kelly and DJ Jill Parson. Cobalt offers a $500 costume contest at midnight, after a Twitches show with special guest Joey Gallagher aka “National Bearded Queen 2018.”

Finally, Freddie’s has drag bingo at 8 p.m., a costume contest at 10 p.m., and a Skare-E-Okie contest at 11 p.m., with music from DJ Unicorn Killer. Boo!

For more info on these and other area bars, including addresses and phone numbers, visit

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