Metro Weekly

Halloween Happenings Around D.C. This Week

Night of the Living Drag at MGM National Harbor, HellBent at the 9:30 Club, scares at AFI Silver, High Heel Race, and more!

17th Street High Heel Race in 2021 – Photo: Ward Morrison

With Halloween on a Monday this year, the 35th Annual High Heel Race on Tuesday, Oct. 25, becomes D.C.’s official kickoff to a full “Halloweek,” including an extra-long Halloween weekend.

Presented by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the HHR festivities commence around 5 p.m. with the closing of 17th Street, although it doesn’t get popping until closer to 8 p.m. and the Parade of Contestants, which lasts until the race itself steps off precisely at 9 p.m. On 17th Street between R and P Streets NW. Free. Visit

Ease into it Tuesday’s race by pampering yourself at The Lyle Hotel, recently designated by Tripadvisor as the “Hottest New Hotel in the U.S.” Formerly known as the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel, the hidden art-deco gem a few blocks northeast of Dupont Circle closed in 2020 and reopened a year later after a thorough renovation and renaming by new owners in the London-based Lore Group.

You can actually bookend your Tuesday evening HHR experience at The Lyle, starting with its “Sole Pop Up Spa,” which will be set up from 3 to 6 p.m., for foot massages, Glitta Fades cocktails, music from DJs, and an artist creating on-site event illustrations for guests — all for $25, with a portion of proceeds going toward the Capital Pride Alliance.

After the race, return to the hotel for “Lyle’s Midnight Brunch,” featuring brunch staples, including the hotel’s signature Fried Chicken and Waffles or Eggs Benedict, pastries, and classic brunch cocktails, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Lyle Hotel is at 1731 New Hampshire NW. Visit

A few days later, start the long holiday weekend with those RuPaul’s Drag Race alum who have been turned into flesh-craving drag zombies for the 11th Annual Night of the Living Drag.

This year’s lineup includes Yvie Oddly as the Boogieman hunting the Souls of Seven Sinful Queens — Aquaria the Sloth, Bosco the Lusting, DeJa Skye the Greedy, Kim Chi the Glutton, Lady Camden the Proud, Rosé the Vain, and Vanessa Vanjie the Wrathful. Friday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. At the Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets are $53 to $261.50. Visit

The next night offers HellBENT, the annual Halloween edition of the 9:30 Club’s regular queer bacchanal, with performances by Pussy Noir, Baphomette and Sirene Noir Jackson, Mari Con Carne, and Pissy, and music spun by DJs Electrox and KS along with the delightfully, deviously demented don behind the night, DJ Lemz. Saturday, Oct. 29. Doors at 10 p.m. Nightclub 9:30, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Visit or call 202-265-0930.


Head up to Silver Spring to catch Halloween on Screen, the AFI Silver Theatre’s annual series launching Friday, Oct. 28, with the 100th-anniversary screening of 1922’s Nosferatu by German silent film master F. W. Murnau, presented with live musical accompaniment by Silent Orchestra. It remains one of the greatest horror films in the history of cinema.

The series continues on Saturday, Oct. 29, with a “Creature Feature”-style interactive screening of Nightmare on Elm Street hosted by local TV legend Count Gore de Vol at 7 p.m., and the return of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live shadowcast performed by Bloody Mayhem Theatrical at 10 p.m.

I Married a Witch (1942), in a new restoration as a toast to its 80th anniversary, screens on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., the original Ghostbusters (1984) screens at 6:45 p.m., and The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut (1981), billed as “the ultimate classic of gothic terror” from Italian maestro Lucio Fulci screens at 9 p.m.

The series concludes Monday, Oct. 31, with Hocus Pocus (1993) at 5 p.m., A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) at 7:15 p.m., and a 45th-anniversary screening of Dario Argento’s classic Suspiria (1977), a “landmark work of cinematic horror,” at 9:30 p.m. The AFI Silver Theatre is at 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $11 to $13 per screening. Visit or call 301-495-6720.

Boulet Brothers
Boulet Brothers

For those who would prefer to get their spook on at home, Tuesday, Oct. 25, is also the day horror streamer Shudder and its parent company AMC Networks debut The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans, an all-stars spinoff of the popular reality competition series. Some of the most popular cast members from Dragula‘s first four seasons will return to compete for the Dragula: Titan crown along with a grand prize of $100,000 and touring headline spot.

The cast features Abhora, Astrud Aurelia, Erika Klash, Evah Destruction, HoSo Terra Toma, Kendra Onixxx, Koco Caine, Melissa Befierce, Victoria Elizabeth Black, and Yovska. Guest judges include actor Harvey Guillen (What We Do In The Shadows), director Justin Simien (Disney’s Haunted Mansion), pop metal princess Poppy, drag superstars Alaska and Katya, and TV host Joe Bob Briggs (The Last Drive-In). Debuts Tuesday, Oct. 25, with new episodes rolling out weekly. Visit

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