Photo by Julia Raasch / Unsplash

This Week’s Events for the Whole Family

Ellen Howes
Ellen Howes

Table of Contents

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We’ve curated your list of activities to check out this week around Northern Virginia. Lean into the fall festivities at one of the many festivals happening in the area, or explore something new at the Natural History Museum, the Swedish Embassy, or George Washington’s Mount Vernon!

From early trick-or-treating to puppet shows, and monster mashes to mad scientists, here’s your list of 9 family-friendly things to do now through October 23:

Play Date at the National Museum of Natural History: Colorful Corals

A bright coral reef with small fish gathering in the center of the image.
Image via

Join NMNH for a special family play date with museum educators! This event is open to all ages, but designed with early learners in mind. Children can learn all about the coral reefs, the tiny animals that help build the reefs, create their own artwork inspired by coral reefs, and look up close at coral specimens from the museum’s collection.

When: Tuesday, 10/18 from 10:30am-12pm.
Price: Free, registration not required.
Address: 1st Floor, Sant Ocean Hall Explorer Theater at the Natural History Museum, 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560.
Find out more on their website.

Hot Dogs, S’mores, Wagon Ride & Campfire at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Marshmallows roasting above a campfire.
Photo by Leon Contreras via Unsplash.

Enjoy a turkey hot dog supper roasted over the campfire and a brisk wagon ride through the Rocky Run stream valley! Learn about Ellanor C. Lawrence and discover the area’s local and natural history. Hot dogs and s’mores are provided; bring your own drinks and sides.

When: Wednesday, 10/19 from 6pm-7:30pm.
Price: Tickets are $12 for both children and adults. The event page notes that this is appropriate for kids ages 4 and up.
Address: 5040 Walney Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151
Learn more and register here.

Monster Mash Trick or Treat at Sterling Community Center

A parent trick-or-treating with their child during the day. The child is dressed up as Snow White.
Photo by Haley Phelps via Unsplash.

Try on your Halloween costume early and trick-or-treat indoors at Sterling Community Center! Local nonprofits will run stations with crafts, candy, and activities.

When: Friday, 10/21 from 6:30pm-8pm.
Price: Admission is one canned good per trick-or-treater. Free for the rest of the family.
Address: 120 Enterprise Street, Sterling, VA 20164.
Find out more here.

Not-Too-Scary Haunted Trail

Franklin Park Arts Center in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Image via

Bring the family for a one-of-a-kind progressive storytelling event at Franklin Park Arts Center! The Halloween story unfolds as you walk along the Halloween Trail and meet actors along the way in short vignettes. This year’s story is about a cast of characters who are having a bit of trouble with their “scariness” — like a witch who can’t cast spells because she can’t cook or a vegetarian vampire! This not-too-scary event is appropriate for everyone ages 5 and up.

When: Friday, 10/21 and Saturday, 10/22 every 15 minutes between 7pm-8:30pm. You must sign up for a time slot when purchasing tickets.
Price: $5/attendee
Address: 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, VA
Sign up for a time slot here.

Fall Fest at Springfield Town Center

A child in a Halloween costume holding a decorated jack-o-lantern.
Photo by Julia Raasch via Unsplash

Join Springfield Town Center for their Fall Fest on October 22! Stroll through dozens of exhibitors and vendors and enjoy family-friendly fall activities like pumpkin decorating, live music, and a magic show! There will also be character performances of some beloved Halloween characters like the Sanderson Sisters, Beetlejuice, and Jack and Sally. All ages are welcome and family-friendly costumes are encouraged!

When: Saturday, 10/22 from 11am-5pm.
Price: Free
Address: 6500 Springfield Mall, Springfield, VA 22150. The Fall Fest will be held in the parking lot outside of the Main Entrance near Restaurant Row (near the Yard House and Maggiano’s).
Find out more here.

Halloween Family Fun Day at Reston Community Center

Young children in Halloween costumes playing at the Reston Community Center.
Image via

Dress up in your favorite family-friendly costumes and enjoy an afternoon of fun for little ones (children up to age 8)! Activities include music from Peter McCory, famous one-man-band, and a “Monster Madness” puppet show by Bob Brown’s Puppets, and plenty of games.

When: Saturday, 10/22 from 12pm-2pm.
Price: Free, but registration is required.
Address: 2310 Colts Neck Rd, Reston, VA 20191.
Register on their website here.

Family Costume Party at the Children’s Science Center

A family dressed in Pirates of the Caribbean Halloween costumes explore the Children's Science Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
Image via

Join the Children’s Science Center for a Family Costume Party! Enjoy the Haunted Lab after hours and wear your favorite costume. The whole family can enjoy not-so-spooky activities, including creating ooey-gooey Frankenslime, bugging out in the Bio Zone, or watching as one of the center’s mad scientists (STEM Educators) dissects a real sheep brain! Prizes will be awarded for creative and original ideas, so dress up and show up for a frightfully good time!

When: Saturday, 10/22 from 5pm-7pm.
Price: Free for children 2 and under, $15 for all other attendees.
Address: 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA 22033.
See more and register here.

Kids Euro Fest at the House of Sweden

A children's puppet performer from Sweden holds a cuddly dog puppet onstage.
Image via

Join the Embassy of Sweden and Kids Euro Fest for a day of creativity, imagination, and fun. Enjoy a puppet show by Swedish puppet theater group Dockteatern Tittut, get creative with arts and crafts, experience our interactive children's room and exhibitions, and, of course, have a Swedish fika.

When: Saturday, 10/22 from 10am-2pm. The puppet show performances are at 11am and 1pm and are recommended for children 2-6.
Price: Free. Registration is encouraged but not required.
Address: 2900 K street, NW Washington, DC 20007.
Register on their Eventbrite page.

Fall Harvest Festival at Mount Vernon

A living historian walks a horse up a path at George Washington's Mount Vernon.
Image via

Visit Mount Vernon for a fall celebration featuring 18th-century farming demonstrations. Meet General Washington, purchase food freshly made in an 18th-century-style oven, learn about 18th-century textile production, make your way through a straw bale maze, and more!

When: Saturday, 10/22 and Sunday, 10/23 from 9am-5pm.
Price: Free for Mount Vernon members. Tickets are free for children 5 and under, $13 for children 6-11, and $26 for all other attendees.
Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121.
See a full list of activities and purchase tickets here.


Ellen Howes

Ellen is a bookworm, runner, and proud auntie. She makes her home in DC and can usually be found somewhere in Rock Creek Park.