Morbid Planet’s Halloween Countdown: Day 2, Washington D.C.

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The Smithsonian Castle on ‘The Mall’ in DC. Picture: Dea Schofield.

Welcome to Morbid Planet’s seven days of Halloween destinations and fun!

To celebrate Halloween, everyone’s favourite morbid day of the year, Morbid Planet is exploring a different city each day and looking at what celebrations, activities and events they offer. We are counting down seven cities and who knows, maybe we will be looking at what your city has to offer next!

Our sixth destination is Washington in D.C..

When you think of Washington DC, you generally think of the laws and governance that come out of it—scary as that can be, you don’t think ‘Halloween.’ Well, if you don’t live in the DC area, you don’t know about the creative mayhem behind the stodgy reputation! It’s a city that’s also known for its music, partying, and rainbow coalition of diversity. Halloween is the time when tourists get to see that the District of Columbia, or DC, residents really know how to have fun.

The Washington area is full of great Halloween events to please you, whatever flag you may fly. While there are numerous haunted houses, Halloween parties, and great museum events for us spook-lovers, I’ve picked three events I think reflect DC’s love of Halloween: The Annual High Heel Race, The Black Cat’s 80’s Mayhem Halloween Party, and a Halloween-themed Pop-up Bar, ‘Death Becomes Us’.

17th Street High Heel Race

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High Reel Race event that I attended in 2016. Picture: Sean Illemsky.

The first time I went to the High Heel Race years ago, I was blown away by the dedication and creativity of the racers. These ‘Heel-Hobbler’ queens know how to have fun and drag you along with them for a raucous event. There is a reason it’s grown its fandom over thirty-two years. It’s not only beloved locally, but people come from all over the world for it. The drag queens love getting their photos taken with spectators.

And this year, the local DC government has gotten involved. From the official Facebook page, here is the mayor’s invite to this renowned event:

Mayor Muriel Bowser is proud to present the 32nd Annual 17th Street High Heel Race on Tuesday, October 30th, 2018.
The High Heel Race is one of Washington, DC most unique events with a rich history of “Crossing The Line Since 1986”. Thousands of spectators pack the Dupont Circle Neighborhood to watch hundreds of costumed drag queens show off their extravagant outfits and race down Historic 17th Street, NW. The race starts at R Street and ends at P Street, but the entire neighborhood will be lively all night! Please note that the event is free and open to the public. Tickets are NOT required, “butt” ([sic]—that typo could not have been accidental!) come on out and join the fun and RSVP to let us know you’re coming!

For more information check out their website.

The Black Cat 80s Mayhem Halloween Dance Party

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Notice a Tim Burton significance at the Black Cat? Picture: Dea Schofield.

The iconic punk and grunge venue, The Black Cat, has been around on 14th Street practically since there were still hookers offering services to lonely lobbyists. Red-light-infamous back in the day, the street is now the trendy place to be for fine cuisine and designer alcohol. The hookers have long-since moved on (or been replaced by ‘escorts’), but the Black Cat sits there still, like a cool, aging ally cat, watching the world change. It’s a great, intimate venue for seeing bands.

Their annual Halloween offering is a fabulous party that honors the darker music and pop culture of the 1980s. This event is so popular that it sells out pretty quickly. The creativity of the partygoers’ costumes as well as the decor is really worth the reasonable price of admission.

Death Becomes Us Pop-Up Pub

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Death Becomes Us Cocktails at PUB. Picture: Karlin Villondo Photography.

Themed Pop-up bars and pubs have become very popular in the DC area (as you might guess, DC is a big drinking town—bars everywhere—and AA meetings on every corner!) From cherry blossoms, to Game of Thrones, there seems to be no end to creative ideas. For Halloween, Average Socialite and The Drink Company have offered this blood-chilling concept:

Welcome to DEATH BECOMES US PUB, a true crime inspired PUB (pop-up bar) in D.C. from Drink Company Decor and cocktails inspired by:

Black Dahlia (1947): The brutal murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947 is regarded as one of the first cases to garner nationwide media attention. Incredibly, the case remains unsolved.
Salem Witch Trials (1690s): This infamous series of trials resulted in the deaths of 20 people — both men and women — for alleged witchcraft in Salem, Mass.
Elizabeth Bathory (16th century): Cited by some as the most prolific female serial killer, this Hungarian noblewoman’s claim to fame is torture and mayhem, including allegedly bathing in the blood of virgins to retain her youth.
Drinks include Pearfect Crime; Covered in Honey and more!”

For more info visit their website.

Well, that is it folks. Stay tuned to see where Morbid Planet heads next for some more Halloween goodness!

Notes: 

  1. seven days of Halloween destinations and fun: Erin Chapman, “Morbid Planet’s Halloween Countdown: Day 7, Vancouver, Canada.,” October 18, 2018, Morbid Planet, accessed October 20, 2018, https://morbidplanet.com/2018/10/18/morbid-planets-halloween-countdown-day-7-vancouver-canada/.

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