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The residents of N. Jackson Street in Ashton Heights have again outdone themselves.

The street, which traditionally hosts some of the most elaborate Halloween decorations in Arlington, scaled back its festivities during the pandemic but does not seem to be holding back this year, with witches, pumpkins, skeletons and ghosts galore.

“Halloween is a treasured tradition in our community,” Scott Sklar, president of the Ashton Heights Civic Association, told ARLnow in 2020.

Those who want to view the spooky street in its full frightful foliage can walk the blocks between Wilson Blvd and N. Pershing Drive, which are not far from both the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations.

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Arlington police and Virginia State Police on the Clarendon nightlife detail (staff photo)

Arlington County police are organizing a Halloween-themed anti-drunk-driving event.

The “Sober Ride outreach event” is being held Saturday night in Clarendon, starting around 8 p.m., and will block a portion of N. Hudson Street near Wilson Blvd.

More from an ACPD press release:

There is nothing more frightening on Halloween than an impaired driver. Don’t turn the holiday’s scares into real life dangers by getting behind the wheel after drinking. To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, the Arlington County Police Department, in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), is hosting a Halloween anti-drunk driving event to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills. This free event is open to the public and will take place on Saturday, October 29th at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard, beginning at 8:00 p.m.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2016 and 2020, there were 129 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night nationwide (6:00 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m. November 1). Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (68%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2020. That’s why the Arlington County Police Department is reminding community members that in addition to planning the perfect costume, your celebratory plans should also include a sober ride home.

Celebrate with a Plan

Don’t let drunk driving haunt your celebrations – if you plan to drink, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:

  • Remember it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
  • The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2022 Halloween SoberRide program is offering free rides home, in partnership with Lyft, from 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 until 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 30.
  • If you see a suspected impaired driver on the roadway, report to your local law enforcement. To report a suspected impaired driver in Arlington County, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit the NHTSA website.

Road Closure

N. Hudson Street between Wilson Boulevard and 13th Street N. will be closed from approximately 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. to accommodate this event.

Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs in the area. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

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Halloween decorations on N. Jackson Street in 2021 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Halloween 2022 is just days away and if you’re new-ish to Arlington you might be wondering: when do kids trick or treat around here?

Unlike some local jurisdictions in other parts of the country, Arlington does not designate a day and time for trick-or-treating. Instead, the annual, costumed candy-gathering spree traditionally takes place on Halloween (Oct. 31), starting just before sunset (around 6 p.m.).

The door knocking typically ends around 8 p.m., though some stragglers will remain out later.

This year, Halloween is taking place on a Monday, so drivers and trick-or-treaters alike should be extra careful on the roads during the evening commute. Compounding the danger, rain is in the forecast for Monday.

Here are some general tips for planning your Halloween evening, from past years:

  • Children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Choose a neighborhood or street you’re familiar with or is known for getting in the spirit.
  • Houses with the outside lights are the ones expecting and ready for trick-or-treaters.
  • Expect the older, non-costumed crowds later in the evening.
  • If you’re passing out treats, turn the outside lights off when you run out.

Arlington County put out the following press release about Halloween celebrations this year.

Ghouls, ghosts, and goblins – oh my!

The days are growing shorter, the temperatures are dropping, and the leaf trucks are gearing up to start their collection – another spooky season is here in Arlington County.

With Halloween creeping around the corner, we’ve compiled some ways to make the most of your trick-or-treating, frightening fun, and safe spookiness in Arlington.

Trick-or-Treating

While Arlington doesn’t have set hours for trick-or-treating, you should expect the candy crusade to coincide with sunset, which is just after 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022.

As Arlington’s younger population takes to the streets, keep in mind these trick-or-treating tips from our friends at Arlington County Police Department:

  • See and be seen! Select bright costumes, add reflective tape and/or carry flashlights and glow sticks.
  • Plan your trick-or-treat route in advance. Stick to familiar neighborhoods and well-lit streets. For those on the Nextdoor app, check out its annual Treat Map, which allows people to share how they will be celebrating Halloween – whether it’s decorating one’s home or taking part in the neighborhood trick-or-treating by giving out candy.
  • Never send children out alone. Younger children should be with a trusted adult. Ensure older children take friends and stay together.
  • Walk on sidewalks and cross at corners, using traffic signals and/or crosswalks.
  • Motorists are encouraged to slow down, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn on your headlights earlier in the evening to spot children from greater distances.

The press release goes on to urge those who are feeling ill to stay at home, given that the pandemic still ongoing and other respiratory viruses like flu and RSV are circulating in Virginia.

“Skip the Halloween party if you aren’t feeling well,” the release says. Hand washing is also encouraged.

“If you’re out trick-or-treating, bring hand sanitizer,” the county wrote. “If you’re giving out candy, wash your hands frequently.”

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Friday is your chance to dress the dog as a cute pup-kin for Rosslyn’s annual Howl-O-Ween.

The second annual Halloween-themed dog-centric event is set to happen this Friday, Oct. 28, from 3:30-5:30 p.m at the Gateway Park Interim Dog Park in Rosslyn.

“Dog costumes are strongly encouraged,” per the event’s website.

There will be vendors, activities like pet portraits and dog trick or treating, and pup-friendly giveaways like puppuccinos. There will also be a raffle to win a week of doggy daycare at Playful Pack in Rosslyn and a $100 gift card to Open Road or SALT, both located at 1201 Wilson Blvd.

Then, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a dog parade to show off that doggy Halloween costume. Winners will be named in four categories: spookiest, cutest, most unique, and “community choice.” Each winner’s humans will receive a gift card to a Rosslyn restaurant and some neighborhood swag.

To finish off the evening, there will be a special reserved “bark section” for the final movie of Rosslyn’s fall cinema series at Gateway Park. That movie, of course, is dog-themed — 2002’s Scooby-Doo. It will start just after sunset, around 7 p.m.

All of this is being put on the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the Rosslyn Dog Owners Group (R-DOGS), the nonprofit that supports Rosslyn’s dog park.

This is the second time this event is being held “following the success and positive response received from 2021,” per a Rosslyn BID spokesperson.

Gateway Park Interim Dog Park was Rosslyn’s first dog park when it opened in early 2021. It’s technically “temporary” until a Park Master Plan is developed and funded, though that may not happen for a while.

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Pumpkins outside Whole Foods in Clarendon in 2011 (staff photo)

There’s a nip in the morning air, the leaves are starting to turn, sweaters have been moved to the top dresser drawers, and the citizenry of Arlington is switching from cold brews to hot coffees.

Yes, it’s pumpkin season. And with Halloween less than three weeks away, we were wondering just how many pumpkins the average Arlingtonian buys.

Just one to display proudly? A dozen to line your walkway? None because seasonal decorating isn’t your jam?

Yes, inflation may be hitting our pocketbooks, but pumpkins, despite their size, remain in the mid-single-digits in price at the grocery store. It almost seems like a bargain.

So how many are you buying this year?

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Dracula returns to Synetic Theater in Crystal City next month (photo courtesy of Synetic Theater)

Just in time for the spooky season, Crystal City’s Synetic Theater is debuting a “bloody” adaptation of Dracula.

The two-decade-old, local non-profit theater is bringing one of the world’s most famous horror stories to its stage next month, with shows starting on October 13. The show is set to run Thursday through Sunday through Nov. 6.

A special Halloween performance on Monday, Oct. 31 is planned. Additionally, on Oct. 28, Synetic is hosting its annual Halloween party Vampire Ball, which will include a performance of Dracula plus food, dancing, physical theater, and themed cocktails.

Located inside the Crystal City Shops near the Metro station, Synetic Theater first opened in the neighborhood in 2010 after previously making its home in Rosslyn. It’s known for its physical and nearly wordless theater.

This adaptation of Dracula will adhere to Synetic’s well-known style, something co-founder and the show’s director Paata Tsikurishvili believes will help tell the 125-year-old story of the “vicious vampire.”

“With minimal dialogue in our storytelling, this production relies heavily on visuals, music, physicality, and most importantly, audience interpretation,” Tsikurishvili told ARLnow about what makes their version of Dracula unique. “Whether it’s Shakespeare or Stoker, Synetic provides room for audiences to find their own meaning in our productions.”

This will be the third time that Synetic Theater has adapted Dracula, with previous performances in 2005 and 2009, and will include a number of actors reprising their roles, including Dan Istrate as Count Dracula.

Tsikurishvili said the 2022 version will have “significant updates to the costumes, choreography, and set design” but the set will continue to be “very minimalist” to allow “audiences to fully focus on the actors, movement, and story.”

It’s been something of a rough go for the venerable physical theater company over the past few years.

In late 2018, Synetic nearly lost its lease at 1800 S. Bell Street, but building owner JBG Smith backtracked and agreed to allow Synetic to stay in the building until at least the end of this year. The pandemic happened just over a year later, forcing Synetic to shut down performances. It was only late last summer when the theater got back into its space and started doing regular performances again.

With all that is happening in the world today, Tsikurishvili told ARLnow that showcasing the story of Dracula now is “very fitting.”

“When you think about the moral of Stoker’s story — it’s about confronting darkness, but not alone,” he said. “In this season and in this show, we explore otherness and what it takes to push differences aside and work together against evil.”

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The fall beers on store shelves are not the only sign heralding the imminent arrival of spooky season.

A Spirit Halloween store opened in Bailey’s Crossroads last week, the first of the seasonal chain’s stores to open within a relatively short drive of Arlington.

With it feeling a bit more like early fall outside, with most of you likely suffering summer fatigue after the recent heat wave, and with pumpkin spice season kicking off next week at Dunkin’ and elsewhere, we thought it might be a good time to list some of the Halloween stores near Arlington.

There may be others we’re missing here — if so, please list them in the comments.

Currently open

Spirit Halloween (5800 Crossroads Center Way, Bailey’s Crossroads)
The shelves might not yet be fully stocked, but it’s already Halloween in the former A.C. Moore space next to Old Navy.

Party City (5522 Leesburg Pike, Bailey’s Crossroads)
Unlike the somewhat disconcerting temporary Spirit Halloween locations inhabiting the dessicated husks of dead stores — which, come to think of it, seems on-brand — Party City is open year-round, hawking various party supplies, before stocking up for Halloween.

Opening soon (as of Aug. 12)

Spirit Halloween (3536 S. Jefferson Street, Bailey’s Crossroads)
Are you sensing a theme here? Bailey’s Crossroads seems to be the hub of big-box Halloween retail for Northern Virginia’s inner suburbs. This location is a short walk away from the aforementioned Party City and a mile away from the currently-open Spirit Halloween. Speaking of short walks, the store is a brisk 10 minute walk from Arlington’s Wakefield High School. For what it’s worth.

Spirit Halloween (7950 Tysons Corner Center, Tysons)
For those in the far northern reaches of Arlington and those taking Metro, this is your Spirit Halloween store of choice. Now, if you’re wondering why we’re filling the text here with random factoids, it’s because we realized too late that no one tried to call Spirit Halloween HQ (in beautiful-ish Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey) and ask when the actual opening date of these two locations will be. But don’t worry, we saved the best random factoid for last. The former Lord & Taylor store that this Spirit Halloween location is temporarily occupying is… wait for it… haunted. Specifically, paranormal activity was reported around the ladies restroom over the years, our sister site FFXnow reported. Plus, after Lord & Taylor closed in 2020, the vast retail space served as a mass vaccination site. Now if that isn’t a recipe for a successful and legitimately creepy Halloween store, who knows what is.

Happy two-and-a-half-months until Halloween!

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Things that go bump in the night have resumed their haunting of Arlington, including the famed N. Jackson Street in Ashton Heights, ready to scare trick-or-treaters.

And some decor ARLnow found is frighteningly topical. On N. Vermont Street a skeleton can be seen holding a sign that reads, “I did my own resurch.”

The pandemic caused residents of N. Jackson Street to rein in their usually elaborate displays in 2020, but this year neighbors along Arlington’s favorite street for trick-or-treating have filled their porches and yards with ghouls and goblins ahead of Halloween with gusto.

“Dismembered” body parts hang from trees, while skeletons frolic on swing sets and drive cars, and busts of Kiss frontman Gene Simmons — in full “demon” makeup — give one porch a retro demonic edge.

Another home in the 100-year-old neighborhood blew the competition out of the water with a pirate scene dredged up from Davy Jones’ Locker, complete with cannons.

Know of any other elaborate Halloween displays around town? Post some photos in the comments.

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ACPD SoberRide (Photo courtesy of Washington Regional Alcohol Program)

(Updated, 10/29/21, 10:10 a.m.) There will be free Lyft rides in Arlington and across the region this Halloween weekend.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is again partnering with the rideshare company for the SoberRide program to provide free rides this upcoming Saturday (Oct. 30) night to prevent drunk and impaired driving.

Starting at 10 p.m., residents ages 21 and older will be able to order a Lyft ride up to $15 using a promo code that will be posted on SoberRide’s website. The rides will be available for the first 1,500 people who enter the code and until 4 a.m. the next day.

The service is being provided as “a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday,” according to a press release.

Between 2015 and 2019, there were 126 drunk-driving fatalities nationwide on Halloween night, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That accounts for more than a third of all motor vehicles fatalities on Halloween night. Sixty-two percent of those deaths were adults between the ages of 21 and 34.

In 2019, more than 1,200 people in the D.C. area utilized SoberRide and got a free ride during the Halloween weekend (the program was canceled last year due to the pandemic).

Additionally, the Arlington County Police Department event that was previously scheduled for Friday night (Oct. 29), has been “postponed” due to inclement weather.

The interactive anti-drunk driving event” was a partnership between Arlington County Police Department and WRAP for an “at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Hudson Street at 8 p.m.

“The event includes an interactive component to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills, a pledge to take a sober ride home and distribution of educational materials,” ACPD spokesperson Ashley Savage said.

Representatives from WRAP were also going to be there prompting the message that “buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

“All drunk driving incidents are 100-percent preventable, WRAP’s teaming-up with the Arlington County Police Department to highlight the impact alcohol can have on motor skills including driving is prevention-defined,” WRAP President Kurt Gregory Erickson said. “The goals of this week’s collaborative anti-drunk driving event are to showcase said impact, convince Halloween celebrants to plan ahead as to how they’ll safely get home at the end of an evening when alcohol was involved and to increase awareness of alternatives to drunk driving like WRAP’s Halloween SoberRide campaign.”

Over the last six years — 2015 to 2020 — there have been 14 total crashes in Arlington on Halloween night, with four being alcohol-related, according to ACPD. During that time there have been eight driving under the influence (DUI) arrests on Halloween.

“The Arlington County Police Department is reminding the community that nothing is scarier on Halloween night than an impaired driver,” said the department.

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Elementary schoolers trick-or-treat in Courthouse
Local kids trick-or-treating in Courthouse in 2013 (staff photo)

If you’re a long-time local with kids, you know the drill. But for others, a refresher on Arlington’s Halloween habits may be in order.

Unlike some local jurisdictions in other parts of the country, Arlington does not designate a day and time for trick-or-treating. Instead, the annual, costumed candy-gathering spree traditionally takes place on Halloween (Oct. 31), starting just before sunset (around 6 p.m.).

The door knocking typically ends around 8 p.m., though some stragglers will remain out later.

This year, Halloween is taking place on a Sunday, so trick-or-treaters will be unencumbered by evening rush hour traffic. But Arlington County is still urging caution for anyone out that night.

Here are some general tips for planning your Halloween evening, from past years:

  • Children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Choose a neighborhood or street you’re familiar with or is known for getting in the spirit.
  • Houses with the outside lights are the ones expecting and ready for trick-or-treaters.
  • Expect the older, non-costumed crowds later in the evening.
  • If you’re passing out treats, turn the outside lights off when you run out.

Additionally, the Arlington County Police Department recommends that parents check the candy gathered by their kids, and offered the following safety tips.

  • See and be seen! Select bright costumes, add reflective tape and/or carry flashlights and glow sticks.
  • Plan your trick-or-treat route in advance. Stick to familiar neighborhoods and well-lit streets.
  • Never send children out alone. Younger children should be with a trusted adult. Ensure older children take friends and stay together.
  • Walk on sidewalks and cross at corners, using traffic signals and/or crosswalks.
  • Motorists are encouraged to slow down, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn on your headlights earlier in the evening to spot children from greater distances.

With Covid still haunting us, the county also suggested some alternatives to trick-or-treating for those worried about their health. Barring that, “the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible,” the county said.

This year’s Covid-related recommendations were a bit less stringent than last year.

“If you’re planning to hand out candy this year, it is recommended that you stand at least 6 feet away from the candy bowl, consider wearing a mask (especially if you are unvaccinated), and encourage kids to choose sweets one at a time,” said a county press release. “When trick-or-treating, [the Virginia Dept. of Health] encourages staying outside, bringing hand sanitizer, and for unvaccinated children to wear a mask (or have one with them in case they visit crowded locations).”

Arlington is offering a few kid-friendly, pre-Halloween activities this year, including a “ghosts campfire” at Fort C.F. Smith Park (2411 24th Street N.) set for Friday evening and a “fear factor” event at Long Branch Nature Center (625 S. Carlin Springs Road) Sunday at noon.

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Black cauldron cake at Rogi (photo via Rogi/Facebook)

Double, double toil and trouble; fillings stuffed in a crusty dough bubble.
Rogi’s in Ballston has Halloween treats baked, like Hogwarts pierogies and black cauldron cake.

Pierogi restaurant Rogi has launched a new lineup of seasonal offerings, with a witchcraft and wizardry theme, at its Ballston Quarter location (4238 Wilson Blvd).

Until Halloween (Saturday, Oct. 31), the dumpling-centric eatery is hosting a special line-up of colored lemon-cake-based treats around the four Hogwarts houses from Harry Potter, which sort of misses the Harry Potter zeitgeist by a couple years but is still endearing.

Rogi is also offering a “Boy Who Lived” pierogi stuffed with cheese, garlic, herbs and parsley. That and a “Sorting Hat” pierogi are each $9.99.

Rogi also has small devil’s food cakes styled as black cauldrons, complete with marshmallow filling, for $7.

More on the Halloween-themed offerings, from a press release:

Muggles can order the following online for delivery or in-person. Wizards may use the standard owl or fireplace delivery system. While supplies last.

  • Black Cauldron Cakes: Devil’s Food Cake with Dark “Magic” Chocolate and Impossible Marshmallow Filling $7
  • Sorting Hat Pierogi: Lemon Cake batter in Traditional Hogwarts House Colors. True to the actual “Sorting Hat,” we have no idea what House you will get! Served with Lemon Golden Snitch Curd. $9.99
  • The Boy Who Lived Pierogi: Stretchy cheese with garlic, herbs and parsley will cast a powerful spell over whoever eats this pierogi. Eat a pierogi, destroy a Horcrux! $9.99
  • DIY Magic Cocktail Kits: For both older wizards and younger wizards. Powders, potions and magic dust help create 3 different drinks that delight simple Muggles by changing color, sparkling and creating the perfect traditional Hogsmeade Butterbeer. Written in Fairie blood on an edible spell scroll, remember the recipes by eating the scroll! (Alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages to mix not included. Each “Spell” will create 3-4 drinks, for 9-12 drinks total) $25
  • Triple Chocolate Monster Cookies: A slight miscalculation by Chef/Wizard Ed brought these triple Chocolate cookies to life. Help us eat them before they eat us! 3 for $7

Rogi is open at the mall from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

Photo via Rogi/Facebook

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