Press Club

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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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

0 Comments

Morning Notes

A man rides a personal watercraft in Boundary Channel near Columbia Island Marina (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

APS Enrollment Down — “Despite intensive efforts to get them back, Arlington Public Schools has about 4 percent fewer students in class than it did pre-pandemic, according to new figures. Superintendent Francisco Durán on Oct. 14 said the school system’s official count for the 2021-22 school year is 26,911 students, based on enrollment Sept. 30 that will be submitted to state officials as is required by law. That’s down slightly from the 26,932 students reported on hand at the start of classes in August.” [Sun Gazette]

Update on Metro Woes — “While Metro aims to provide service consistent with the announced basic service plan through the rest of the week, customers should anticipate trains every 15-20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30-40 minutes on all other lines to account for any unplanned disruptions. There is currently no capacity to fill unforeseen gaps, which will result in longer wait times. Crews are working as quickly as possible to put more trains into service.” [WMATA]

County: Update Your Bookmarks — “With the launch of our new website, your favorite page or service has a new home! While we have redirect links for our most visited and discussed pages, we couldn’t do it for all 5,000+ pages. But the content you want is still there!” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Birds Banging into Arlington Windows — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “We’re starting to see a lot of migratory birds come into the shelter, likely due to hitting windows as they fly. But we are here to help! This little Golden-Crowned Kinglet stayed with us overnight before heading off to a licensed rehabber this morning!” [Twitter]

IPO for Local Multinational Company — “Renewable energy storage firm Fluence Energy Inc said on Tuesday it is aiming to fetch a nearly $4 billion valuation in its U.S. initial public offering, as investor interest in such technologies soars alongside growing calls to limit climate change… Arlington, Virginia-based Fluence serves major utilities, developers, as well as commercial and industrial businesses, promising increased efficiency through its digital platform designed for renewables.” [Reuters]

Event to Mark Genocide Anniversary — “November 4, 2021 will mark exactly one year to the day that the Ethiopian & Eritrean regimes waged a devastating and ongoing genocide on the people of Tigray. You are welcome to visit our Arts & Photo Exhibition ‘Call It A Genocide’ which runs from November 5 to 7, 2021 at the ECDC in Arlington.” [Eventbrite]

Halloween Bike Ride for Families — “The Kidical Mass Arlington Halloween ride is BACK! Meet Sun 10/24 4pm at Zitkala’Sa (nee Clay) Park Costumes and decorations encouraged! Enjoy some pizza from our friends @TrekBikes Clarendon after the ride.” [Twitter, Facebook]

It’s Wednesday — ☀️ It’s another sunny day today, with a high near 76. West wind 5 to 7 mph. Sunrise at 7:23 a.m. and sunset at 6:22 p.m. Tomorrow is will be sunny, with a high near 78.

Join the ARLnow Press Club and get the Morning Notes via email, four hours earlier.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Days Inn’s Days May Be Numbered — “An aging hotel along Route 50 in Arlington could be redeveloped… Arlington’s Planning Commission will study a roughly 2-acre site at 2201 Arlington Blvd., currently the home of the Days Inn by Wyndham hotel, to understand how it could accommodate new construction in the future. Shooshan is pitching a mix of apartments over retail, and perhaps some townhomes, for the property.” [Washington Business Journal]

Police Planning Halloween Parade — “In lieu of traditional trunk-or-treat events in the neighborhoods, the Arlington County Police Department’s Community Outreach Teams are dressing up their cruisers in creative costumes for a vehicle parade through the County” on Saturday afternoon. The parade will go through: “Lyon Village, Bluemont/Westover, Buckingham, Arlington Mill/West end of Columbia Pike, Green Valley, Aurora Hills, and Shirlington/Fairlington.” [ACPD]

Halloween Health Reminders — “While Halloween is not an official holiday, and is not regulated by the County, Arlington is asking everyone to continue to practice the behaviors we know slow the spread of COVID-19: avoid close contact with people not in your household, wear a mask and practice social distancing and frequent and proper hand washing. This may mean choosing not to participate in Halloween this year.” [Arlington County, @kcristol/Twitter, ARLnow]

W-L Grad Indicted for Philly Fire — “Ayoub Tabri, 24, of Arlington, VA, has been charged by Indictment for the arson of a Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) vehicle. Both incidents occurred during violent civil unrest in Philadelphia on May 30, 2020.” [Dept. of Justice, Philadelphia Inquirer, FBI]

MCM is Woman’s Arlington Farewell — “Since COVID, my husband and I, we found out we’re moving out west to Seattle, Washington,” outgoing Arlington resident Elizabeth Sloss told WTOP, about her upcoming virtual Marine Corps Marathon run. “I’m using this race as a farewell tour of D.C. to visit all my favorite places and important locations that have a lot of significant meaning to me.” [WTOP]

Bishop’s Statement on France Attacks — “In union with people of goodwill throughout the Diocese of Arlington, the people of France and around the world, I express my deep sorrow and offer fervent prayers for those impacted by the terror attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France, this morning. My prayers are with the individuals killed and those injured, as well as their families and the larger community.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]

0 Comments

Nearly 25% of respondents to a recent ARLnow poll said they were either decorating less or not at all this Halloween season.

Around Arlington, however, there is no shortage of spooky decor. That is particularly true along the traditional haunted hotspot of N. Jackson Street in Ashton Heights, despite plans to scale back the Halloween night revelry there this year.

ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott noticed that fewer houses along N. Jackson Street were decorated this year, but those that have decorated did so with the usual ghoulish gusto.

“The ones that have decorated have certainly gone all out,” Westcott said. “Lots of ghouls and ghosts and plenty of skeletons are out and about.”

Westcott has also seen signs at some houses waving off trick-or-treaters altogether. Another ARLnow poll from a month ago suggests that just under half of respondents are planning to sit this year out in terms of distributing treats to roving bands of children. Just over 36% said they’ll be leaving treats out for trick-or-treaters to grab, and about 17% said they’ll answer the door and distribute treats as usual — something health officials discourage.

Arlington has no plans to regulate Halloween activity this year, beyond enforcement of existing state health guidelines, but the county is strongly discouraging large groups and parties.

Other than N. Jackson Street, where are you seeing particularly festive Halloween decorations this year? Let us know in the comments. Here is one honorable mention, and here is another.

0 Comments

After new movie releases came to a grinding halt due to the pandemic, the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) has pivoted to older movies, alternative events, and a greater reliance on live comedy.

“The movie industry is a big black hole right now,” owner Tim Clark said. “Studios are pushing release dates farther and farther out, and dedicating more resources to direct-to-streaming.”

Since reopening in August, the Drafthouse has shown classic films and cartoons, and brought in live stand-up comedians for groups no larger than 85 people, or 30% of the space’s capacity.

“Movie attendance is down across the board with all theaters,” Clark said. “Comedy has been fairly steady and now we’re trying fun stuff.”

This week, Clark is leaning into spooky season with Halloween-themed events.

This weekend, “Spoons, Toons and Booze,” a Drafthouse special event with free cereal, cartoons and brunch-themed cocktails, will show cartoons from the 1940s to present day that feature creatures who go bump in the night. Tonight, “Witches and Wine” ticket holders get to celebrate Wine Wednesday and watch the cult classic “Hocus Pocus.”

Wednesday night’s event, with half-priced wine, has sold at least 40 tickets, “which is incredible for an old Disney film,” he said. Another cult classic, Beetlejuice, is set for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

“Witches and Wine” may bring out crowds for the novelty, but most showings of old films are not bringing people out. Half of the films to which Drafthouse has access are available on-demand or on cable, Clark noted. Comedy is now the driving force for filling seats at the Drafthouse.

“I think it’s going to be comedy-driven for a while before movies return,” Clark said.

With Christmas season seemingly coming earlier and earlier each year, Clark is already preparing creative, fun and themed holiday events. He’s hoping for something of a holiday miracle: a return to normality sooner rather than later.

“I’m not sure where we’re going to be in a couple of months as a country, but at this point, with a 30% reduced capacity, it’s not a long term sustainable model,” he said. “It helps a bit, but there’s only so much you can do.”

The schedule for the rest of the year includes weekends of stand-up comedy and a Mongolian film called “Six Feet” about what humans have done in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

More live comedy is already on the schedule for 2021, including “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Jeff Garlin on March 26 and 27.

Photo via @cinemadraft/Twitter

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Coronavirus Outbreak at Marymount — A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at Marymount University in Arlington. “Initially, cases were identified over Columbus Day weekend and we’ve seen a decline in the total number of cases since October 21,” university spokesman Nicholas Munson told Patch. “To date over the more than two-week period, 31 students have tested positive.” [Patch]

New Charges Against Arlington Resident — “Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on Tuesday unveiled 15 felony charges against a pair of right-wing operatives over a recent robocall aimed at discouraging minority voters from casting their ballots by mail, similar to an indictment filed earlier this month by authorities in Michigan… The Ohio robocall claimed to be the work of the 1599 Project, an outfit that Burkman and Wohl run out of Burkman’s home in Arlington, Virginia.” [StateScoop]

Missing Middle Housing Event Tonight — “The Missing Middle Housing Study will explore how new housing types could help address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices. All members of the community are invited to virtually attend the study’s kick off” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. [Arlington County]

Home Sale Prices Still Going Up — “The housing market in Arlington County, Virginia, is not cooling off, with sales and prices showing among the biggest gains in the nation in September. The median price of what sold in Arlington County last month was $710,000. That’s the highest county-level median price in Northern Virginia, and up 21% from last September.” [WTOP]

Library Pumpkin Decorating Winners — “We are thrilled to have received 42 pumpkin submissions for our first virtual Pumpkin Decorating Contest! It was hard to choose the winners, as we adored so many. Thank you for submitting, attending the virtual decorating programs and carving out fun with the folks at the library!” [Arlington Public Library]

Local Lawyer Pens New Novel — “By day, Jim Irving is a sixty-something, buttoned-up attorney, a partner in a prestigious Northern Virginia law firm. By night, he is a writer tapping into his past experiences as a private eye and criminal lawyer. In his debut novel, Friends Like These: A Joth Proctor Fixer Mystery, the first in a planned trilogy, Irving draws heavily on his Arlington environs in crafting the adventures of his protagonist.” [Washington Independent Review of Books]

Rosslyn Outdoor Coworking Space Update — “Arlingtonians have about a month left to enjoy outdoor office space provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID). The space, dubbed O2, was created after the pandemic pushed employees out of their cubicles and into their home offices… Reservations are free of charge and can be made on the O2 website. Masks are required for entry and tables are six feet apart.” [WDVM]

0 Comments

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Arlington County is asking those planning on partying or gathering in large crowds on Halloween to reconsider their plans.

“With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, many partygoers may be looking to celebrate in popular nightlife destinations around Arlington, but events that involve large gatherings of individuals can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission and are not recommended,” the county said in a press release on Friday.

“Partygoers are encouraged to seek alternatives ways to celebrate a physically distanced Halloween or sit this year out.”

Although there have been reports about a “sold out” Halloween bar crawl in Arlington, the county says it “has not approved any pub crawls or large events for Halloween weekend.”

The refusal to approve permits for large Halloween events is “part of the County’s effort to mitigate the evening crowds for this traditionally busy holiday and to protect the health and well-being of our community,” the press release said.

There will, however, be extra police patrols in Clarendon and Crystal City on Saturday night.

“The Arlington Police Department will have a dedicated nightlife detail of officers assigned to Clarendon and 23rd Street in Crystal City on Halloween night to ensure the safety of businesses and patrons,” the county said.

Family-friendly activities may be curtailed this year, as well. Last month Arlington’s health director cautioned against in-person trick-or-treating, though the county does not plan to regulate any such activity. Nearly half of respondents to a recent ARLnow poll said they do not plan to offer candy to trick-or-treaters this year.

The press release offered more coronavirus safety tips for Halloween revelers, as well as a reminder of safety requirements for restaurants:

To protect against COVID-19, everyone should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask (cloth face covering), and practice social distancing and frequent and proper hand washing. We implore all Arlingtonians to continue to abide by this public health guidance. In general, the more closely people interact with each other and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

The Arlington Public Health Division will continue to educate and strictly enforce Virginia’s Phase 3 Guidelines for restaurant and beverage services. Restaurants and dining establishments must comply with the Governor’s guidelines, including:

  • Post signage at the entrance and at points of sale stating that patrons must wear a cloth face covering, except while eating and drinking, in accordance with Executive Order 63.
  • Tables at which dining parties are seated must be positioned six feet apart from other tables.
  • Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.
  • Bar seats and congregating areas of restaurants must be closed to patrons except for through-traffic, per Executive Order 67.
  • If live musicians are performing at an establishment, they must remain at least ten feet from patrons and staff. Karaoke must remain closed.
0 Comments

Two residents of the Fairlington Arbor condominiums were told by the condo board to dig up their spooky gravestones that seek to lay bigotry to rest.

Katrina Reed and her husband Joe decked out their yard with six decorative gravestones, but they papered over the space for names of the deceased to bury hate, racism, religions discrimination, sexism, homophobia and white supremacy instead.

Both Reeds teach and coach high school basketball. As teachers, Katrina said they strive to create an inclusive environment in their remote and in-person classrooms.

“Our thought process was, ‘Why wouldn’t we want to be inclusive at home?'” she said.

The death-to-discrimination markers received a lot of love from neighbors, but drew the ire of the Fairlington Arbor management. The dispute centers around whether the gravestones are signs, which are not allowed unless the Board of Directors approve them, or seasonal decor, which are allowed if they are “modest and in keeping with community norms.”

A letter from management and addressed to the Reeds on behalf of the Fairlington Arbor Board of Directors asked them to “correct this matter” to “avoid further action by the Board of Directors.”

The letter treats the gravestones as decor, but the messages as signs.

“While the frames on your sign are compliant, the content is not,” the letter said. Joe disputed the application of the bylaw in an email to management.

“The signs displayed are not deemed ‘seasonal’ by the board since they display a message that does not fit the Halloween occasion,” Arbor management said in response.

The letter’s author, Fairlington Arbor’s general manager, declined to comment further. In an automated message, Matt Duncan, the President of the Board of Directors, said he is out of office and referred inquiries to management.

In a private neighborhood Facebook group, Katrina asked her neighbors for advice and to see if others had similar experiences. The response was overwhelming, with more than 175 comments on Katrina’s post so far.

“People went nuts,” she said. “They were ready to light their pitchforks and find the board members.”

One Facebook commenter said of the decorations: “We thought they were awesome. 10/10. Do not take them down.”

“These have made me very happy every time I walk by!” another said.

The couple maintains that stifling free speech causes more division than signs promoting inclusivity.

“If you can let people express First Amendment rights within a time period, I think it solves these issues,” Joe said.

The couple said the bylaws need to be clarified and they plan to speak about it during the next board meeting on Oct. 27. Joe said ironically, he was on the board and helped write the bylaws.

“I don’t envy them,” he said.

On Facebook, some theorized that the condo board was pushed to take action by a handful of complainers.

“Neighbors have been complimentary of our messages of inclusion, but I seem to have offended the racists, homophobes, etc.,” Katrina wrote in her post.

Others guessed that the current political climate might have caused an overreaction by condo management.

“It’s probable that no one is offended by your decorations but management just wants to head off something truly objectionable,” wrote one commenter, who congratulated the couple for speaking up.

This summer, the S. Abingdon Street bridge over I-395 in Fairlington was the site of a showdown between those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and counter-demonstrators who replaced BLM slogans with pro-Trump messages.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list