It doesn’t take much time in Alexandria to realize that this city does Halloween right. And the festivities aren’t limited to Oct. 31; rather, they stretch out over weeks, with decorations popping up citywide as soon as October begins and events lingering all month long. Here are a few must-visit restaurants, cafes and bars to visit to get into the spirit. Costumes optional, but always encouraged.
Halloween Dogfish Head Tap Takeover at Sweet Fire Donna’s, Oct. 27
Carlyle’s popular barbecue joint becomes home to the neighborhood’s spiciest Halloween party, complete with costume contest and food specials. Taste an array of Dogfish Head favorites to wet your whistle and aim to get a prize for your top-tier disguise. 510 John Carlyle St. 6 p.m.-1 a.m.
Monster’s Ball at Chadwicks, Oct. 27
Cocktails, costumes, ghoulish eats and a photo booth are the name of the game at Chadwicks’ celebration of the season. A DJ will be spinning tunes, so get ready to dance and kick off Halloween week. 203 The Strand, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
West End Farmer’s Market Halloween Parade, Oct. 28
Bring your kids and dogs out to the farmer’s market – in disguises, naturally – for a Sunday parade at the farmer’s market. And bring your family’s A-game: The best costumes, for humans and animals, will win a prize. Then stick around to trick-or-treat at the vendors’ tents for the rest of the day. 4800 Brenman Park Drive. 10 a.m.
Post-Parade Patio Party at Stomping Ground, Oct. 28
In Del Ray for the Halloween parade? Stick around the neighborhood’s favorite Southern-fried brunch-and-lunch spot to chow down on a special limited menu’s worth of fare. Word on the street is, the kitchen will be doling out some sausage balls for the occasion. 2309 Mount Vernon Ave. 3-6 p.m.
“Hallo-WINE” Big Red Night at Sonoma Cellar, Oct. 30
Take a spin through six red wines at an autumn-themed tasting at Sonoma Cellar. These robust reds come from the likes of Cass Winery, Etude Winery, Stags Leap and more. “Trick or treat like a grownup,” the café urges, and with this lineup you’ll certainly be well on your way. 207 King St. 6:30 p.m. $25.
Halloween at Brabo, Oct. 31
Brabo’s Chef Sebastien Rondier is on tap to debut his “Roasted Pumpkin Moules Frites,” mussels paired with roasted pumpkin and cream sauce, to kick All Hallow’s Eve off in style. At the bar, get into the Halloween spirit in more ways than one with the La Sorciere, featuring chile liqueur, ginger beer, agave and lime juice. 1600 King St.
Hole in the Wall Halloween at Captain Gregory’s, Oct. 31
Join the other guests at Captain Gregory’s for a spooky evening filled with themed cocktails and festive eats. The intimate speakeasy will be transformed into Halloween Headquarters, so don’t forget to wear your best costume in order to raise your chances of winning a prize. 804 N. Henry St. 7-10 p.m. $75.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.