Trick-or-Treat: D.C. offers costumes and parties for Halloween fun

When you were a kid, you would spend weeks, maybe months, planning your Halloween costume. Some kids wore the plastic masks from K-Mart that you couldn’t breathe through. Other kids would wear black and draw red blood dripping from all orifices on their faces. And then there were the creative kids who would transform a cardboard box into a Kellogg’s cereal box.

Now that you’re in college things have changed. You can’t go trick-or-treating unless it’s on Embassy Row, so you need to plan an eventful evening. And costumes aren’t as easy to come by. You don’t fit into the K-Mart classics anymore and face it, you’re not cute enough to pull off many of the other stand-bys.

Luckily, the D.C. area has costume shops and thrift stores so you can buy or rent a full costume or purchase the pieces for your own Halloween piece de resistance.

Backstage, 2101 P St., N.W., (202) 775-1488. This store rents elaborate full costumes. You could pick and choose from celebrities and historical figures spanning centuries. The costumes, which come in adult sizes only, range in price from $25 to $150. The store also sells accessories, wigs and masks.

Costume Studio, 35 8th St., N.E., (202) 544-5843. This shop, located on Capitol Hill, is perfect if you’re looking to be Queen Elizabeth or Napoleon. It specializes in the period look. All of the costumes are complete and can be rented for $30 or more.

Artistic Dance Fashions, 4915 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, Md. The shop is accessible from the Bethesda stop on the Metro’s Red Line. Artistic Dance Fashions has more than 15,000 costumes for rent, ranging in price from $20 to $59. It also sells costumes that cost between $45 and $60. Some of its best sellers are a classic 1920s flapper and the retro look. There are hats, wigs and other goodies so you can accessorize.

Another option for the perfect Halloween look is to scour the thrift shops and second-hand stores that line the streets in Adams Morgan and the U Street area. But after you acquire the perfect costume, you still have more work. You need to find something to do.

Again you’re lucky. Many of the local bars are hosting Halloween-inspired parties Oct. 30 because Halloween falls on a Sunday. Most of the bars require attendees to be 21 years old and have valid identification.

Bottom Line, 1716 Eye St., N.W., (202) 537-7353. The bar is hosting its Third Annual Halloween Bash Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fifteen bucks will get you free beer, one complimentary Jack Daniel’s Wyooter Hooter, and some snacks. There’s also a disc jockey and a costume contest with prizes.

Crush, 2323 18th St., N.W. (202) 319-1111. The Howl-a-Ween Dance Party Saturday features a costume contest, with $50 first prizes for the scariest and most original costumes. There’s no cover if you sport a costume, but if you come in your normal garb, it’s $5 to get in.

John Harvard’s Brewery, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., (202) 783-2745. John Harvard’s Brew Bash takes place Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight. The $35 tickets to the costume party include an all-you-can-eat-and-drink extravaganza. Some of the proceeds from the event go to charity. The Brew Bash is limited to the first 200 people – so get there early.

Monster March in the Golden Triangle. This block party Saturday includes The Garage, Mackey’s, Lucky Bar, Mister Day’s, Rumors and Sign of the Whale. Each bar will be hosting costume contests throughout the day with cash prizes totaling $1,000. The party lasts from noon until midnight.

Madam’s Organ, 2461 18th St., N.W., (202) 667-5370. Madam’s Organ hosts the costume contest Saturday with the strangest prize – the craziest costume gets a date with the owner. The bar also will have live music on the first-floor stage.

Toledo Lounge, 2435 18th St., N.W. (202) 986-5416. The Toledo Lounge has its Sixth Annual Costume Contest Saturday with cash prizes for the winners. There’s also free candy. Doors open at 9 p.m.

If hitting the bars isn’t your fancy, or if you’re under 21, walking around Georgetown and taking in all the costumes can be more fun than a party. Of course, you always can rent scary movies, get together with friends and make your own Halloween spectacular. Or if all else fails, chow down on a bag of candy corn, wait for the sugar rush to set in and then decide.

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