✔ Pick of the Pack
History: Tudor Place History Haunt
Tudor Place, a 5½-acre estate in Georgetown, was purchased in 1805 by Thomas Peter and Martha Custis Peter, the granddaughter of Martha Washington, the very first first lady of the United States. The home was designed by Dr. William Thornton, the architect of the U.S. Capitol, and has been expertly preserved despite housing six generations of the Peter family into the early 1980s. Today, it is the site of a museum and collection of nearly 15,000 artifacts, including some objects used by George and Martha Washington. With so many people living (and dying) on the grounds over the decades, the place is bound to be haunted, so Halloween is the perfect time to visit. On Friday evening, Tudor Place will host a haunted historical affair, complete with tours of the gardens every half-hour, ghostly tales about the previous residents, and cocktails in the buildings scattered across the grounds. Perhaps the spirit of our nation's first president will stop by to pay his respects to his long-gone relatives — if he's not too busy rolling in his grave over today's partisan politics.
Friday at Tudor Place Historic House & Garden, 1644 31st St. NW
For children: Air & Scare
As the government has made cuts to NASA, outer space has become more a venue for entertainment than diplomacy. The world was glued to YouTube earlier this month when Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier in his jump from the edge of space -- sponsored by Red Bull. Meanwhile, Hollywood types such as Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie reportedly have secured $200,000 seats on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic commercial space flights, although the mogul has yet to announce an official launch date. If you're not a daredevil or celebrity, however, outer space provides plenty of ideas for creative Halloween costumes. If your young ones are obsessed with aliens or airplanes, bring them to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center on Saturday for an air-and-space-themed Halloween party. Activities will include trick-or-treating as well as crafts, science experiments and storytelling. "Star Wars" characters will be on hand for photos.
Saturday at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, 14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, Va.
Concert: NSO Halloween Spooktacular
Attending a performance of Washington's renowned National Symphony Orchestra makes for an electrifying evening, with the precise chords of the 100-member ensemble reaching all corners of the Kennedy Center's vast concert hall. This weekend, the symphony will be especially thrilling when the NSO performs a selection of haunting pieces in its Halloween Spooktacular concert. Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl -- who will be in costume along with the musicians -- will lead the orchestra in performances of Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique," Sergey Prokofiev's "Cinderella" Suite No. 1, and others. Even the youngest symphonygoers will recognize the tunes from Paul Dukas' "Sorcerer's Apprentice," which infiltrated pop culture after Disney's 1940 animated film "Fantasia," and John Williams' menacing "Imperial March" from the "Star Wars" films. Attendees of all ages are encouraged to wear costumes, and the musicians will be available to chat after the 3 p.m. performance.
Sunday at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW
Theater: Fall Fringe
You wouldn't think buttoned-up Washington would be a breeding ground for offbeat artists and their original performances, but since 2006, the Capital Fringe Festival has grown to be the second-largest festival of the unconventional arts in the United States. In fact, the nonprofit Capital Fringe has premiered more than 250 new works in six years and sold some 29,000 tickets during July's festival alone. If you missed it, Capital Fringe is bringing back some of the most popular theater, dance, music, puppetry and other shows from the summer's Capital Fringe Festival, as well as some new ones, for a fall run. The highlight is sure to be "The Brontes," a satiric rock 'n' roll musical about the Bronte sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, as well as their oft-forgotten brother Branwell and some carnies, which received rave reviews over the summer. If you're looking for laughs for all ages, try "Medieval Story Land," which is billed as "Forrest Gump meets Lord of the Rings meets Monty Python."
Thursday through Nov. 18 at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW
Books: David Skinner: The Story of Ain't
The publication of "Webster's Third New International Dictionary" in 1961 sparked widespread debate with its updated usage suggestions and word additions from the previous edition that had been published nearly 30 years earlier. The inclusion of the word "ain't," in particular, led to scholarly disagreements about the purpose of a dictionary and whether it should cover language as it's actually spoken. David Skinner, the Washington-based editor of Humanities and a former editor at The Weekly Standard, has written a book on the subject titled, "The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published," which explores the story of the dictionary in the context of the societal changes of the 1960s. Mr. Skinner, who serves on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary, will discuss the book at Politics & Prose bookstore.
Sunday at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
Fundraiser: Violence Is Scary
This Halloween, dress up to support a good cause. The fifth annual Violence is Scary fundraiser will take place at Dupont Circle's One Lounge on Halloween night, where guests will enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, music, a costume contest and many more tricks and treats. All proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction will benefit D.C. Safe, which provides crisis intervention and advocacy to more than 5,000 victims of domestic violence in the Washington area. The fundraiser will help D.C. Safe continue to provide services such as a 24-hour hotline, a crisis shelter and transportation offices, and court services.
Wednesday at One Lounge, 1606 20th St. NW