National Harbor screens ‘Movies on the Potomac’ for a spooky family Halloween

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Movies on the Potomac' (Part 1)

Halloween brings plenty of gory horror flicks, but what about something family-friendly?

Check out National Harbor’s “Movies on the Potomac” every Sunday in October at 4 p.m.

“National Harbor is well known for our ‘Movies on the Potomac’ series during the summer. Usually during Halloween we do one movie, ‘Hocus Pocus,’ but we’ve decided to expand it for the whole month of October,” Deborah Topcik, director of marketing for National Harbor, told WTOP.

The series kicked off last week with Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993).

It continues this Sunday with everyone’s favorite friendly ghost in “Casper” (1995).

“I remember seeing it in the movie theaters,” Topcik said. “Just a fun family movie that a lot of younger kids haven’t seen, but they know who Casper the friendly ghost is.”

It continues Oct. 17 with the new animated version of “The Addams Family” (2019).

“Everyone knows, ‘Do do do do’ [snap, snap],” Topcik said, calling it “another great family movie that we don’t necessarily hear and see all the time, but this is the time to watch it.”

Next up, on Oct. 24, is the beloved Halloween favorite “Hocus Pocus” (1993).

“This is a National Harbor tradition,” Topcik said. “We’ve been showing this for the last seven years. It is definitely a fan favorite. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker — this is a movie that every single kid has seen. When I say kid, I’m talking in their 20s and 30s.”

Finally, on Oct. 31, we get Jack Black in R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” (2015).

Topcik said the outdoor movie series is a great option during the pandemic.

“A lot of kids still won’t be vaccinated, so maybe they’re not going to go trick-or-treating, but families still want to do something for Halloween,” Topcik said. “Come down to National Harbor for ‘Goosebumps.’ You can have space just for your family.”

Rather than a projector, the films are shown on a giant digital screen.

“It’s 576 feet, so you’re definitely not going to find this at home or really at any restaurant or bar or anything,” Topcik said. “This is a completely unique experience, bigger than the blowups you find at other places. This is a high-quality, high-definition jumbo screen.”

Seating is first come, first served on the grounds in front of the screen.

“We encourage guests to come, bring your blankets,” Topcik said. “Right now the weather is perfect, but it’s going to start getting a little cooler, so bring a sweater.… Plenty of restaurants to get food from, so bring it down to the court with friends and family to enjoy.”

In the end, the goal is family-friendly fare.

“At National Harbor in the plaza, there’s every single person and every single age walking by, so if you just take a few minutes and stop and watch it, we want to make sure that it’s friendly for everyone who sees it,” Topcik said.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Movies on the Potomac' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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