2014 Halloween Attractions and Events in Maryland and Washington D.C. Areas

Haunted Attractions in Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of dc.about.com.

 

It is the big week for Halloween events in the Maryland and Washington D.C. areas.  Many local farms have been having fall festivals since mid-September.  Warehouses, farms, and buildings are converted into haunted houses and local theater companies get dressed up to scare children all ages. There are also Halloween parades and other events for the children to show off their costumes. Halloween originates from the Celtic celebration, Samhain, which is a festival for the end of the harvest. The ancient pagans believed that on October 31st, the boundaries between the living and dead world opened up and the dead would come back to life to haunt the living and wreak all kinds of havoc. Trick or treating by children actually did come from these ancient rituals as children would go door-to-door begging for a treat during the festivals.  There are many cities in Maryland and Washington D.C. that claim paranormal activities, and Baltimore is the home of horror writer, Edgar Allen Poe, so it is a perfect place to spend the spookiest time of the year.

 Halloween Events in Maryland

There are many Halloween events for the entire family, from fall festivals for the little ones to scary Halloween attractions for the older “kids”.  If you are looking for “real” ghosts, then take one of the many ghost tours that are offered in cities, such as Frederick, Ellicott City and Baltimore.

Fright Fest at Six Flags America

Fright Fest at Six Flags America is taking place through November 1st at the amusement park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Fright Fest is one of the Washington D.C. area’s largest Halloween celebrations with family friendly daytime events such as trick or treating, games and street entertainment. At night, ride the rides in the dark and be scared in the many haunted houses.

Zoo Booo! at the Maryland Zoo

The Maryland Zoo is hosting its annual Halloween celebration, Zoo Booo on October 24th to 26th from 10am to 4pm. There will be costume contests, trick or treating, carnival rides, live entertainment, crafts, food and exploring the zoo. Fun for the entire family!

Haunted Houses in Maryland

Bennett’s Curse

Bennett’s Curse in Jessup, Maryland has been listed as one of the best and scariest haunted houses in the country. It has 3 different haunted houses with different themes. This is the last year for the event at this location, so don’t miss out on the scares!

Field of Screams

Field of Screams in Olney, Maryland has four scary attractions in one place including a trail of terror. Visitors can walk through a haunted forest, take a haunted hayride, tour a haunted mansion and play a paintball apocalypse game where you can battle zombies, which is perfect for “The Walking Dead Fans”!

Kim’s Krypt

Kim’s Krypt in Essex, Maryland has everything from creepy dolls, clowns and chainsaws to scare you silly. There is a dark maze and interactive experiences for each visitor. The attractions include the new Haunted Mill, Maw’s Crazy Maze, House of Eyes, and Terror Trail.

Legends of the Fog

The Legends of the Fog in Aberdeen, Maryland has three haunted attractions: Sinister Circus, Haunted Hayride and Carsins Manor.  The Sinister Circus twists the traditional circus with bearded ladies, strong men, circus animals and more into a scary and spooky treat.

Haunted Houses in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. also has quite a few paranormal “experiences” and visitations. One of the biggest “centers” of paranormal activity in Washington D.C. is Lafayette Square. You can tour the site and different buildings by taking ghost walking tours.

Fright at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment

Nothing is spookier than spending an evening around real historic criminal artifacts! The National Museum of Crime and Punishment hosts Fright at the Museum during the last 2 weeks of October. For the younger children, the museum will have special family events on October 26th.

Gravensteen’s Haunted House

The GravenSteen’s Haunted House is the only haunted house within the Washington D.C. beltway. There is 50,000 square feet of unique adventures and scares.  The haunted house is not for the faint of heart!

Haunted Gallery at National Museum of the U.S. Navy

A new Halloween attraction in Washington D.C. is the Haunted Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy. On October 25th, the museum will be transformed into a haunted house for all ages. Younger children will have their own scary experience in the Gallery. There will also be craft activities and much more for children.

Halloween Events in Northern Virginia

Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion Amusement Park in Doswell, Virginia hosts it annual Halloween Haunt event through November 1st. There are ten mazes, six scare zones and twenty thrilling rides at night for the older “kids”.  Families can take part in family friendly events during the day including a hay maze, pumpkin painting, pedal tractor driving, entertainment and more.

National Zoo Boo at the Zoo

The National Zoo is hosting its annual “Boo at the Zoo” family event from 5:30 to 8:30pm on October 24th  through the 26th. Visitors can see “spooky” animals such as bats, spiders, owls and others while stopping at trick or treating stations throughout the zoo. There are animal encounters, keeper talks, haunted trails, trick or treating and costume contests.  For the adults, the National Zoo is having the “Night of the Living Zoo” on October 30th with palm readers, fire eaters, talking bats and illusionists entertaining visitors while they explore the zoo in the moonlight.

Cox Farms Fields of Fear

At night, the Cox Farms in Centerville, Virginia, turns into the Cox Farms Fields of Fear.  Visitors can experience nighttime walks through scary corn mazes, take the “dark-side” hayride, slide down the giant slide by torchlight, or enjoy shopping, food, games and other entertainment.

Shocktober at Paxton Manor

Shocktober at Paxton Manor in Leesburg, Virginia is an interactive and very scary haunted tour. Young children are not recommended to visit this “Only real haunted house in Northern Virginia” attraction.

ezStorage is very proud to be located in communities that host the Halloween events and fall festivals. Stop by any of our storage units in Maryland to find out how we can help you with all of your storage needs.

 

8 Tips for Renting a Moving Truck or Trailer

 

Renting a moving truck

Moving can be stressful, we all know that. If you are just moving a few items to a storage unit near you, moving across the city or moving across the country, it is very important to be prepared and plan ahead. One of the major decisions that you need to make when you are moving is if you are going to hire a moving company or rent a moving truck to move yourself. There are different considerations and requirements for hiring a moving company vs. renting a moving truck. When you are renting a moving van, truck, or trailer it is important to remember to perform certain “checks” before you take the truck off of the lot. If you plan ahead, you can save money on gas, mileage, weight and time when you are renting.

Tips for Renting a Moving Truck

  1. Get a quote for your rental as soon as you know when you are moving. The rates could actually change depending on what days you rent. The end of May to the beginning of September is the busiest time for moving. Rental moving trucks are in very high demand during this time of the year. It is also busy the last weekend of the month due to apartment leases ending at the end of the month.
  2. When booking with a rental truck company put the reservation on a major credit card and print out the quote to use as a reference when you are picking up your vehicle.
  3. When you are at the facility renting the vehicle, it is critical to read the contract and understand all of the additional costs that you could be charged for including gas or additional weight.
  4. Make sure that you get the correct size of the moving truck that you need for your belongings. If you only have a few items, then you will only need a van and not a large moving truck. The key is to plan ahead and know what you need to move. Having the correct moving truck size will also force you to be creative and concise in how you pack the truck.
  5. If you rented a moving truck or van online verify with the website (and your reservation), where you will be picking up your vehicle. It could change from the facility that you are originally renting from based on truck availability. Make sure you also know if you are returning the vehicle to the same place that you rented it.
  6. When you rent a moving truck, van or trailer, have your driver’s license and the credit card that you booked the rental with you.
  7. Ask the rental facility about the additional insurance coverage. Credit cards do not cover moving truck rentals. Most auto insurance policies do not cover renting a moving van, but verify that before you actually rent. It is important to have certain coverage for your moving truck. Verify insurance with the rental truck company when you are picking up your vehicle.
  8. Before you take the vehicle off of the lot, inspect it inside and out. Check the brake and exterior lights. Look underneath the vehicle and test the brakes. Before you rent a trailer, make sure that your car or truck is able to attach a trailer. Make sure that all chains are correctly attached before you leave the lot.

There are many moving rental truck companies in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. area. After you book your rental truck, the next step is to stock up sturdy moving boxes and packing supplies. Good Luck with your move!

Fall Indoor and Outdoor Cleaning Tips

Fall Cleaning outdoors-Photo courtesy of home.howstuffworks.comThe change in season is a perfect time to finish up the spring and summer cleaning projects that you kept putting off as well as implement decluttering and reorganization projects before the holiday season. Set aside a weekend for fall cleaning to make sure that the inside and outside of your home is clean for the winter months. Now is the time to take advantage of good weather to do the cleaning projects and get prepared for family activities during the holidays. We spend more time indoors during the winter, so you want to make sure that everything is clean and fresh for as long as possible.

7 Outside Fall Clean-up Tips

Cleaning, prepping and organizing the outside of the home is just as important as indoor cleaning projects. Doing the outdoor fall clean-up projects now, will help keep your outdoor patio furniture, grills and lawn equipment ready to be used again in the spring!

  1. Clean and store patio furniture, grills, table umbrellas, lawn equipment and children’s summer toys for the winter.
  2. Touch-up trim, railings and decks with paint.
  3. Install weather stripping around windows and door thresholds to prevent cold breezes from entering the home.
  4. Have the chimney and flues inspected and cleaned. This is an important fire safety step that should be done on a yearly basis.
  5. Clean out the gutters!
  6. Fertilize your lawn to help maintain its root health over the winter dormant months. Also, don’t forget to water your outdoor plants.
  7. Don’t forget about cleaning and organizing your garage, so you can park your car inside during the winter months.

 10 Indoor Fall House Cleaning Tips

  1. Focus on cleaning specific high-traffic and highly visited rooms, such as the living room family room, guest bedrooms and bathrooms.
  2. Clean the rooms from top to bottom including vacuuming drapes and window treatments and dusting baseboards and corners.
  3. Clean all bedding including mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets and comforters.
  4. Turn the mattress front-to-back and end to end to equalize the wear.
  5. Schedule professional carpet cleaners to clean the carpets before the busy holiday season.
  6. Clean and organize the kitchen cabinets to prepare for holiday baking and cooking. Dispose of expired food. Stock up on the dry goods that you will need for the holidays.
  7. Check the cleaning supplies under your sink for expired items.
  8. Clean the refrigerator inside and out. Remove the contents, shelves, rack and bins and wash them with anti-bacterial cleaner. Clean behind the refrigerator and vacuum the condenser coils.
  9. Replace your furnace filter.
  10. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. The best time to do this is when the time “falls back” in the beginning of November.

As you are working through your fall cleaning checklist, make sure that you have the proper cleaning and organizing supplies. If you are working on decluttering a space as you are cleaning, make sure that you have moving and packing supplies to pack up the items for storage, donation or to be thrown away.

 

10 Tips for RV Winter Storage

RV parking at ezStorage

 

The falling leaves and cooler temperatures signal the end of the official travel season for the eastern United States. Before it gets too cold and you get too busy with the holidays, it is time to start making preparations to store your camper, trailer or recreational vehicle (RV) for the winter months. Parking these vehicles in the driveway or in large garages is one option for storage.  If you don’t have enough room at home, then parking the RV, trailer or camper at an RV storage facility is a perfect winter storage solution.

RV Winterizing Checklist

  1. The most important thing to do when preparing your RV for winter storage is to make sure that your registration, insurance and license plates are current and renewed. You will need to show proof of these documents when you are storing the vehicles at a storage facility.
  2. Drive the vehicle that you are storing to the storage location prior to completing the rental agreement to ensure that the vehicle will actually fit in the spot.
  3. Take the vehicle out for one last drive before you park the RV at a self storage facility. Listen for any engine problems, knocks, pings or other unusual or unfamiliar noises.
  4. Walk around the vehicle, inspect underneath the RV and climb on to the roof to look for broken antennae, awnings, seals, windows, etc. Make repairs to the problems that you find before you place the vehicle in storage.
  5. Thoroughly clean the RV inside and out. Remove all food from the vehicle. Vacuum the interior of the RV, wipe down the counters and inside the cabinets. Defrost and clean out the refrigerator. During storage, leave the refrigerator door open to allow for air circulation.
  6. Close the windows and blinds in the vehicle to prevent sun exposure that can damage the fabrics and fade the carpets.
  7. Disconnect all air conditioning connects and clean out the air filters.
  8. If you are storing for an extended period of time, remove the battery from the vehicle and put it on a maintenance charger in a dry, cool, and ventilated place. If you are keeping the battery inside the vehicle, then it is a good idea to start the engine every couple of months to prevent moisture build-up.
  9. Right before you store the vehicle, change the oil and oil filter. Next, fill the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
  10. Cover the tires with protective tarps and then cover the entire vehicle with a breathable tarp that is specially made for the vehicle. The coverings will help protect the RV from the elements during the winter months.

RV Storage Facility

It is important to take the time to follow all the necessary steps in the RV winterization checklist to properly place your RV in storage for the off months.  Before you know it; it will be time to count down the days until you can take the RV back out on the road! Several ezStorage locations, listed below, offer RV storage solutions. The parking spaces can accommodate storage for RVs, campers and trailers that will not fit into a garage or have room to be kept in the driveway at a home.  Stop in to any of the facilities listed below to find out more about ezStorage’s RV, camper and trailer winter storage solutions.

Arbutus/Maiden Choice      

Bel Air/Abingdon

Highlandtown/Canton    

Owings Mills/Reisterstown

Randallstown    

Rosedale/White Marsh/Essex

South Bowie/Upper Marlboro

 

Celebrate Fall at Fall Festivals in Maryland and Northern Virginia

Fall Festivals in Maryland and Northern VirginiaOctober is the month of fall festivals throughout the Maryland and Northern Virginia area. These festivals include everything from arts and crafts fairs to harvest festivals at local farms. Later in the month, some of the farms will offer Halloween events (more on that in a future post!) With the weather turning a bit cooler and crisper, it is a great time to get out and enjoy family fun in pumpkin patches and festivals in the region.

Fall Festivals in Northern Virginia

There are many fall festivals taking place in Northern Virginia in October. If you venture outside of the area, there are many fall festivals throughout Virginia to explore and visit during the month.

Leesburg Pumpkin Village Fall Fest

Leesburg is hosting the Pumpkin Village Fall Festival, the largest fall festival in Loudon County, at Leesburg Animal Park. The festival kicked off September 20th and runs through November 4th. The festival runs every day with special events on the weekend. The Pumpkin Village Fall Festival features giant hill slides, hay rides, moon bounces, a petting and feeding zoo, pony and camel rides, and much more. There are special family events and entertainment on the weekends.

Arcadia Farm Fall Festival

The Arcadia Farm in Alexandria, Virginia hosts their free Fall Farm Festival on October 19th from 1pm to 5pm. There will be cake walks, old-fashioned games, a pie eating contest, a pumpkin patch and much more fun for the entire family. There will be a chance to be “up-close and personal” with chickens and experience daily farm life. Bring a picnic with you and make an afternoon of fall celebrations with your family.

 Mount Vernon Fall Family Harvest

Mount Vernon celebrates the fall harvest with Fall Harvest Family Days on October 25th and 26th. There will be wagon rides, a straw bale maze, 18th century dancing demonstrations, apple-roasting and other 18th century fall harvest activities. Step back to colonial harvest times during this fall festival.

 Fall Festivals, Pumpkin Patches & Hayrides in Maryland

There are many fall festivals being held in Maryland in October. Many local farms are hosting special fall events from the end of September through the beginning of November. Plus, there are also arts and crafts festivals that will help you get ready for the holidays. Listed below are just a few of the festivals in Maryland that are great outdoor fun, including hayrides and pumpkin patches, and indoor fun for the entire family.

Sugarloaf Craft Festival

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival takes place October 10th to 12th at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland. Over 250 top artisans will be showcasing and selling their unique designs in pottery, sculpture, photography, glass, jewelry, fashion, home decorations, furniture and much more. There will also be interactive demonstrations with the artisans, live music, a kid’s crafts area, food and much more.

Butler’s Orchard

Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland hosts its annual Pumpkin Festival every weekend in October. Visitors can pick out the perfect pumpkin, explore the hay mazes, take a hayride and enjoy crafts food and other family activities.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival

Montpelier Farms in Upper Marlboro, Maryland hosts its annual Fall Festival every weekend in September and October. The farm features corn, grass and straw bale mazes, hay rides, a petting zoo, hill slides, a corn crib, and a corn tepee. There are special family events and activities every weekend of the event.

Summers Farm Pumpkinland

In Frederick, Maryland, Summers Farm’s Pumpkinland Festival opened September 20th and runs through November 4th. There are a cornfield maze, hay rides, pig races, hay slides, farm animals and of course a pumpkin patch.

Crumland Farms

Also in Frederick, Maryland, Crumland Farms’ fall festival opened September 27th and runs through November 1st. There is a pumpkin patch, corn maze, pedal carts, hay jumps, a giant slide, train rides for children, a haunted hayride and many other family friendly activities.

Shlagel Farms

Shlagel Farms in Waldorf, Maryland, will have fall fun and activities every weekend through October from 9am to 5pm. You can pick out your Halloween pumpkin, take a wagon ride, kids can visit the petting zoo or try to find their way through the straw maze for children. The farm also offers educational tours for schools and private groups during October.

Kinder Farm Park

Kinder Farm Park’s Fall Harvest Festival takes place during the entire month of October. There are hay rides, children’s games and activities, farm animals, a scarecrow making contest and much more for the entire family.

 Sykesville Fall Festival

Every October, historic downtown Sykesville celebrates fall with the Sykesville Fall Festival. Local artisans and craftspeople line the streets alongside local businesses, vendors and food tents. There are children’s activities, food and entertainment for the entire family.

The fall festivals in Northern Virginia and Maryland help celebrate the fall harvest and the abundance of produce from local farms. The fall festivals lead up to Halloween activities and before you know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas events! ezStorage is very proud to be located in communities that host the various Maryland fall festivals. Stop by any of our storage units in Maryland to find out how we can help you with all of your storage needs.

Tips for Outdoor Grills and Patio Furniture Storage

Grill and Patio Storage Tips

Photo courtesy of homeideafinder.com.

Autumn marks the beginning of cooler weather, leaves falling from the trees, and pumpkin-flavored coffee. It’s time to think about moving seasonal items like patio furniture, and outdoor grills into storage. Fall is a great time to prep these items and place them in storage for the winter months. If you prepare them properly, then you will be able to immediately use these items again in the spring. Before you place your outdoor grill or patio furniture in storage, take a good look at them to see if anything is broken or needs repair before going into storage. If the grill or patio furniture appears broken beyond repair, then this is the time to dispose of them.

Storing Patio Furniture

If you decide to keep the patio furniture outside throughout the winter months, it is important to have it covered with water tight coverings. Remove the fabric cushions and place them in a fully sealed outdoor storage container. As an alternative, putting your patio furniture into a self storage unit and keeping it out of the elements will help prolong its life.

Thoroughly clean your patio furniture before placing it in your self storage unit. Remove and wash the cushions and wipe down all surfaces of the chairs and tables. Wash wicker, mesh or plastic and wrought iron chairs with a solution of dishwater soap and water. For wooden furniture, use wood oil soap. Let the furniture dry completely after rinsing off the cleaning solution. To keep the furniture protected, wipe the wicker or wood furniture with a furniture grade wax.  Clean the fabric or canvas cushions with a solution of Lysol and hot water. Make sure that the cushions are completely dry before placing in storage.  In a storage unit, stack patio furniture chairs on top of one another to gain extra storage space. To give more storage space in the unit, remove the legs of the patio table and keep all screws and nuts together in a plastic bag attached to the legs.

Storing Grills or Barbecues

If you cannot move the grill to indoor storage, then, it is important to have it covered with water tight coverings. You do not need to disconnect the propane tank, but make sure that the tank is completely shut off.

Store your grill or barbecue in your storage unit to keep it in optimal shape for usage the next spring. Like the other outdoor items, make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned and wiped down before placing it in storage. Use a wire brush or steel wool to clean off any cooked-on food or grease. Clean and empty the ash pan, drip pan and burner shield. The grill needs to be thoroughly dry before you place it in storage. If you are storing a charcoal grill, remove and properly dispose of the charcoal before storing. For gas grills, consult the owner’s manual before disconnecting the propane tank from the grill. Always shut off the gas source before removing the tank from the grill.  As a safety precaution, propane tanks should not be stored in enclosed areas and cannot be stored in storage units. For winter storage, disconnect the tank and store it outside of your home in an upright position away from dryer and furnace vents and children’s play areas. Cover the stored grills with protective grill covers while in storage.

ezStorage has a variety of self storage units, climate controlled and non-climate controlled, in sizes ranging from 5×5 to 10×30 for all of your household storage needs.

 

2014 Baltimore Oktoberfest

Das Best Oktoberfest Baltimore

History of Oktoberfest

The end of September to early October is prime Oktoberfest celebration time. Festival goers throughout the world raise a mug to celebrate this 200 year old annual event. Oktoberfest is based from a wedding celebration for King Louis 1st of Bavaria to Princess Therese in Munich in 1810. The wedding was celebrated with horse races and feasts on large fields named, “Theresienwiese” after the king’s bride. The festivities were repeated the next year and gave rise to the annual Munich Oktoberfest celebrations that we know today. The Munich Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world attracting more than six million people per year. Today’s festival takes place under big tents erected on the same fields where the king’s wedding is celebrated with millions of gallons of specially brewed Oktoberfest beer, great food (especially pretzels), and music. German immigrants brought the traditions of Oktoberfest around the world. In the United States, the biggest Oktoberfest celebration is in Cincinnati, Ohio (actually the sister city of Munich) at the end of September. This festival draws over 650,000 revelers every year!

Baltimore’s Oktoberfest

As part of Baltimore’s cultural and ethnic festivals, Das Best Oktoberfest will be held at the M & T Stadium Parking Lots on Saturday, October 11th.  Baltimore’s Das Best Oktoberfest is rain or shine under the tents in the parking lots with events kicking off for VIPs at noon and to the public at 2pm. As you enter the festival, you will receive a souvenir tasting glass, so you will be able to sample some of the over 150 international, domestic and local Maryland beers, domestic wines and schnapps that will be showcased during Oktoberfest.  There will also be several food vendors throughout the event offering the best in bratwurst, sausages and other German food!

It wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest in Baltimore without great entertainment including Oompah bands and live music. Traditional German music as well as current pop music will be featured during the festival. There will also be special contest on the main stage including the Miss Oktoberfest Competition and the Best Beer Belly Competition. (These two competitions will have nothing to do with one another!)

Das Best Oktoberfest kicks of Baltimore Beer Week with the tapping of the keg event. Local Baltimore breweries have come together to celebrate beer during the yearly beer week celebrations. There will be beer tastings, special menus and other related events at venues throughout the city from October 10th to 19th.

ezStorage is proud to be part of Baltimore’s ethnically and culturally diverse community! Visit one of our 15 Baltimore self storage locations to find out how we can help you with your storage needs!