From the fabulous weather (no bulky coats to obscure costumes), and lots of houses in close proximity (mad candy loot for those short legs) to creative Hollywood types with over-the-top special effects that trick out homes and sometimes, whole neighborhoods, LA is the best city in America for trick-or-treating. So put those costumed kiddos in the car to visit one of these over-the-top spots for your lil’ monsters to gather goodies.
photo: rawpixel on Unsplash
Toluca Lake is legendary for trick or treating. Literally. Urban folklore is that Bob Hope used to personally give out full sized bars at his home located here. Whatever the actual story, Toluca Lake has seized on the idea that they do Halloween best and the neighborhood is closed to traffic, filled with decked out lawns and homes (loads of people in the industry live here and love to show off their amazing prop and set design skills), and yes, there’s plenty of candy!
Where: Toluca Estates Dr. and Valley Spring Lane
The biggest Silver Lake Halloween street party takes place along Armstrong Ave. and the best part is, it’s closed to vehicle traffic so you can feel safe gathering that loot. If you prefer a less crowded walk, head to North Coronado St. between Sunset Blvd. and Scott Ave. There are several houses that go all out with full Halloween theatrics, yard haunts and special effects. And the rest of the neighbors love to dress up and greet the trick or treaters. Note: parking is tight up in the hills, so park on Sunset and walk up.
Where: Sunset and Coronado
photo: Steven Libralon on Unsplash
We love this spot for the small town vibe, where gorgeously decorated craftsman-style houses are all decorated and it’s not just about the treats. Bonus: Being in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains means that there are lots of trees around and kids actually may get to scuffle through crunchy, dry leaves as they make their way down the streets, giving a dose of nostalgia to East Coast and Mid-West parents.
Where: Baldwin and Alegria
Mid-City Los Angeles
Head south of Third St. and west of Fairfax to this sidewalk-friendly neighborhood where plenty of doorbell ringing and candy-giving will be in full swing. Have a friend in the hood? Hang at their house for some pre-party fun and then head out in big groups to gather loot. Houses are brimming with pumpkins, ghosts, spiders, witches, and more.
Where: Sweetzer Ave. and Drexel Ave.
The hottest place to take your candy-fixated, costumed tots in the Santa Clarita Valley is hands-down the Alta Dr. “Pirate Cul-de-sac.” A giant pirate ship (see above), built just for Halloween, juts out of a house, and an elaborate Pirates of the Caribbean-esque setting on the lawn along with all of the in-character pirate residents to interact with will put a smile on those candy collectors. There are plenty of houses in this area showing off intricate and realistic Halloween productions, from magicians to haunted houses to space-age adventures. Heads up, the house with the very still scarecrow on the porch is a real person. Boo! (Gets us every year). Parents get just as into character as kids and saunter around the cul-de-sac in crazy get-ups.
Where: Alta Dr. and John Russell Dr.
This modest neighborhood, just west of Laurel Canyon is the go-to spot for families living in the surrounding hills. It’s like one big block party with homes decorated to the hilt with pumpkins galore, haunted scenes and witches brews. Residents say that more than 700 little candy gobbling goblins routinely make there way down these streets, so it’s a lively and fun atmosphere. Begin your pilgrimage on Mound View and fan out to the surrounding streets. While you’re at it, keep your eyes peeled for the likes of Will Ferrell, who has been spotted in previous years ringing doorbells with his kids.
Where: Laurel Terrace and Mound View
photo: Lars Plougmann via Creative Commons
This neighborhood is notorious for hundreds of trick-or-treaters who roll through every Halloween night by the busload (literally). With over-the-top decorations and fabulous haunted mansions, the most popular streets like Arden, Rossmore or around the Larchmont shopping area can see hundreds of kids in a night. However, this neighborhood is best for early trick or treating, as it can get very crowded as the night goes on and might be overwhelming for the under-five set. Trick or treat tip: Stay north of 3rd St. if you’ve got little ones, as the houses to the south can be so tricked out they scare tiny tots.
Where: North of Wilshire Blvd.
Amazing decorations like a life-sized guillotine, with Styrofoam heads, haunted houses, spooky lighting and grownups who get in on the action and take their Halloween entertaining seriously. The streets just off the Strand become one big block party: there are no cars, so no worries about tiny goblins crossing in traffic. Grownups have glasses of wine on their street-side patios and kids don’t even have to walk up to the door—they just go from patio to patio. It’s one of the easiest places to trick-or-treat and still get a whole major experience.
Where: Streets off the Strand
photo: popofatticus via Creative Commons
Hooray for Hollywood: this quiet neighborhood is home to some Disney folks who take Halloween seriously. Some of the homes go all out with decorations worthy of a movie set, and a few even set up haunted houses and shows on their lawns. The best of Halloween while being safe and fun.
Where: Mariposa and Valleyheart
This traffic-free destination is ideal for trick or treating. The four-block area is magically spooky with pumpkins and twinkle lights strung along the canals, fantastic decorations, and plenty of the requisite sugar treats. Homeowners get dressed up to dole out candy and even some of the boats are sporting ghoulish displays. Remember that the narrow walkways get crowded with little ones on a mission, so get there early—parking can be difficult as well.
Where: Dell and South Venice Blvd.
photo: Ryan Scott via flickr
Not only can you take your little Robin Hood to a mythical sounding place to trick or treat, but this neighborhood also goes all out with some really unique features, including a front lawn haunted maze and a Hogwarts-esque castle, complete with gargoyles. P.S. That’s not a Halloween prop—that’s the actual house and it’s worth the drive just to see the house!).
Where: Near the Valley Performing Arts Center
Our favorite spot for little ones who tire quickly is Gillette’s Regents Square in Santa Monica where you will save those little feet a lot of walking around and still get plenty of candy not to mention, plenty of chances to show off that super costume.
Another great spot (and another celeb haunted locale) in Santa Monica? 16th St. north of Montana between Alta on Georgina but it tends to get a little spooky for little ones.
Where: Gillette’s Regents Square
photo: mob mob via flickr
While the happenings in Old Pasadena can’t be beat with all the shops handing out candy, costume contests and more, for good old-fashioned trick-or-treating head to either of these two neighborhoods. Families are out in full force pulling little ones in wagons while older tykes charge safely from house to house filling their bags.
Where: Monterey Rd. between Windsor Pl.; Diamond Ave; Marengo Ave. and Fair Oaks
This pocket neighborhood just West of the 405 freeway is ideal for toddlers enjoying their first trick-or-treat experience. The neighborhood is filled with family homes located very close to one another, most of which have great decorations. There are also several kid-friendly ‘haunted’ houses and very few cars.
Where: The ‘Alphabet’ Sts. between Church and Beloit
photo: Indah K. via Yelp
One look at the famous Spadena House, a.k.a. the “Beverly Hills Witch House” at 516 Walden Dr., and you’ll know you’re in the right place for Halloween. Get there at 5-5:30 p.m. to beat the crowds. The flats of Beverly Hills make for easy walking and big homes make for bigger candy bars, which delights little sugar fiends.
Where: Walden Dr.
This Palisades neighborhood is flooded with parents, kids, and beautifully decorated Halloween houses. Some residents get really into the “spirit” and give out wine and hot toddies. Yep, we’re looking out for you, as well as your kids. The narrow Alphabet Streets north of Sunset (also known as North Village) are some of the best, most trick-or-treater friendly streets, with street names that go in alphabetical order, good for remembering where you started and how many streets it will take to get back.
Where: Monument and Bashford St.
photo: Marco via Flickr
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—Shannon Guyton & Andie Huber