There are 3 reasons why LA is the best city in America for trick-or-treating. Our fabulous weather means no bulky coats obscure costumes. Being a gigantic city means lots of houses close together, giving short leggers a better bang for their walking buck. And finally, the movie makers and creative types means over-the-top special effects and decorations trick out many homes. So if your street doesn’t celebrate spectacularly, put those costumed kiddos in the car and visit one of these top streets for lil’ ghouls to gather goodies.

photo: jill111 via Pixaby

Toluca Lake (Cross Streets: Toluca Estates Drive and Valley Spring Lane)
We have to start with Toluca Lake, because it’s legendary for trick or treating. Literally. Though we’ve never confirmed it with anyone who actually experienced it, the urban legend held that Bob Hope used to personally give out full sized bars at his home here. Whatever the actual story, Toluca Lake has seized on the idea that they do Halloween best, and the hood is closed to traffic and filled with decked out lawns and homes (remember, many of the people who live here work at the nearby studios and love to show off their amazing prop and set design skills). And yes, there’s plenty of candy!

Silver Lake (Sunset & Coronado)
The biggest Silver Lake Halloween street party takes place along Armstrong Ave. But if you prefer less crowds, Red Tri reader Coronado Yard Haunts got us looking at their up and coming hip Halloween hood. North Coronado St. between Sunset Blvd. & Scott Ave. has several houses that go all out full theatrics, yard haunts & 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.

Ladybug-Toddler-Trick-or-Treat-Halloweenphoto: Jonas Seaman via Flickr

Sierra Madre (Cross Streets: Baldwin and Alegria)
We love this spot for the small town vibe, where 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 trees around, and kids actually may get to scuffle through leaves as they make their way down the streets, giving a dose of nostalgia to East Coast and Mid-West parents. But the gorgeously decorated craftsmen keep you firmly rooted in California.

Mid-City Los Angeles (Cross Streets: Sweetzer Avenue and Drexel Avenue)
Head south of Third Street and west of Fairfax to this sidewalk-friendly neighborhood where plenty of doorbell ringing and candy-giving will be in full swing. Families usually gather for a house party and then head out in big groups to gather loot. Houses are brimming with pumpkins, ghosts, spiders, witches, and more.

Pirate-Ship-Valencia-Halloweenphoto: Shannon Guyton

Valencia/Santa Clarita (Alta Drive)
The hottest place to take your candy-fixated, costumed tots in the Santa Clarita valley is hands-down the Alta Drive “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 keep you entertained for hours. 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 the cul-de-sacs in crazy get-ups.

Studio City (Cross Streets: Laurel Terrace and Mound View)
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.

photo: Lars Plougmann via Creative Commons

Hancock Park (North of Wilshire Boulevard)
This neighborhood is notorious for hundreds of trick-or-treaters who roll through every Halloween night by the bus load (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 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 littler set. Trick or treat tip: stay north of 3rd Street if you’ve got little ones, as the houses to the south can be so tricked out they scare tiny tots.

Manhattan Beach (Streets off the Strand)
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 walk-street patios (and will gladly share if you ask!) 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.

photo: Tim Sackton via Creative Commons

Burbank (Cross Streets: Mariposa and Valleyheart)
Hooray for Hollywood: this quiet neighborhood is home to some Disney folks who take Halloween seriously. Some of the homes go all out with costumes and decorations worthy of a movie set, and a few even set up haunted houses and shows on their lawns. Best of all, it’s safe and fun.

Venice Canals (Cross Street: Dell and South Venice Boulevard)
This traffic-free destination is perfect 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 are 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 gets difficult as well.

photo: Zillow

Sherwood Forest (Near the Valley Performing Arts Center)
Reader Michelle Renee tipped us off to our new favorite spot: Sherwood Forest! Not only can you take your little Robin Hood to a mythic sounding place to trick or treat, this neighborhood goes all out with some really unique features, including a front lawn haunted maze and a Hogwarts-esque castle, complete with gargoyles. (That’s not a Halloween prop—that’s the actual house and it’s worth the drive just to see the house!).

Santa Monica (Gillette’s Regents Square)
Our favorite spot for little ones who tire quickly is in Santa Monica at Gillette’s Regents Square where you will save those little feet a lot of walking around and still get plenty of candy (and plenty of chances to show off that super costume).

Another great spot (and another celeb haunted locale) in Santa Monica: 16th Street north of Montana between Alta on Georgina, but this spot can be a little spooky for little ones.

trick or treatphoto: eyeliam via Flickr

Pasadena (Cross Streets: Monterey Road between Windsor Place & Diamond Avenue or Marengo Avenue & Fair Oaks)
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.

Brentwood Glen (The ‘Alphabet’ Streets between Church and Beloit)
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 several kid-friendly ‘haunted’ houses and very few cars.

Spadena-Beverly-Hills-Witch-House-Halloweenphoto: Tiffany L. via Yelp

Beverly Hills (Walden Drive)
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.

Pacific Palisades (Huntington Palisades, West of Sunset)
In the Huntington Palisades neighborhood is flooded (in a good way!) 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 names that go in alphabetical order, good for remembering where you started and how to get back!

trick or treaters halloweenphoto: marco via Flickr

Did we miss your favorite neighborhood for trick or treating? Let us know in the comments below!

—Shannon Guyton