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13 Bay Area Neighborhoods for Great Trick or Treating

Halloween-kids

photo credit: another sergio via creative commons

The Bay Area has plenty of places that get in the spirit of the season and offer families a Halloween treat with old-fashioned charm. Here are our picks for the best neighborhoods for fun and safe trick or treating. And, if you want to get the party started early, we’ve outlined a few spooktacular Halloween events in each region of the Bay. Happy Halloween!

San Francisco

Belvedere Street (between Parnassus Ave. and 17th Street)
It’s big, it’s loud, it’s a party. Haunted garages, dry ice cauldrons, fake entrails and ketchup blood. Not for the faint of heart, as some of these setups might be a little too spooky for your littlest bits. The atmosphere is revelry, but the focus is on trick-or-treaters,  and the candy off the hook! The scariest things is this neighborhood, though, are the crowds and the parking. Luckily the N Judah, 43 Masonic, and 6 Parnassus MUNI lines all go straight here, or walk up from Haight Street. While everyone’s on Belvedere, visit some of the neighboring Cole Valley streets where tons of candy goes uncollected. If your kids are looking to score big, don’t let the rest of this ‘hood go un-mined.

Insider tip: Belvedere is on a hill, so crafty parents trick out wagons or strollers as part of their costumes, perfect for the tired or more-sensitive members of the crew.

Noe Valley (24th Street) 
For your littlest ghouls, try visiting the merchants on 24th street. A neighborhood known for its itsy-bitsies, merchants start handing out candy early in the day so you don’t have to worry about that trick-or-treat/sugar coma/bed time crunch. This densely packed neighborhood is relatively flat and filled with lots of families in Victorian homes known for handing out candy. You won’t be disappointed in this neighborhood, but parking can be challenging.

Fair Oaks Street (between 21st and 26th Streets)
Not far from 24th Street in Noe Valley/Outer Mission this street is also a great bet–it’s closed to traffic so the tots can focus on candy-getting instead of car-dodging. The under 5 crowd tends need to arrive early, but if Halloween falls on a weeknight, most houses don’t start dolling out the candy until after 6 p.m. so hit up the shops on 24th Street first.

Presidio Heights & Sea Cliff
These two posh hoods, offer enough candy and devilish decorum they could feed thousands of candy monsters, and that’s roughly what they’ll do this year! In Seacliff, keep your eyes out for the house with the wire dinosaur. Rumor has it that is legendary actor Robin Williams’ digs. Parking is easier in these neighborhoods, but gets pretty packed by 8 p.m. or so.  Moderate hills in Presidio Heights, most of Seacliff is flat and the sidewalks are wide. Plus you get to peek inside some of the most glamorous homes in SF. Some of them even have front yards!

St. Francis Wood
One of the best kept Halloween night secrets, It’s like a small town within the city so it’s a perfect when area to go if you are feeling nostalgic for Halloweens gone by. Just two blocks east of Stern Grove, the massive houses (with yards big enough for fake graveyards!) and tall spooky trees give it the perfect creepy vibe.

Marin County

Those North of The City will find themselves in for more treats than tricks, with a few areas really vamping it up for this spooktacular occasion. Rivaling Fair Oaks St. and Cole Valley, Mill Valley, Larkspur, and Tiburon are family friendly trick-or-treating meccas. Mill Valley’s tree-lined Sycamore Street is Halloween Central for many Southern Marin families. In Tiburon, the Bel Aire neighborhood (behind The Cove Shopping Center) features sprawling front-lawn “cemeteries” and other wicked goodness. Plus, flat streets and close houses make it stroller-friendly, especially nice when the little ones are tired but the older goblins need more treats!

halloween-kids-trick-or-treating

photo credit: KOMUnews via creative commons flickr

Larkspur (Heatherwood neighborhood)
Follow the circle of the Heatherwood neighborhood, along Heather Way as it intersects with Diane Lane and William St. and you won’t be disappointed. Even with dozens of costume-clad kids, this area is easy-to-navigate, even with a stroller.

Looking for more Halloween fun in Marin County? 
Ride those brooms on over to The Marin Country Mart to celebrate the spookiest day of the year with a Halloween Carnival! Dress up the kids and bring them to the big farmers’ market tent for a Kids Costume Parade from 10:30 to 11:00 with the Superhero Band. The Market will also feature face painting, pony rides, kid’s music by Christopher Smith, and kids’ Halloween crafts by SCRAP, which reuses old materials to encourage creativity and reduce waste. Sat. Oct. 26, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Marin Country Mart, Larkspur. Event details

If your little ones want to do some midday trick-or-treating then come to the Town Center in Corte Madera. Wear those adorable costumes and collect goodies at participating merchants. Shops will be open on Sunday, October 27 from 12 -3 p.m. Event details.

Give those Halloween costumes a test run at the annual San Anselmo Goblin Parade, where kiddos ages 0-7 can stroll down San Anselmo Avenue dressed to their best. Not just limited to goblins, round up all your little ghosties, princesses, firefighters, witches, and superheroes and meet on the corner of Ross and San Anselmo Avenues in front of the US Bank. Parade route is down San Anselmo Ave. to Tamalpais Ave. where refreshments will be served.  Merchants will provide treats along the way. Tues, Oct. 29, 5- 7 p.m. San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo. Event details.

East Bay

Cleveland Heights/Haddon Hill (just west of Lake Merritt between Lakeshore and Park)
The Hills are alive with the spirit of Halloween nd this Oakland neighborhood is notorious for it’s all out decorations and generous candy distribution!  This area is a great bet, even the little ones.

Berkeley Hills (Mariposa Avenue)
This little tree-lined block is taken over by bands of trick-or-treaters heading from house to house with teeming buckets of candy. More like a street party, kids will delight in the bouncy house and elaborate decorations.

halloween-kid-costume

photo credit: Kei! via creative commons flickr

Looking for more Halloween fun in the East Bay?
Get your treat on early this All Hallow’s Eve at the City of Berkeley’s Harvest Festival.  Head over to the James Kenney Recreation Center for a celebration of the season that will get your little ones geared up with carnival games, a costume contest, costume parade, spooktacular arts and crafts, and more, brought to you by the City of Berkeley. Thurs, Oct. 31, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Berkeley. Event details.

Treat your kids to an afternoon of Hallo-Safe Trick-or-Treating fun athe Bayfair Mall’s Hallow-Safe Trick-or-Treating.  Kids will receive a free treat bag and are invited to go trick-or-treating, at participating Bayfair Center stores, which will hand out candies to costumed children. Perfect for little toddlers and kids of all ages. Thurs., Oct. 31, 4-6 p.m. San Leandro. Event details.

Kids will love to join the chills and thrills of this Halloween Community Parade. Bring out your creative, your creepy, and your cute for this parade that weaves down the streets around San Pablo Park in Berkeley. There will be a costume contest, a Freeze Dance, food, and goodie bags!  March in this creative, cute, creepy and festive parade that weaves down the streets and around San Pablo Park. Costume contest, Freeze Dance, food and goodie bags! Thurs., Oct. 31, 4-6 p.m. Parade starts at 4:30pm, Costume Contest is at 5pm. Berkeley. Event details

Peninsula

Burlingame (Cabrillo Avenue)
Just down the lane in the South Bay, Burlingame, offers sweet trick-or-treating with killer elaborate decorations and basically no stairs so even the little ones can load up without pause. It’s a small town atmosphere just south of the city.

Millbrae (Taylor Street)
This tree-lined street is filled with family homes nicely clustered together. There are plenty of decorations, and the neighborhood closes off the block to cars so that the hordes of families can take to the streets to trick-or-treat.

Brisbane
The perpetually sunny little hamlet of Brisbane is one of the Bay Area’s hidden gems for Halloween splendor. Full of town pride, houses all over this village go all out. Even the local dentist hands out goodies– toothbrushes! it’s hard to believe you are less than 20 minutes from the heart of downtown San Francisco. With hundreds of houses just near downtown alone to hit up, this is a guaranteed haul for your candy loving crew!

kids-halloween-2

photo credit: vdrg dansschool via creative commons flickr

Looking for more Halloween fun on the Peninsula?
Join local families and stroll the streets of downtown Morgan Hill, which hosts more than 1500 families at the Safe Trick-or-TreatClosed to traffic so kids can trick-or-treat at local businesses, who provide candy. It’s a great and safe way to enjoy Halloween. This year, there will be a Haunted Pirate’s Cove on 3rd street, plus mini-baseball, face painting, and loads of fun for kids of all ages. Plus the Caltrain station is right near the action for an alternative to driving.  Thurs., Oct. 31, 5-7 p.m. Morgan Hill. Event details.

And if the weather takes a turn for the worse, don’t let that dampen your Halloween spirit! Check our our list of indoor Halloween activities and trick-or-treat spots that will keep your little ones warm, dry, and spookily satisfied.

We’re always hunting for awesome spots to go trick-or-treating. Leave us a comment below and share your favorite spots for trick or treating in the Bay Area. Happy Halloween!

– Jacqui B and Amber Guetebier

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