Who’s ready to scare up some spooky fun and score some serious candy? We’re showing you where to take your costumed cuties for the best goodie-collecting Halloween events for kids and which neighborhoods have the most epic decorations and delectable trick-or-treating. So read on for where to take those little pumpkins of yours to knock on doors.

photo: Little Italy Association

Mission Hills
This neighborhood goes all out with over-the-top decorations, ghoulish goblins and creepy crawlies around every turn. Residents often report upwards of 500 tricker-or-treaters at their door! Tiny tots might be scared by some of the more elaborate hauntings, but families with older kids will get a kick out of the spooky sights on Sunset Boulevard.

Little Italy
Get a jumpstart on the Halloween festivities (and have the next day off school to recuperate) at the 12th Annual Trick-or-Treat on India St. in Little Italy on Fri., Oct. 26th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For the first time, Trick-or-Treat on India Street will kick-off at the Piazza della Famiglia, Little Italy’s newest piazza in the neighborhood. “Trick-or-Treat on India Street” brings the neighborhood together and allows a chance for kids to trick-or-treat up and down India Street from participating merchants. To begin the evening, the Little Italy Association of San Diego will hand out candy to little trick-or-treaters at the Piazza della Famiglia. Attendees can pick up a map of participating businesses at the Piazza della Famiglia, located on India and West Date Streets, to find out which businesses will be passing out treats and candy at the fun-filled Halloween event. Families are then invited to take their map and head to participating businesses to begin their trick-or-treating experience. It gets crowded, so we suggest arriving early.

Del Mar Heights
This suburban neighborhood (just east of Del Mar) has plenty of treats and strollable streets. But save time to attend the Del Mar Highlands Town Center Community Halloween event. From 4 – 6 p.m. on Halloween, ghouls and goblins can trick-or-treat at participating stores. Several restaurants will be offering dinner specials too, so stick around for eats that are more than candy.

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Bressi Ranch, Carlsbad
Homes in this beautiful neighborhood are decked out beyond belief in Halloween decor. Many abodes look like they’ve been professionally fashioned with spooky decor, lighting, music and effects generally reserved for venues like Disneyland. The homes in this neighborhood are situated close together, which makes it easy and comfortable for little kids to go door to door in a short amount of time. Click here for a video of what it’s like to trick-or-treat in Bressi Ranch.

Carlsbad Village
The Saturday before Halloween (Oct. 27) from 3-6 p.m., cruise through Halloween in the Village. where kids can safely trick-or-treat at participating businesses. There will also be arts and crafts, a doggie costume contest, pumpkin patch and pumpkin bowling, a face painter, a witch hat toss, themed photo selfie stations, and the first 500 people will score a free Trick-or-Treat bag.

Encinitas
Don’t miss the awesome Safe Trick-or-Treat event in downtown Encinitas on Halloween from 5-8 p.m. This event attracts thousands of costumed locals of all ages on the hunt for treats and to behold the spectacular pumpkins that are carved by the Self-Realization Fellowship monks. Stroll Highway 101, which turns into “Pumpkin Lane” (Encinitas Blvd. to K St.), to view the pumpkins at multiple locations while dozens of merchants will hand out goodies to the kiddos. There are multiple Halloween-themed activities along the way and in The Lumberyard Courtyard you can enjoy music and games. Note: Self Realization Fellowship converts the parking lot next to their K Street store into the Queen’s Court, where little ones line up to share their wishes on stage with Her Royal Highness. Also, stop by the E101 office (818 S. Coast Hwy. 101) to pick up a free Halloween themed bag.

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Miramar
If you’re in the armed forces (or have friends who are), military housing complexes are some of the best spots to go trick-or-treating. A high density of families means tons of kids in costume and parents eager to share the experience.

Santa Fe Hills in San Marcos
Santa Fe Hills has previously been voted the #1 best neighborhood for trick-or-treating in San Diego––and for good reason! The houses in this community transform into festive and spooky abodes with carved pumpkins and decorations that wow––but beware––some of the decor and spectacles may be too scary for very young kids, so proceed with caution. If you do feel like braving this neighborhood, you’ll surely get an eyeful! While in San Marcos, kick off the evening with a fun Halloween celebration at nearby Jack’s Pond Nature Center. They transform the Barn with “spooktacular” decor and kids can play games and do crafts and pick up some goodies.

Coronado
Coronado’s “Downtown Goes Ghostly” celebration takes place on Halloween from 3:30-5 p.m. The merchants in the central downtown area will be ready and eager to welcome trick-or-treaters during that time. Make a day or weekend of it by checking out our insider’s guide to Coronado!

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Kensington
In this quaint community, you’ll see every member of the family trick-or-treating. Even the doggies venture out in costumes (on leashes of course). These happy haunts make for a terrific candy gathering experience. Park near the Starbucks on Adams and Marlborough then follow little ghosts and goblins deeper into this howlin’ hood. Homes on Edgeware and Canterbury Dr. tend to get backed up with lines, so be prepared for the crowds.

Carmel Mountain Ranch 
The highly walkable and stroller-friendly cul-de-sac neighborhood streets of Carmel Mountain Ranch make for easy paths to fill up your goodie bags. Little ones who need to make an early bedtime or want to pre-party can head to Carmel Mountain Plaza’s free trick-or-treat festival from 3–5 p.m on Halloween. Participating stores hand out candy to kids age 12 and younger and you can enjoy balloon art and listen to live music from 80’z All-Stars. Pick up your free treat bag near Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or at Angelika Film Center.

––Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea

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