Get your ghosts and goblins all geared up, it’s that time of the year! Halloween is right around the corner, and the kids are ready for serious trick-or-treat action. We scoured the country to find the neighborhoods that go all out for Halloween with parades, costume contests, other-worldly decorations and the best of all—full-sized candy bars. Maybe you are lucky enough to have one near you! Keep reading to find out.
New York City, NY – Upper West Side
At the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at West 89th Street and Riverside Drive a costume parade kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Halloween. Happy revelers follow the bagpipers in a procession to the Hippo Playground, where they're greeted with donuts and cider.
West 69th Street gets blocked off to street traffic between Central Park West and Broadway from 4-10 p.m. Locals tell us this is THE spot for decorations and treats (get there early to avoid the massive crowds).
The American Museum of Natural History also celebrates Halloween in style. More than 30 of the Museum’s popular halls will be open for trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, fun with roaming cartoon characters and live performances.
More hip 'hoods for NYC Halloween can be found here.
St. Louis, MO - Holly Hills
This neighborhood knows what it means to have the Halloween spirit. They start decorating for the holiday starting in September. Visit Leona Boulevard for the highlights with neighboring streets such as Marwinette and Holly Hills Boulevard getting festive too. Up to 1,500 kids have been known to flock to this neighborhood on one Halloween night, so be prepared to wait in line at houses for candy.
Atlanta, GA – Grant Park
This historic neighborhood in Atlanta has a bit of the Halloween flair year round with massive Victorians lining the streets. These (possibly haunted) homes go all out for trick-or-treating and are close together to maximize your candy and minimize your walking. This neighborhood also holds a lantern walk the weekend before Halloween. Swing by nearby Oakland Cemetery to really get in the Halloween spirit!
Portland, OR – Alameda
The Alameda neighborhood in NE Portland is legendary for its decorations and for the motherlode of quality candy. Rumor has it that families in this very walkable neighborhood compete for the prize of the spookiest home of Halloween. Children's author Beverly Cleary grew up in this neighborhood and referenced area streets such as Klickitat Street in her Ramona series.
Orlando, FL - Baldwin Park
This neighborhood offers some options for dining out before the trick-or-treating begins and also some large houses that are known to offer the full-size bars everyone wants. Kids love it for decor that's spooky but not too scary.
Nashville, TN – Nashville Zoo
Every year, the Nashville Zoo transforms into a ghostly paradise during Boo at the Zoo. Fall Festival Field features carnival games, bounce houses, dance parties, corn pit and more. The Howl-O-Ween Hayride takes riders on a trip through the Zoo’s backroads to discover magical scenes. Trick-or-treat around the Zoo trail and uncover festive treats. Enjoy special animal, science and magic shows. Visit the Frightful Farm to take a Dying Traditions home tour or brave the Haunted Barn.
Philadelphia, PA - Levittown
Levittown has a great community feel, and the houses are close together making it easy on the little ones who don't have the stamina to stroll all night. Many folks here sit on their porches to welcome trick-or-treaters, and some will deck out their homes in spooky decor.
San Francisco, CA – Belvedere Street
Halloween night along this stretch of Cole Valley is an over-the-top street party for trick-or-treatin' kids and their parents in tow. The homes are decked to the nines: haunted garages, elaborate lights and even a window-sized puppet show featuring beloved characters. The sweet spot is on Belvedere Street from Parnassus to 17th: It’s closed to thru-traffic. If you plan to go here, know that some of the houses run out of candy, so arrive early and bring a wagon or stroller as Belvedere is on a hill, which can cause early-onset fatigue in younger trick or treaters. Find more Bay Area trick-or-treat spots here.
San Diego, CA – Mission Hills
Families in the Mission Hills neighborhood decorate their homes to the max, so expect ghoulish goblins and creepy crawlies around every corner. Smaller children become a bit spooked, but families with older kids get a kick out of the haunted decor, which tends to be the most elaborate on Sunset Boulevard. Expect lots of candy competition: Residents often report upwards of 500 trick-or-treaters at their doors!
Get more San Diego Halloween hot spots here.
Alexandria, VA – Lee Street
This strip goes all-out for trick-or-treaters: They close off several blocks from King Street toward the south and create a huge, kid-friendly block party of their very own. Everyone is welcomed with open arms and candy bags, too, with streets mobbed with monsters and ghosts, and tons of little ones.
Boston, MA – Beacon Hill
The family-friendly and easily walkable Beacon Hill neighborhood is Boston's best for trick-or-treating fun. The closely spaced Federal-style row houses and narrow streets mean families are able to hit more homes, while the gaslight adds a perfectly eerie glow to the night's festivities.
Washington, D.C. - Embassy Row
The whole world can be found when you knock on doors along Embassy Row, where international embassies stretch from the Vice President’s home all the way to Dupont Circle. More than 20 embassies invite trick or treaters to explore cultures from around the world. You may be handed a few tourism pamphlets along with your candy bars, but where else can you say you’ve been trick-or-treating in Indonesia, Armenia, Ireland and Portugal all in one night?
Read more D.C. area recs here.
Los Angeles, CA - Toluca Lake
This LA neighborhood is legendary for trick-or-treating. Literally. Though we’ve never confirmed it with anyone who actually experienced it, the urban legend os 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!
Find more LA Halloween hot spots here.
Mystic, CT - Olde Mistick Village
This Colonial-era village transforms into a free, kid-friendly Halloween haunt filled with spooky decorations and an abundance of candy given out by the shopkeepers. Which shopkeeper is the spookiest? You decide!
Seattle, WA – Admiral District
After school, until the skies go dark, the Admiral District in West Seattle hosts its annual trick-or-treating extravaganza. This neighborhood/business district with walkable sidewalks pretty much guarantees a good haul in a short amount of time. There are Halloween posters at participating businesses that indicate where candy collectors can load up their treat bags.
See more Seattle spots here.
Denver, CO - Hilltop
This posh neighborhood is beautiful to stroll through with your little ghouls and is rumored to give out the most full-size bars in the city. Bounded by Colorado Boulevard to the west, 6th Avenue to the north, Alameda to the south and Quebec in the east, the city kicks off its Halloween festivities with a parade that starts in Cranmer Park and ends in Robinson Park the weekend before Halloween.
McKinney, TX - Historic Downtown Square
Scare on the Square is an annual event in the historic downtown district of McKinney held on Halloween night from 4-7 p.m. Enjoy a costume contest, pumpkin races and a concert performance by Rockin with Rhett.
This town is a mecca for trick-or-treaters near and far with hundreds of little ones walking the neighborhood street from 6-8 p.m. They keep the good times rolling at their annual Great Pumpkin Roll the Saturday after Halloween where folks bring their old jack-o'-lanterns to Mill Pond Park to race against others. Enjoy donuts, hot cider and tons of fun!
Phoenix, AZ - Paradise Valley
This neighborhood ranks high for walkability, safety and epic amounts of candy loot to be had. You'll find haunted houses and block parties here so be prepared with extra bags to pack out all the candy bars.
Kansas City, MO - Northland
Don your face paint and get the candy bags and head to Zona Rosa, the epicenter for this night of fun. North of the Town Square on North Stoddard Avenue, the festivities will include trick-or-treating and a haunted house.
North Charleston, NC
The City of North Charleston's Harvest Festival and Block Party features live musical performances, art and craft booths, costume contests and children’s activities. The fall festivities take place in the Olde Village of North Charleston, located on East Montague Avenue near Park Circle. Trick-or-treating runs from 4-6 p.m. and the event takes place on October 20, 2018 so that you are still free to gather more candy on Halloween.
—Kate Loweth & Amy Bizzarri