The 24 Best Cities in the U.S. for Trick-or-Treating
Where are the best haunts for sweet treats and family-friendly, over-the-top Halloween celebrations? From Salem to Sleepy Hollow, there's sure to be a spooky trick-or-treating city near you.
Some American cities really, really love Halloween. Some have a historical connection to the frightful holiday, while others are just happy for the excuse to decorate, don crazy costumes, and celebrate to an almost obsessive level. Some towns hand out gobs of candy and others engage artisans to carve thousands of spectacular Jack-o’-lanterns. Many take great pains to ensure the trick-or-treating experience is safe for kids of all ages. For an unforgettable Halloween experience, consider a visit to one of these October-loving towns.
1. Anoka, Minnesota
The self-proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World,” Anoka, Minn., is a town that takes this fall holiday very seriously, with numerous parades attended by people from all over the Midwest. About 20 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Anoka is home to nearly 18,000 residents, and pretty much all of them join in the activities, which includes pumpkin carving and house decorating contests. Runners dress up in costumes to run in the 5K “Gray Ghost Run.”
2. Savannah, Georgia
This seaport city has long been considered one of the most haunted places in the country. If you visit, don’t miss the Hamilton-Turner Inn, Laura’s Cottage, the Marshall House, 17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant, and Moon River River Brewing Co., all said to be haunted by the dead. Also check out the city’s famously beautiful cemeteries. You’ll find plenty of tour groups happy to show you around all the haunts. During the Halloween season, you’ll find Halloween-themed bar crawls, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating through Savannah’s historic district.
3. Salem, Massachusetts
Salem’s annual Haunted Happenings event is among the most popular Halloween celebrations in the country. Throughout October, more than a half-million revelers attend parties, parades, and vendor fairs in Witch City. Residents and visitors also enjoy walking tours and special events. You might want to check out Bats! at Peabody Essex Museum, an exhibition all about bats and humans’ connection to them.
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4. St. Helens, Oregon
Capitalizing on its renown as the filming location of the 1998 Disney film “Halloweentown,” St. Helens celebrates the October holiday in a big way. The town of 14,000 residents hosts parades, costume contests overseen by a Queen of Halloween, a Witches Celebration and much more. The year 2023 will be especially meaningful as the movie celebrates its 25th anniversary, and actors from the film will be on hand to join the revelry.
5. Romeo, Michigan
Just shy of an hour north of Detroit, in Romeo, Mich., neighbors on Tillson Street go all out on Halloween. Decorations galore are on display during the last 2 weeks of October, and then on October 31, the trick-or-treating is next level. Safety here is top priority: Roads are shut down to vehicle traffic and groups of high school kids “patrol” Tillson Street to make sure everyone is safe and having fun. Tens of thousands of pieces of candy are handed out to kids from all over Michigan, as well as visitors from other states.
6. Sleepy Hollow, New York
Famous as the setting for Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the town of Sleepy Hollow, unsurprisingly, celebrates Halloween in a big way. About 30 miles north of Manhattan, the town opens its doors in October to residents and visitors, offering haunted hayrides, tours of Gothic mansions and cemeteries, street fairs, and parades. The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze is always a top draw—it’s a display of more than 7,000 illuminated, hand-carved Jack-o’-lanterns. And, of course, local celebrations include a visit from the Headless Horseman.
7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thrill-seekers flock to this World Heritage city to explore the largest haunted house in the country, but family-friendly fare can be found at the Scarecrow Walk, Boo at the Zoo, and the city’s acclaimed historic landmarks. In the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Cobbs Creek, historic homes of diverse architectural styles serve up eye candy while residents pass out the real kind on Halloween night.
8. San Jose, California
The Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is also a hub for Halloween fun thanks to an abundance of amusement parks, observatories, and performing arts venues. Venture to West San Jose for the best trick-or-treating, or take a tour of the hauntingly beautiful historic landmark, the Winchester Mystery House.
9. San Francisco, California
While the City by the Bay is known for its vibrant nightlife, trick-or-treaters can escape the bustle in the affluent alcove of Presidio Heights. Bordered by parklands and filled with old homes dressed in their Halloween best, the neighborhood offers endless spooky spectacles to make the holiday memorable.
10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Dubbed “a great place on a Great Lake,” Milwaukee offers the family-friendly charms of a Midwestern town against a backdrop of staggering natural beauty. In the Golden Valley neighborhood, Halloween revelers can trick-or-treat at nostalgic 1950s-era homes while stealing glances at the scenic Menomonee River from the Menomonee River Parkway.
11. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale’s Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival brings the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating to new heights: Over 20 hot air balloons serve as trick-or-treating stations before launching skyward and lighting up the night. The event also includes costume contests, exhibits, and a spook trail.
12. Denver, Colorado
Outdoor adventurers may have another reason to get hiking in this Rockies town when they head to the trick-or-treating paradise of Cory-Merrill. The South Denver neighborhood is rife with Halloween delights, including an annual block party where family, food, and fun are always welcome!
13. Portland, Oregon
Portland’s lush greenery and beautiful blooms aren’t the only things that give the city its colorful character. Grant Park, which served as the setting for many of famed author Beverly Cleary’s children’s books, offers a plethora of kid-friendly venues to enjoy on Halloween.
14. Seattle, Washington
While the Jet City counts many high-flying dignitaries as residents, Seattle remains a down-to-earth town for families. In the heart of the Laurelhurst neighborhood, treat-or-treaters will find pedestrian-friendly paths that lead to Halloween candy and lively, kid-appropriate adventure.
15. Columbus, Ohio
Fall fun is always in the air in this Midwestern capital known for an annual Oktoberfest in its German Village. But you’re really in for a treat when you venture to Smoky Ridge Estates, where retro-era single-family homes, colorful foliage, and sweet treats are sure to immerse trick-or-treaters in the sights and sounds of the season.
16. Las Vegas, Nevada
Who knew? The entertainment capital of the world has a quiet side: Tule Springs. This development, home to Fossil Beds National Monument, offers a welcome sanctuary from the noisy crowds and neon lights of Sin City. Here, tree-lined rows of mission-style homes offer trick-or-treaters a candy-dense oasis at the edge of a sprawling metropolis.
17. Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore boasts more public monuments per capita than any other city in the country, and Patterson Park is an exceptional example of this architectural density. The 133-acre park lures visitors with a fishing-friendly boat lake and a breathtaking pagoda, while Renaissance Revival homes in the surrounding neighborhood are prime picks for sweet-toothed trick-or-treaters. An alliance even hosts a Halloween Lantern Parade for kids to show off their costumes.
18. Dallas, Texas
While downtown Dallas is known for its eclectic arts and historic districts, if you head northeast to the Lake Highlands neighborhood, you’ll gain access to dozens of subdivisions filled with parks and prestigious hillside homes that are ripe for Halloween fun.
19. San Diego, California
Life is a beach in San Diego, nowhere more so than in the seaside neighborhood of La Jolla, where trick-or-treating is a community affair. Residents stroll La Jolla Boulevard in droves to enjoy the ghoulish decor of local shops. If you prefer to stick to residential areas, stop by one of the gated communities to shorten your candy commute.
20. Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte’s banking industry may have put it on the map, but its Southern charm and historical landmarks have helped the city maintain its prominence. In the historic neighborhood of Eastover, the old Manor Theatre and antiques shops are a stone’s throw from well-preserved vintage homes that take trick-or-treaters on a trip back in time.
21. Austin, Texas
Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin has a unique rhythm that can be witnessed well beyond its concert venues. Windsor Road, in the city center, boasts elegant Craftsman-style homes bordered by Pease District Park, a perfect locale for birthdays, barbecues, and Halloween jaunts.
22. Albuquerque, New Mexico
This former farming town in the West has been ranked among the fittest cities in the country, thanks in no small part to its myriad parks and bike paths. The San Gabriel neighborhood is no exception. Its tree-lined paths and proximity to the Sandia Mountains make it a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, while well-stocked candy bowls make it a must-stop spot for trick-or-treaters.
23. Nashville, Tennessee
True to its nickname, Music City USA, Nashville annually hosts more than a dozen major performing arts events, including the famed Country Music Association Awards. For treats and tunes, venture to Green Hills, where the Bluebird Cafe draws songwriters, The Mall at Green Hills lures shoppers, and leafy streets entice candy hunters on Halloween night.
24. Washington, D.C.
You don’t have to tour the White House to be wowed by the sights of our nation’s capital. Head northwest to American University Park to observe more than 200 years of history reflected in the neighborhood’s 2,700 homes. Many of these houses feature porches or stoops that make them easily accessible to trick-or-treaters.