Grayhawk in Scottsdale, AZ
Tim Roberts Photography/ShutterstockWith Phoenix on Zillow's top-20 list, Scottsdale mom Vanessa Gorelkin wonders how Scottsdale didn't make the cut, particularly when the Grayhawk neighborhood (where she lives) is renowned for its massive Halloween block parties. "There are bouncy houses, scary decorations, and really amazing lighting," Gorelkin says. "People really go all out with the hospitality, handing out regular-size candy bars and adult beverages for the grown-ups." Even the streets have spooky names.
Take your pumpkin carving to the next level (or just make it seem like you did) by using one of these 31 free Jack-o-Lantern stencils.
A Hollywood Halloween
f11photo/ShutterstockActor and celebrity Ian Ziering, of Beverly Hills 90210 and the Sharknado series, lives in Hollywood with his wife and two daughters. Although he's fiercely loyal to his New Jersey roots, he confessed that "Hollywood is the best place to trick-or-treat." It makes sense, he says, considering "the entire town is devoted to all things theatrical. And people living here don't have to go too far out of their way to make their homes look spooky!"
"Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, Ziering adds. "Having my own kids makes it even better."
We feel you, Ian, and in that spirit, here are 16 kiddie movies that will appeal to grownups as well.
Don't pass on South Pasadena, CA
Angel DiBilio/Shutterstock"South Pasadena, California is one of the best places to trick-or-treat in Southern California," says South Pasadena resident Noelle Brown, who is originally from Connecticut. "Because there are so few neighborhoods that are safe and the homes are close together, South Pasadena is THE place for Halloween," Brown says. "Many people decorate their homes complete with spooky soundtracks, and it's a safe, festive atmosphere. Families usually park on Mission Street and walk south on Marengo Avenue down to Huntington Drive, cross the street and head north. The majority of the neighbors pass out candy, so by the time kids do the six-block loop, their bags are full. The youngest kids and parents usually start around 4:30 p.m. That's when you see the more adorable babies all dressed up. From 5 to 8 p.m. the street is packed. One year someone passed out 2,000 candy apples. I can give away $100 of candy in under two hours."
South Pasadena's small-town charm is ideal, Brown adds. "Places like Brentwood and Beverly Hills are fine for trick-or-treaters, but many of those residents have gates, security, or houses that aren't close together, so it can be hit or miss."
Know what else you can find in Pasadena? The first newly-renamed Dunkin store (which used to be called Dunkin Donuts).
Candy in San Jose; thrills and chills in Fremont
Uladzik Kryhin/ShutterstockSan Jose, California, is on Zillow's top-20 trick-or-treat locales list, but nearby Fremont has the amazing Candelighters Ghost House, says resident Lisa Stambaugh, and it's the thing to do in Fremont. The Ghost House is a huge fundraiser for Candelighters, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for non-profit groups and community-based projects in the Tri-City Community of Fremont, Newark, and Union City, California. The Candelighters work on it for months, getting sponsors, creating the sets and props, which Stambaugh says is "amazing." Many of the "actors" in the house are local teens.
"The tour itself is pretty scary, but there is a good witch tour at various times during the day where the lights are on, the actors don't scream, which makes it perfect for younger kids: you get there and a witch takes you in, but you line up on the side for the Good Witch non-scary tour," Stambaugh says. "I used to take my kids when they were small, they loved it."
Did you ever go to a haunted house that was so scary that afterward, you wanted to bring a lawsuit? Well, this man did.
Lit up in Highland Park, Illinois
Sean Locke Photography/ShutterstockHeading back to the Midwest, Chicago is on Zillow's list, so then why not Highland Park? That's what Steven Goldberg, a New York attorney who grew up in the neighborhood, and his sister, Melanie, who still lives there today, want to know.
Steven remembers pulling in full-size candy bars and silver dollars as loot, as well as "star showers," which he describes as lights, lights, lights, and more lights on the trees. Melanie says that "kids get bused in now because the houses are so close together, and the kids get tons of candy, quickly." But that's not all that attracts the crowds to Highland Park, she says. There's the "shaving cream fights, and this show called splatter theater, which is a riot to see because every person in the show 'dies' a bloody 'death.'" Melanie would also like it to be known that she did not steal a full bowl of candy from a doorstep. Not last year. Not ever. OK, Melanie!
Ultimately, no matter where you live, you can find great trick-or-treating somewhere nearby, promises Trulia's lifestyle expert, Lynnette Bruno. "If you're looking for a place to take the kids, use a tool like Trulia's map layers to look at crime and busy streets. If you can, check out the area for yourself. See how many homes have Halloween decorations, how close they are to each other, and watch out for steep hills!"
Once we get through Halloween, guess what time of year it is? Holiday season! Here are 32 things you didn't know about the holiday season—you can use them to make small talk at your office holiday party.