One element of Halloween in Los Angeles that is sometimes neglected (at least by us) is Neighborhood Trick-or-Treating. We usually focus on show-stopping theme park attractions and haunted houses; when we devote attention to amateur Halloween events, we tend to note individual Halloween Home Haunts, overlooking the many streets that feature not merely a single decorated house but an entire block bedecked in spider webs and illuminated in ghastly hues, with lightning flashes and screams resounding from one end of the block to the other.
In an effort to rectify this situation, we have recently upgraded our listing of Halloween Haunts to include the following events and attractions available in Los Angeles at no charge. More of these are unofficial neighborhood celebrations, but there are one or two community events organized by local chambers of commerce.
Curious haunt-seekers can probably check out the decorations at most of these locations during the last week of October. Trick-or-treating and other festivities take place only on October 31, of course.
Previously listed neighborhood Halloween events include The Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration and the Montana Avenue Halloween Hop. These and other types of attractions for youngsters are listed on our page of Halloween Haunts for Children.
Carroll Avenue and Douglas Street
This historic Los Angeles neighborhood is famous for its Victorian mansions - perfectly suited for atmospheric yard haunts, transformed by locals into elaborate displays for Halloween. Consequently, the area has become a popular destination spot for trick-or-treaters from around Los Angeles, earning the title "The Haunted District."
Brentwood Glen, between Church and Beloit Streets
This upscale neighborhood near the 405 Freeway has a reputation for good candy and decorated homes with spooky Jack O'Lanterns. The nearby Brentwood Country Mart hosts a Halloween evening from 3pm to 6pm on October 31.
Walden Drive and Carmelita Avenue
Legend has it that costumed children visiting this wealthy neighborhood on Halloween Night receive full-sized candy bars and even cash in their trick-or-treat bags, but we wouldn't count on that happening in reality. What you will see is a street full of lavish homes draped in Halloween decor.
Best of all is the famous "Beverly Hills Witch House" (actually the Spadena House), designed in 1921 by Hollywood art director Harry Oliver with the deliberate intent to simulate a storybook residence. Walking by the unruly garden and murky pond, trick-or-treaters may think they have wandered into an elaborate live-action yard haunt version of "Hansel and Gretel," but the house looks more or less the same year round. The address is 516 Walden Drive.
Riviera Village: 1799 So. Catalina Avenue, 90277
It's not the Southern France; it's the South Bay! Designed to simulate the French Riviera, this secluded shopping center offers six blocks of unique stores, restaurants, and cafes. Every Halloween, there is an early evening (more like twilight) round of trick-or-treating for youngsters, after which families can remain for dinner (preferably overlooking the Pacific Ocean).
From 4pm to 6pm, Riviera Village shuts down the streets from Catalina Avenue I to Palos Verdes Boulevard; during that time, kids may visit local businesses for candy, or they can enjoy Halloween puppet shows.
If you feel 6pm is a little too early to curtail your Halloween activities, you can trek over to Torrance, home of two excellent haunts: The Haunted Shack (an amateur attraction with pro quality) and the Revenge of the Ninja Maze and Block Party (a community event with games and a scary walk-through).
Kersting Court: 51 N Baldwin Avenue, 91024
East of Pasadena and just below the San Gabriel Mountains, this well-to-do community seems like the last place in Los Angeles for a Halloween event; nevertheless, the City of Sierra Madre offers several Halloween Happenings, which visitors can enjoy while in the neighborhood. Local business provide candy in Kersting Court, on Sierra Madre Boulevard between Baldwin Avenue and Lima Avenue. The fire department leads a costume parade, also from Kersting Court, at 5pm, and there is a costume contest at 5:30pm.
After that, trick-or-treaters can head to Alegria Street, between Baldwin Avenue and Mountain Trail, where the wealthy inhabitants apparently have the time and money to devise some impressive home haunts. The neighborhood is less ostentatious than Beverly Hills, but the large properties provide plenty of yard space for decorations and hand-carved Jack O'Lanterns.
Visitors can get a drive-by view of the decor the last few days of October, but the Halloween events take place on October 31.
Ledge Ave and Moorpark Street; Toluca Estates Drive and Valley Spring Lane in Toluca Lake
Not far from Warner Brothers and Walt Disney Studios, this neighborhood is understandably inhabited by many people in the film industry, who like to show off their yard haunting skills on October 31. Unlike other well-to-do neighborhoods in Los Angeles, this is less of an isolated enclave, so you may actually be able to find parking.
While in the area, you might visit the Toluca Lake Pumpkin Patch, which includes a petting zoo and a brief maze. The scare factor varies: early in the season, especially during daylight hours, the maze is mostly just decorations; on Halloween Night, there may be a few live monsters, too. The pumpkin patch is open 10am to 9pm from October 1 to 31.
Dell and Venice Boulevard in Venice Beach
Interested in a haunting seaside experience? Then head over to Venice Beach on Halloween Night! Parking is a nightmare, but your efforts will be rewarded as you traverse bridges over canals and view decorated homes with orange pumpkin lights reflected on the water. If you're lucky, perhaps a little fog will roll in off the oceans, adding to the atmosphere.
This is a beach community, so trick-or-treaters should not be surprised to receive healthful snacks mixed in with the usual candy.