Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids can still enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating in NYC depends on who you ask. So, we turned to our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of the best places to trick-or-treat in New York City, so you'll know where to bring your kids on October 31. It's always a good bet to join one of the local Halloween parades, and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families.
Stores will likely hand out candy all afternoon on October 31, but as a general rule door-to-door trick-or-treating in NYC starts at dusk. Some buildings start earlier or later than others, and the timing also depends on the age of the kids and what time your local parade winds down.
Where to Trick-or-Treat on the Upper West Side
For years there has been a huge party on West 69th Street near Central Park West with candy, entertainment, and police controlling the crowd, and judging from the decorations, we have a hunch this year is no different.
Reader Howard says: "79th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues is great. All the prewar buildings decorate their lobbies and hand out candy to kids. Really cool." And reader Nina says to try 78th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.
Amy, one of our readers, recommends 87th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue: "The whole block gets decked out, brownstone to brownstone!"
One of our contributors who lives in the neighborhood says, 90th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues is also a good bet and less busy.
Ani says that "95th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West is closed to traffic and all the brownstones are decked out and hand out candy. Lots of fun!"
Where to Trick-or-Treat on the Upper East Side
For decades, 78th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues has been the go-to block for Upper East Side trick-or-treating.
Further uptown, 92nd Street between Park and Madison Avenues is also a good bet. Ghoulish decorations abound and there is plenty of candy for all.
Once you've had your share of fun on 92nd Street, head north. We've heard townhouses and doormen on 94th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues dole out goodies and one of our readers, Amanda, recommends 95th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. "Lots of candy and the brownstone mansion on the corner even has gaslights!"
Trick-or-Treat Spots in Harlem
Harlem has become a hotbed of Halloween activity in recent years. The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association sponsors trick-or-treating near Marcus Garvey Park. Check its website a day or two before Halloween to download a map of participating houses.
Astor Row, 130th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues, and Strivers' Row, 138th and 139th Streets between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass Boulevards are also good bets.
Harlem resident Jessica recommends Hamilton Terrace between 141st and 144th Streets. "The brownstones are all made up to look spooky. My family and I start around 147th Street and also visit some of the brownstone blocks between St. Nicholas and Convent Avenues and work our way down. The kids have a lot of fun and it almost feels like trick-or-treating in the 'burbs."
Head a bit further north for a spooky treat: A group of neighbors has taken to putting on a haunted walk-through near 153rd and St. Nicholas Place. Don't worry: The frights are mild, and there are plenty of treats to go around, too.
Where to Trick-or-Treat in Washington Heights
Reader Pedro advises, "Hit Broadway between 168th and 181st Streets. High volume of all sorts of candy." Given the street, we're guessing it's mostly stores doling out sweets, not residents.
Former Mommy Poppins editor Maureen recommends 181st Street between Broadway and Cabrini Avenue. "The storefronts are friendly and generous with their treats, and I love that Cascada Dental Spa hands out toothbrushes."
Halloween Trick-or-Treat Hot Spots in Inwood
Reader Beth says nothing beats 217th Street between Park Terrace East and Park Terrace West. "The house on the corner of 217th Street and Park Terrace West sets up a not-too-scary haunted house in its garage," she says, "and a nearby home puts some kind of window covering with huge eyes in its attic window. And there are always residents standing on their stoops with bowls of candy waiting for trick-or-treaters." We've also heard that many of the stores on Dyckman Street give out treats.
Midtown East Trick-or-Treating Spots
Begin your Midtown East trick-or-treating adventure at 56th Street and Lexington Avenue inside Sunrise or on the plaza at 56th Street and Third Avenue, where the East Midtown Partnership teams up with local businesses for its annual trick-or-treat with East Midtown event. After enjoying Halloween activities like pumpkin painting and a spooky photo booth, grab a map of participating businesses doling out treats throughout the neighborhood.
Halloween Trick-or-Treating on the Lower East Side
One of our favorite NYC sweet shops, Economy Candy, located on the Lower East Side, hands out free treats to costumed kids after school and promises "gobs of candy and chocolate to all trick-or-treaters in costume from 2:30pm-5:30pm." In past years, it's handed out 1,000 pounds of candy and hopes to eclipse that number this year! Pretty much any candy store, chocolate store, or bakery is a good bet on October 31, even though it's not necessarily an authentic door-to-door experience (but this is the city, after all).
Halloween Trick-or-Treating in Greenwich Village
It's probably best to stay far away from Sixth Avenue and the big Village Halloween Parade with little ones in tow. Nearby, though, you can hit up the parade in Washington Sqaure Park before making your way to the West Village for the real neighborhood experience where the alleyways and stoops are decorated to the nines.
Halloween Trick-or-Treating in Chelsea
This is a big one that we've done many times: Families gather in Clement Clarke Moore Park—known to locals as "Seal Park"—on 10th Avenue at 22nd Street around 6pm, and then walk up and down the brownstone blocks in Chelsea around the General Theological Seminary. Expect 21st and 22nd Streets between Ninth and 10th Avenues to be jam-packed, but you'll also find houses giving out treats between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. It's an unforgettable experience.
Where to Trick-or-Treat in NYC's East Village
Local mom Kathleen says: "Although there are no special blocks that do Halloween with a vengeance, Avenue A is fun because all the shops, bars, and restaurants give out candy. Often, a large group of families meets at Tompkins Square Park and lets the kids run around for a while, and then we all head out to trick-or-treat together. Just get the littlest ones home by about 8pm because there is a lot of drinking that night in the East Village."
Best Streets for Trick-or-Treating in Tribeca
We typically don't like trick-or-treating in stores, but Tribeca businesses decorate to the hilt and throw open their doors to greet the kids. It's a nice scene and sweets from local shops or homemade cookies from a bakery are hard to resist. The hot spots are Duane, Reade, Greenwich, and Hudson Streets. Many local kids trick-or-treat in their buildings to score the big payouts.
Where to Trick-or-Treat in New York City's Soho Neighborhood
Reader Katrin recommends the shops on Greene Street between Prince and Spring Streets. "It's the main destination for Soho kids."
Best Trick-or-Treating in Park Slope, Brooklyn
Brooklyn is home to an incredible number of kid-friendly Halloween parades and candy-rich neighborhoods, including the family-packed brownstones of Park Slope. Shops up and down Seventh Avenue and Fifth Avenue give out candy, and the Park Slope Halloween Parade makes a perfect jumping-off point to the revelry. This is a neighborhood where people decorate their houses for Halloween in full spooky style and offer candy from front stoops.
One reader recommended Third Street between Fifth Avenue and Prospect Park as one of the best stretches in Park Slope for trick-or-treating.
Our Brooklyn guru Ros suggests the less-traveled Prospect Heights 'hood "for those wanting to avoid the crowds in Park Slope. The neighborhood is the perfect size for little ones to navigate with lots of decorated brownstones (minus the overcrowded stoops). Most of the businesses on Vanderbilt Avenue participate as well."
Trick-or-Treating Spots in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
This decked-out neighborhood boasts a can't-miss event: A monster mash-inspired outdoor dance party at the Myrtle Avenue Plaza. For snagging loot, Clinton Avenue between Dekalb and Lafayette Avenues is a highlight. Don't forget to head around the corner to check out BAM's annual shindig, BAMboo!
Where to Trick-or-Treat in Brooklyn Heights
The charming streets of Brooklyn Heights are anything but dead on Halloween. The area kicks off the day with a sweet parade along the promenade and the fun continues from there. The over-the-top Garden Place and Grace Court Alley are the epicenters of the Halloween celebration, but side streets offer laid-back trick-or-treating, too.
Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill's Top Trick-or-Treat Spots
Reader Melanie recommends Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill. "Smith Street is a great spot for businesses handing out candy, and all the streets between Court and Hoyt Streets, especially Dean and Warren Streets. Everyone hangs out on their stoops passing out treats...honestly, all of Brooklyn is pretty good!" Nearby Cobble Hill is hosting its annual children's parade in the late afternoon.
Families flock to the Scotto Funeral Home in Carroll Gardens on the corner of First Place and Court for treats and Halloween fun.
Halloween Trick-or-Treating in Dumbo
Dumbo is a new hot spot with dozens of businesses giving out candy, plus a costume parade and more Halloween activities scheduled near the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge.
More NYC Trick-or-Treat Destinations in Brooklyn
Jeanne McCabe, mom to twins, says that East Third Street in Windsor Terrace between Vanderbilt and Greenwood turns into a Halloween block party each year with the street closed to traffic. "We give out over 1,000 pieces of candy each year! A neighbor across the street grilled hot dogs in his front yard and gave them to the trick-or-treaters, while another neighbor gave out Capri Suns, so kids had their dinner covered."
In Bedford-Stuyvesant, kids can follow the annual block-by-block list of participating brownstones and apartments put together by a community group. Neighbors sign up to join the fun, and then the kids know exactly which bells to ring!
Ditmas Park mom Gina says her neighborhood "takes the cake" on Halloween. "There is an awesome parade that starts with cider and treats at the house on Albemarle between Rugby and Argyle. Many of the beautiful Victorian-style mansions are spooked out to the max with Halloween decor to really get into the spirit, and the trick-or-treaters are never disappointed."