An insider’s look at which Bay Area neighborhoods are best for Halloween yard haunts and candy (of course!)
BOO! Halloween events are back with a vengeance and spookier than ever! While the entire month is a ramp-up for all things Halloween (apple picking nearby, corn and hay mazes galore, pumpkin patches—oh my!), they all build the excitement until the 31st finally rolls around. So start narrowing down all those costume ideas and use our guide below to find the best spots in the Bay Area to trick-or-treat!
The Best Spots to Trick-or-Treat in San Francisco
1. Cole Valley (between Parnassus Ave. & 17th St.)
Most houses have Halloween yard haunts and are totally decked out (think: haunted garages and elaborate lights) with the sweet spot on Belvedere St. from Parnassus to 17th, as it’s closed to thru traffic. Belvedere is on a hill, so crafty parents will head out early (to ensure candy doesn’t run out!) and bring wagons or strollers so shorter legs can get a ride. The scariest part about trick-or-treating in this neighborhood is the parking. Your best bet is to take the N Judah, 43 Masonic, 6 Parnassus, or 37 Corbett; or arrange for a willing driver to do a drop-off and pick-up on Cole Street.
Insider Tip: Try Cole St. before the merchant area (Carl) and up past (Parnassus) and some of the corresponding side streets for a quieter, decreased sensory trick-or-treat fix.
2. Noe Valley (24th St.)
The younger crowd will love trick-or-treating with the merchants along 24th before the sun even sets (around 6 p.m.). The hills surrounding 24th St. feature many darling decked-out Victorians, so wear comfy walking shoes and enjoy exploring as the evening wears on. Parking is challenging this evening so consider MUNI: the 24 and J Church run nearby.
3. Fair Oaks St. (between 21st & 26th St.)
Not far from 24th St. in Noe Valley/Outer Mission this street is also a great bet—it’s closed to traffic so tots can focus on candy-getting instead of car-dodging. Be aware that most houses don’t start doling out the candy until after 6 p.m. so grab an early dinner on 24th Street before heading out for trick-or-treating.
4. Jordan Park, Laurel Heights (Euclid Ave. & California St.)
This quiet, unassuming neighborhood is nestled between Presidio Heights and Inner Richmond where the homeowners go all out for Halloween. The streets are usually closed off so kids can roam safely and there are often food trucks to visit for once that sugar rush wears off.
5. Presidio Heights/Outer Richmond/Clement St.
The chic-yet-haunted houses of Presidio Heights would make Martha Stewart proud while the nearby Outer Richmond neighborhood can be a hidden gem to trick-or-treat with a little less fervor. The decked-out houses near California & Clement and 25th are the perfect, calmer experience for your newbies.
6. Sea Cliff
If you want luxe and spooky then this is the ultimate SF trick-or-treating neighborhood. The possibility of thick fog rolling in? Check. The sound of the sea pounding against the cliffs, heard only occasionally over the din of squealing trick-or-treaters? Check. Fancy houses with actual front yards and the quest for the elusive full-sized candy bar will keep everyone amused. It gets crowded after 7 p.m. so arrive early if you can.
7. St. Francis Wood
Two blocks east of Stern Grove, the massive houses (with yards big enough for fake graveyards!) and tall spooky trees give this suburban-like neighborhood in the middle of the city the perfect creepy vibe.
8. NOPA (Grove St. between Central & Baker)
In addition to trick-or-treating at the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Grove St., the neighborhood association hosts a costume contest, parade, and haunted house for one of the spookiest Halloween celebrations around.
See How the Houses in Presidio Terrace Have Decorated for Halloween
Where to Trick-or-Treat in Oakland & Berkeley
1. Cleveland Heights/Haddon Hill (just west of Lake Merritt between Lakeshore and Park)
The Hills are alive with the sound of spooky music! This Oakland neighborhood just west of Lake Merritt is famous for its A+, all-out decorations, and generous candy distribution which makes it a great bet for all ages.
2. Trestle Glen St.
Nearby, Trestle Glen St. off Lakeshore attracts families from around the East Bay, and parents are known to have just as much fun as the kids. Be sure to check out The House with a Halloween play and performances throughout All Hallow’s Eve.
3. Berkeley Hills (Mariposa Ave.)
The small, tree-lined block is decked out with ghosts and goblins, and the street is closed off to cars so kids can delight in the bouncy house and elaborate decorations. Parking super-close is tricky but doable, especially earlier in the evening.
4. Elmwood (Russell St.)
From College Ave straight to the doorsteps of the Claremont Hotel, this stretch of the Elmwood neighborhood is awash with elaborated decorated graveyards, detailed pumpkins, and haunted "mansions". It can get rowdy after dark when the older crowd comes out so be sure to take the youngest of trick-or-treaters early.
The East Bay’s best-kept Hallow secret just might be trick-or-treating on “the island.” The majority of the residential part of Alameda is divine for trick-or-treating for those kids whose bedtime is just after dark, from noon to 4 p.m. on the 31st, kids can trick-or-treat the merchants on Webster Street. Don’t miss the 300 block of Haight Street!
6. Piedmont (Ricardo Ave.)
This spot is traditionally one of Piedmont's most popular and festive trick-or-treat locations so be sure to hit it up for all the action—candy, decorations and costumes...it's all here!
Where to Trick-or-Treat on the Peninsula
1. Burlingame (Cabrillo Ave.)
Burlingame offers sweet trick-or-treating with elaborate decorations and basically no stairs, so even the little ones can load up without pause. Parking isn’t overly challenging, but it’s also right on the Caltrain line (Broadway Station) if you want to add a train ride into an already amazing night.
2. Millbrae (Taylor St.)
This tree-lined street is filled with family homes nicely clustered together. It gets a bit more crowded than some of the other spots on the Peninsula but it’s way worth it. There are plenty of decorations, and the neighborhood closes off the block to cars so that the kids can run around working out their candy buzz.
The perpetually sunny little hamlet of Brisbane comes to life on Halloween night like no other. This is one of the greatest spots in the Bay Area for Halloween splendor. Full of town pride, houses all over this village go all out. Even the local dentist hands out goodies—toothbrushes! It’s hard to believe you are less than 20 minutes from the heart of downtown San Francisco. With hundreds of houses just near downtown alone to hit up, this is a guaranteed haul for your candy-loving crew!
4. Willows of Menlo Park (Pope St.)
All things spooky and creepy can be found in the neighborhood on Pope as neighbors deck out homes lavishly in the Halloween spirit and dole out the goods generously. We love this spot as an "opener" to the night with the younger crew, elementary and younger.
5. Downtown Los Altos
Rather spend the night alone in a haunted house than deal with a sugar-crashing toddler at 8 p.m.? Bring those wee ones over to downtown Los Altos on Oct. 31 from 12-4 p.m. where they can trick-or-treat the merchants and still be home in time for supper!
Where to Go Trick-or-Treating in the South Bay
1. Los Gatos: Almond Grove
Tait Avenue in this area is closed off to traffic from W. Main to Hwy. 9. Houses go all out with candy and decorations and there’s no traffic on the street, making it safe and stress-free for parents while the kids roam in search of the best candy (psst: its Snickers).
2. Santana Row (San Jose)
From 10 a.m.- noon, families can trick or treat the row for a fun-filled day for even the littlest of goblins. Live music, pumpkin decorating, stilt walkers, and more are all in store in this bustling San Jose downtown spot.
3. Willow Glen
The Willow Glen area makes for great treats (without needing too many tricks!). The merchants along Lincoln Ave. between Minnesota and Willow will host a trick-or-treat on Halloween day. Babes-in-arms/strollers; toddlers, and preschoolers can head over from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and the school-aged crowd can trick-or-treat from 3-4:30 p.m.
4. Creepy Crawly Halloween Trick or Treat, Campbell
For the first time in three years, this popular event is back and ready to welcome two and four-legged witches, ghosts and goblins. The word on the street is that dancing zombies may be back roaming the street so look out for those!
Insider Tip: The South Bay is notoriously warmer than other parts of the Bay Area, so you won’t have to worry about a heavy coat crushing those fairy wings!
Where to Trick-or-Treat in Marin County
1. Mill Valley (Sycamore St.)
With beautiful trees and tactfully cobwebbed front stoops, Sycamore St. is Halloween Central for many Southern Marin families. You’ll also note the many family and group costumes that add to the festive atmosphere.
2. Ross (Shady Lane)
Shady Lane closes to traffic between Norwood Ave and Fernhill from 5-9 p.m. which makes it an ideal spot for families with young kids to roam freely either to burn off that sugar high or in search of yet more candy!
3. Tiburon (Bel Aire)
In Tiburon, the Bel Aire neighborhood (behind The Cove Shopping Center) features sprawling front-lawn “cemeteries” and other wicked goodness. Plus, flat streets and close houses make it stroller-friendly which is a win when the little ones are tired but the older goblins need more treats.
4. Larkspur (Heatherwood)
Larkspur’s Heatherwood neighborhood will not disappoint. You can follow the circle of the Heatherwood neighborhood, along Heather Way as it intersects with Diane Lane and William St. and call it a night. Even with dozens of costume-clad kids, this area is easy to navigate, even with a stroller.
5. San Anselmo (Sleepy Hollow)
Because a) you know you want to trick-or-treat in a place known as Sleepy Hollow and b) this area is low-key but festive enough that your little goblins will feel like they’ve really lived it up. This area is easy to navigate, too, which helps when you have a carload of sugared-up kiddos.
6. Bamboo Terrace (Terra Linda/San Rafael)
For those willing to travel a little further north, this area boasts outdoor movie screens, elaborately decorated homes and arguably one of the most festive and interactive atmospheres on Halloween night in all of the Bay. It can get crowded, but that’s just because everyone wants in on the fun.
7. Knight Drive (San Rafael)
This Glenwood neighborhood trick-or-treating spot is also a popular spot with homes decked out in ghoulish fun and neighbors welcoming the Halloween spirit to the fullest.
Make sure to capture all the fall fun—and share them with your family and friends near and far—with the Tinybeans app. The secure platform puts parents in total control of who sees and interacts with photos and videos of their kids.