Halloween falls during the perfect time of year in the Bay Area. The mercury is dropping and the skies are still clear. With the combination of crisp fall weather and family-friendly neighborhoods, the North Bay area offers some of the best trick-or-treating around. Dress up the kids and stroll the local streets for some ghoulish festive fun and as much free candy as the kids can carry. Here are five of the North Bay’s best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating.
The sycamore-lined streets of this southern Marin neighborhood are a popular kid-friendly trick-or-treating spot. At the foot of Mt. Tamalpais, residents along Sycamore Avenue decorate their homes to the nines and lend a truly festive air to Halloween. Trick-or-treaters knock on doors along Sycamore not only for the candy, but also to experience the party-like atmosphere of the neighborhood. The streets can become quite crowded, so make sure to get here early to nab a parking spot.
Historic McDonald Avenue is the destination for Santa Rosan trick-or-treaters. Many of the houses along McDonald Avenue were built in the 1800s and the homes’ age add an extra spooky vibe to Halloween festivities. The neighborhood is so spooky, in fact, that the popular horror movie “Scream” used the street for filming. Last year, John and Jennifer Webley, owners of the 1879 Victorian McDonald Mansion, staged a reenactment of the infamous Jack The Ripper’s dastardly exploits, with over 40 locals helping run the show. The neighborhood is best for older trick-or-treaters as the ghastly celebration can be a little too intense for a younger crowd. Bring the family and join in the fun with the several thousand other trick-or-treaters along sprawling McDonald Avenue.
The Armstrong Estates neighborhood is one of Sonoma county’s most well-visited trick-or-treat spots. The original Armstrong Estate was constructed in 1870, and the neighborhood was later developed in the mid 1990s to include custom craftsman and Victorian homes, including one owned by the winners of the HGTV Dream Home contest. The original Armstrong House was restored in 1996 and is now an historic landmark. Smack in the heart of wine country, parents and kids alike will enjoy trick-or-treating here as in addition to an abundance of candy, some residents have been known to offer complimentary wine tastings to parents who bring their own glass.
Historic downtown Petaluma D Street is a district full of Victorian houses. Most of the homes are fully restored and the entire neighborhood goes all out with decorating for Halloween. With roughly a mile of street to stroll, local trick-or-treaters delight in admiring the ghastly gravestones, witches, goblins and coffins adorning the houses in this kid- and dog-friendly neighborhood.
On every other day of the year, this suburban area of Mill Valley lives up to its name. However, on Halloween, the peaceful vision of suburban life in the Quietwood Drive neighborhood is thrown right out the window when local trick-or-treaters flock to the area to enjoy the lavishly decorated houses and free candy. Quietwood is a great neighborhood for families with younger children who are looking for more family-friendly haunted fun.
Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.