Los Angeles contains legendary enclaves where entire neighborhoods get into the spirit of the spooky season. The homes in these trick-or-treating favorites are awash in the latest animatronics and drip with glowing skeletons, screaming witches, and other macabre stagecraft. After all, this is the city that created the movie industry. So why shouldn’t celebrating Halloween be a big production?
Hordes of costumed visitors descend on the cul-de-sac formed by Toluca Estates Drive and Valley Spring Lane. The area is closed to cars, a security guard stands watch, and even the streetlights are dimmed—all the better to gaze in awe at elaborate tableaux that riff on everything from Edward Gorey figures to pop culture memes. So this is how Hollywood set designers and stuntmen spend their free time.
The scene on 25th Street between Montana Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard has evolved into an impromptu carnival as crowds tour yards festooned with giant spiders, makeshift graveyards, and inflatable pumpkins galore. Come early with the young ones, as teenagers take over the streets by 9 p.m.
Photograph courtesy of Damon Casarez
The Echo Park hood that was the setting for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video remains one of the best-preserved examples of Victorian-era Los Angeles. Along Carroll Avenue and nearby West Kensington Road, residents enhance the mysterious mansions with cobwebs, scarecrows, and other diabolical decor, creating the ideal ambience for the numerous families who turn out.
It’s all about the candy on tree-lined Milan Avenue north of Oak Street. The area is such a hot spot that kids have to line up outside the largest homes, but the atmosphere is mellow and the decorations low-tech (synthetic spider webs and not- so-scary ghosts).
The streets of Beverly Hills aren’t paved with king-size Snickers. But the section of nearby Beverlywood that’s just west of Robertson Boulevard and south of Cattaraugus Avenue, as well as adjacent portions of Cheviot Hills and Rancho Park, has become a Halloween hub. The roads are wide, and the displays get more elaborate each year.
It’s a zoo along Hill Drive, where the ten-and-under demographic seems to swell by 500 percent on October 31. Things can turn chaotic as tykes and their adult minders flood the winding street. Homeowners adorn their yards with creeptacular flair.