There's nothing like trick-or-treating on Long Island, where kids can head to their favorite downtowns to fill up on treats from local businesses. Or to their own neighborhoods, where they know how to traverse every nook and cranny. Plus, kids probably have a good idea what houses to avoid and what ones to knock on twice for those sweet rewards.
Camaraderie among neighbors gives you a sense of community. But sometimes change is good.
So which Long Island neighborhoods are best for trick-or-treating? We prefer those that have houses close together, merchants who participate, are well lit, and have minimal traffic. Read on for our list of favorites.
Check out our Halloween Guide for more Long Island trick-or-treating fun, including these top events for kids and not-too-scary haunted houses and walks. For more seasonal fun, see our October GoList and Fall Fun Guide.
Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter if you'd like news like this delivered straight to your inbox.
Floral Park — Kids take to the streets in this family-friendly village that borders Queens. With more than one-third of its residents younger than 18, the town comes to life with houses adorned with orange lights and lawns decked out with spooky displays. Many houses here were built at the turn of the 20th century, letting kids hunt for (or avoid) "haunted" houses.
RELATED: Top pumpkin patches and corn mazes for LI kids to explore
Many of Garden City's grand homes go all-in for Halloween. Photo courtesy of the author
Garden City — Tree-lined streets dotted with majestic houses make for a beautiful night of trick-or-treating. Streets generally have little traffic and are wider than in most communities. Old architecture such as the Cathedral of the Incarnation and St. Paul's Recreation Complex on Stewart Avenue give children the illusion of "spooky" spaces. Residents tend to be generous with their candy, and many merchants along Seventh Street participate, too.
Long Beach — A good balance of apartment buildings and residential homes gives trick-or-treaters options in case of inclement weather. But if the sun cooperates, there's nothing better than breathing in the salty ocean air while you collect sweet candy. The West End's grid system makes it easy to navigate (the majority of streets have state names; Ohio Avenue, etc.). And houses are close together, minimizing the number of steps everyone must climb to maximize goody intake.
Syosset — This is a great option for house-to-house treat collecting. Syosset has many areas with quiet streets, low traffic, and festively decorated homes. If you find yourself on Azelea Drive, north of Cold Spring Road, stop by number 29 for an amazing Halloween display. The Steinkamp family has for years been transforming its otherwise normal home into a "haunted" house.
Bay Shore — Head to this South Shore hamlet for views of some of the area’s most majestic and allegedly haunted houses. You might not see ghosts, but some of Bay Shore’s historic homes along Montauk Highway are festively decorated. There are also many newer apartment and condominium complexes that make treat collecting easier with little walking. On October 20, enjoy trunk-or-treat along Main Street. If you can't decorate your car and provide treats, you can donate candy or goodies.
RELATED: Where to donate Halloween candy
Huntington's Halloween Parade begins on Gerard Street and winds through the downtown. Photo by Christina
Huntington — Nominated as a stroller-friendly community in Newsday's recent Best Places to Live competition, Huntington delivers the best of both worlds during Halloween season: a bustling Main Street, where children can enjoy linear trick-or-treating with shop owners; and also a number of beautifully decorated homes. The annual Halloween costume parade kicks off at 4pm on October 31. (Meet in front of the Huntington Post Office on Gerard Street). Children and adults are encouraged to come in costume.
RELATED: Parades and other Halloween events for kids on LI
Northport celebrates its trick-or-treaters, but be wary of its many hills. Photo courtesy of Northport Chamber of Commerce
Northport — This quaint village really delivers on Halloween atmosphere. Shops along Main Street decorate their storefronts, and many take part in the annual trick-or-treat event. Start near Ocean Avenue and work your way toward Northport Bay, then around to the residential areas. Streets can be hilly, so be prepared to take a short rest along the way or give a piggyback ride. You will be rewarded with awesome views of the waterfront and all of the Halloween revelers below.
Patchogue — With safe neighborhoods and a vibrant downtown, up-and-coming Patchogue is a great area for trick-or-treating. Start off by collecting treats from shops along Main Street. Kids can even collect tokens from participating businesses that can be traded in for prizes at a nearby pumpkin patch. Then head to one of Patchogue's family-friendly neighborhoods and join in on the door-to-door fun.
Stony Brook — The annual Halloween Festival includes trick-or-treating, a costume parade, scarecrow contest and free mini pumpkins for the kids. The festival begins at 2 pm. A trick-or-treating visit to the Stony Brook Village Center on the harbor will make you feel as if you were transported to Colonial Williamsburg. This idyllic New England-style village stimulates the senses of children and adults.
Port Jefferson — Expansive water views allow children to look across Long Island Sound for pirates (from Connecticut). While the hilly terrain can present challenges after the sun goes down, the village truly shines during daylight trick-or-treating. Cedar Hill, which sits atop upper Port Jefferson, offers spectacular views. And the cemetery at the peak adds to the Halloween lure. Be sure to ring bells in Brick Hill, the western neighborhood in lower Port Jefferson developed by famed circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum. You might even score some popcorn or cotton candy.
Riverhead — Head out east to one of the best communities for Halloween fun. The Halloween Fest is a weekend full of festivities, including a coffin race, painted pumpkin patch, jack-o'-lantern walk, and a trunk-or-treat. Kids can collect treats while going from one decorated car to another. Kids can also head to Tanger Outlet for some shopping mall trick-or-treating.
Mineola — A fun community with plenty of kids participating in Halloween revelry.
Sayville — Safe and friendly, with a great scene along Main Street.
- Make sure children are in comfortable shoes regardless of costume choice.
- While many of us rely on smartphone GPS, it is still wise to study your route in advance.
- Ensure you and your children are visible to traffic by using reflective tape, bright colors, and/or a flashlight app on your smartphone.
- Check all candy before anyone eats; avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Here's wishing you and your family a safe and happy Halloween.
A version of this post was first published in 2016. It is updated annually.