Halloween in Brooklyn is one of the few times of the year when a small-town feeling takes over and brings neighbors together. Maybe it’s the high-fructose corn syrup or the cloak of anonymity that a costume provides, but in any case the borough without a doubt is a little kinder come Halloween and offers a lot fun for just about any age group.
Here’s a guide to the best Halloween neighborhoods in Brooklyn whether you’re chaperoning kids, looking for a terrifying evening or trying to enjoy some adult-themed spookiness.
Best Brooklyn Neighborhoods for Kids on Halloween
Is it the stately rows of London Planetrees creaking in the October wind? Or the fall leaves raked into neat piles at the edge of the sidewalk? Or the chandeliers flickering through lace curtains in old Victorian windows? Whatever it is, Ditmas Park is one of Brooklyn best neighborhoods for Halloween. The neighborhood is practically designed with Halloween in mind. If you want to give your city kids the suburban experience of having to run down a walkway and onto a porch to ring the doorbell, this is the place to do it. The expansive houses of Ditmas Park put on a nice show with elaborate decorations literally crawling up the side of some houses. The neighborhood hosts a small parade with cider and treats on Albemarle Street off Rugby Road. Kids won’t be disappointed.
The Society for Clinton Hill takes Halloween seriously. Every year, the organization stages a Halloween walk through Clinton Hill and Fort Greene that features fantastically decorated homes and generous givers of Halloween treats. This map highlights all the participating houses, which is great for parents and kids who like to have a plan going into their evening festivities. The majority of participating houses are on the Clinton Hill-Fort Greene border, located off Dekalb Avenue between Washington and Clinton Avenues. The real showstopper in Fort Greene is the renowned Halloween House at 313 Clinton Avenue. For over 20 years, this private residence has staged a continuous 20-minute spectacle of Halloween madness to entertain hundreds of kids (and adults) from the neighborhood and all across the borough. Every year, the show is something different, but it always features an impressive collection of local actors and creative types who pool their talents to put on a wacky and wonderful show.
For the past 31 years, Park Slope has played host to the biggest Halloween parade in the borough. This year it starts heading north on 14th Street and 7th Avenue at 6:30 p.m. Full of Halloween cheer and great costumes, it’s a worthwhile stop for any Brooklynite. Expect stage-worthy getups and gore as well as plenty of witty costumes that merge parents, children and strollers.
The real appeal of hanging around Park Slope, however, is figuring out a strategic course to get the most candy. Storefronts are a pretty sure bet for candy, but the quality can vary from peppermints to awesome brownies (first come, first served) at a Park Slope institution like Cousin John’s Cafe. If the most expensive houses give the best candy then start out on 1st Street, between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West. The Park Slope block with the priciest real estate should be able to afford some quality candy selection.
The trim, well-manicured brownstones of Brooklyn Heights may look staid, but don’t let the exteriors fool you, this neighborhood is known for its serious Halloween celebrations. The Pierrepont Playground is host to a Halloween Parade that is so familiar as to warrant coordinated costumes. This year’s theme should be lots of fun: Stranger Things. On Halloween night the trick-or-treating can get competitive along Joralemon Street, and on Grace Court Alley, where rumors abound about full-size candy bars.
Back in the 80’s, when Prospect Park had its first Haunted Walk, the center of the park was scary enough without placing costumed volunteers behind trees. It is rumored that more than a few kids came away that day with tear-stained cheeks and wet pants. Nowadays the volunteers are just as dedicated to creating a truly immersive haunted walk, but with more thoughtful theatrics and less maniacal devotion to terror. Take the opportunity to wander around the park in search of scary storytelling and a haunted carousel at the Children’s Corner or head to the Audubon Center for a workshop teaching young ones about creepy, crawly creatures. The Haunted Walk is this Saturday, Oct. 29 from from noon to 3 p.m. Meet at the base of Lookout Hill.
Best Brooklyn Destination for Adults and Teens on Halloween
Older kids and adults are in for a real scare and some quality production value with a choice of two haunted houses in Brooklyn. Those looking for an immersive experience should head to scariest of scary Brooklyn neighborhoods… Downtown Brooklyn. If the traffic and the warren of civil service agencies isn’t terrifying enough, the Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel rachets up the neighborhood’s fright-factor. Staged at the City Tech’s Voorhees Theater at 168 Jay Street, the Gravesend Hotel is a dark maze of scary, interactive surprises designed each year by City Tech’s theater students. It’s sure to scare just about anyone and will, without a doubt, impress design folks.
If you prefer a more politically-minded haunted house experience, then the outdoor exhibit called Doomocracy is for you. Inside a warehouse in Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Army Terminal, artist Pedro Reyes created an interactive art exhibit that evokes the very real fears of our disrupted democracy, climate change, food politics and much more. Plus it is free, thanks to Kickstarter, and you can see Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ghosts floating around.
With so many unique places to enjoy Halloween in Brooklyn the real question is where to go first. Happy Halloween. Be safe. Be cool. Have a blast.