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What are the best and worst cities to celebrate Halloween?

Whether you're looking to party or have trick-or-treaters in tow, we've got you covered.


Amrita Khalid


Published Oct 28, 2016   Updated Feb 28, 2020, 9:35 pm CST

Get out your witch hats, your Donald Trump masks, and your orange Kit Kats: It’s time for Halloween weekend. But will you be in the right place to celebrate it? 

Depending on where you live, Halloween can range from ho-hum to an absolutely mandatory celebration. It’ll be hard to ignore Halloween if you live in Salem, Massachusetts or New Orleans. 

But settling on the best city for Halloween overall can be harder than it looks. If you’re a single 20-something, your expectations for the spookiest night of the year probably look very different from those of your 30-something peers with children. 

Personal finance website WalletHub ranked 100 U.S. cities to find the “best Halloween city.” Its study compared 18 different factors, ranging from the number of costume and candy stores per capita to the Halloween weather forecast, to reach its conclusions. 

 So which city has the most hay rides, fright fests, haunted pub crawls, and Halloween costume contests? What’s the best city to take your toddlers trick-or-treating? Where should you live if you want to just treat Oct. 31 like any ordinary Monday? 

Depending on your lifestyle, here are the 10 best (and worst) cities to live in for Halloween. 

If you’re a millennial looking for a good time

Get decked out in your Harambe costume, fire up Tinder, and get ready for a good 72 hours of spooktacular mischief. Wallet Hub looked at factors like the number of bars, dance clubs, movie theaters, haunted houses, and pumpkin patches per capita to rank the best cities for Halloween parties and activities. They also looked at the average price of tickets to Halloween-themed events and movies. 

The best cities for Halloween parties

10. Buffalo, New York

9. Reno, Nevada

8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

6. St. Louis, Missouri

5. Atlanta, Georgia

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

2. Cincinnati, Ohio

1. Orlando, Florida

The worst cities for Halloween parties

If you live in any of these cities, get ready to stay home and bingewatch The Walking Dead. Halloween celebrations are either over-priced or scant. Costume and candy stores are few and far between. 

10. Durham, North Carolina

9. Virginia Beach, Virginia

8. Aurora, Colorado

7. Laredo, Texas

6. Jersey City, New Jersey 

5. Irving, Texas

4. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

3. Gilbert, Arizona

2. Henderson, Nevada

1. North Las Vegas, Nevada

If you have a couple of little goblins and ghouls in tow

Wallet Hub assigned a “Trick or Treater Friendliness” ranking taking into account factors like population density, walkability score, crime rate, the percentage of the population 14-years old and under, and the number of occupied housing units (i.e. potential trick-or-treat stops). (Editor’s note: It’s an absolute shame Ashland, Oregon didn’t make the list. The whole town takes part in the Halloween parade.)

The best cities for trick-or-treating

10. Fresno, California

9. Long Beach, California

8. Irving, Texas

7. Chula Vista, California

6. Newark, New Jersey

5. Laredo, Texas

4. Gilbert, Arizona

3. Jersey City, New Jersey

2. New York, New York

1. Santa Ana, California

The worst cities for trick-or-treating

Maybe just take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese and call it a night?

10. Kansas City, MO

9. Tucson, AZ

8. Detroit, MI

7. Baton Rouge, LA

6. Orlando, FL

5. Atlanta, GA

4. St. Petersburg, FL

3. Memphis, TN

2. St. Louis, MO

1. Birmingham, AL

If you think Halloween is stupid and pumpkin spice makes you nauseous

WalletHub assigned all 100 cities in the study a “total score” that factored in everything from trick-or-treater friendliness to Halloween weather to the number of festivities and candy and costume stores. 

The worst cities overall for Halloween

10. Anchorage, Alaska

9. Stockton, California

8. San Bernardino, California

7. Detroit, Michigan

6. Tucson, Arizona

5. Baton Rouge, LA

4. Oakland, California

3. Memphis, Tennessee 

2. St. Petersburg, Florida

1. Birmingham, Alabama

The best cities for Halloween overall

10. Las Vegas, Nevada

9. Chicago, Illinois

8. Plano, Texas (Yes, this Dallas-Fort Worth suburb goes all-out on Halloween)

7. Chula Vista, California

6. Gilbert, Arizona

5. Laredo, Texas

4. Newark, New Jersey

3. Jersey City, New Jersey

2. New York, New York

1. Santa Ana, California

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*First Published: Oct 28, 2016, 6:00 am CDT