It’s estimated that US households will spend over $12 billion collectively on candy, costumes, and more for Halloween this year. With all that money, time, and energy invested in what is the third most popular holiday in the country, potential trick-or-treaters will want to know what are some of the best places to be on October 31st. WalletHub recently set out to discover the answer to this question, and ranked the best towns in America to spend Halloween this year.
WalletHub compared 100 US cities using 20 metrics that included trick-or-treater friendliness; crime rates and pedestrian safety; the number of costume stores, party supply stores, and chocolate and candy stores; entertainment options like haunted houses, pumpkin patches, movie theaters, bars, and amusement parks; as well as weather forecast predictions and averages. Below are the destinations that topped their lists.
There are several great advantages to being a large metropolitan area for Halloween. For trick-or-treating, condense city living makes it easy to hop from one household to the next and kids can easily rack up large bags of sugary loot. There’s also typically lots of shopping options for costumes and candy, as well as several kinds of entertainment for all ages.
Taking the top spot overall is New York, New York. The Big Apple took first place in the treat-or-treater friendliness category, and came in third for the most Halloween fun. With winter still holding off at this point in the northeast, the city even took fourth place for good weather. Additionally, New York City tied for the most costume stores per capita and candy and chocolate stores per capita—so there’s no doubt that both those trick-or-treating and those passing out the treats will be well-prepared for a great evening. Nearby Jersey City, New Jersey came in at second place, just behind New York, in the friendliness category. Overall, Jersey City took fifth place.
Eighth place-ranked Boston, Massachusetts also got a great rankings boost thanks to its welcoming and friendly atmosphere, which came in third in that category. Boston and the surrounding New England area is a great place for “Halloween vibes” thanks to the many intriguing, and often spooky, stories behind the historic homes and destinations in the area. It’s perfectly crisp autumn weather also landed it a 27th place position in that category.
Second place over all went to Las Vegas, Nevada. Sin City topped the rankings for the most Halloween fun, most costume stores per capita, and most candy and chocolate stores per capita. It had modest placings in the friendliness and weather categories, but its sure be a perfect spot for those looking to party. Those without kids, especially, will likely find Vegas as the most fun place to spend a holiday with spooky attractions and adult-only thrills, and bars and nightclubs for the crowd that wants to party the night away.
However, if family-friendliness is what you’re looking for, check out Gilbert, Arizona, ranked 10th place overall. The Southwestern town topped the list when it came to the lowest crime rate; it also came in fourth for most friendly, third for highest percentage of potential trick-or-treaters, and fourth for highest percentage of potential trick-or-treat stops. Overall, Gilbert has the perfect recipe for a traditional night of trick-or-treating with young kids.
Other Western towns performed well in the rankings, even if they didn’t make the overall top 10 list. Laredo, Texas (ranked 19th overall) has the highest number of potential trick-or-treaters and is the eighth most friendly; Henderson, Nevada has the fourth lowest crime rate; and Boise, Idaho took third place for best weather forecast.
California towns domination the rankings for best place to spend Halloween, with especially good showings in the “most fun” category. In addition to the wonderful weather in Southern California and along the Pacific Coast, the state has plenty of fall attractions like farms and pumpkin patches, plus a great nightlife and entertainment scene in its major cities.
Los Angeles ranked fifth in the fun category and took a decent 23rd place for friendliness; overall, the City of Angels is third best place to spend the holiday. Nearby Anaheim came in sixth place overall, with a tenth place finish for most fun and 16th place ranking for most friendly. San Diego was close behind at seventh place overall, with a seventh place ranking for most fun and 20th place position in the weather category.
Even California towns that didn’t top the overall rankings made an impressive showing in other individual categories. When it comes to the highest percentage of potential trick-or-treaters, Bakersfield ranked second, Fresno ranked fourth, and San Bernardino ranked fifth. Santa Ana took second place for the highest percentage of trick-or-treat stops. Sacramento also took first place for the best average weather forecast on Halloween night.
Is it any surprise that Florida towns are both fun and have excellent weather, a perfect combination for a successful Halloween evening? Miami ranked fourth for most fun, tied in 20th for weather, and took 31st for friendliness, launching it into fourth place overall. Nearby Hialeah, Florida made it to ninth place overall thanks to its fifth place finish for most fun environment and 20th place tie for weather. In addition to Halloween, Florida is also the perfect place to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, thanks to its large Latin American population.
—To see the full rankings and data, visit WalletHub.