By Leslie Albrecht, Jeff Mays and Amy Zimmer
MANHATTAN — The suburbs aren't the only place for kids to trick or treat. Manhattan's neighborhoods are chock full of family friendly fun, from a children's Halloween parade in the Village to the spectacularly decorated blocks of Harlem.
Here is DNAinfo.com's guide to trick or treating in the city:
If you live Downtown, head to TriBeCa, where neighborhood shops around Duane, Reade, Greenwich and Hudson streets join the fun handing out tasty treats to costumed kids. And these are no ordinary mom-and-pops, but places like Nobu (105 Hudson St.) and TriBeCa Grill (375 Greenwich St.)
Rachel Thebault has continued this local tradition at her bakery, TriBeCa Treats (94 Reade Street), since opening five years ago. "Given the nature of our business, I wouldn't buy mass produced candy, so we give out our own cookies," Thebault said.
In her first year, she was unprepared for the hordes of kids and ended up giving away everything they prepared for trick or treaters along with almost everything she had on the counter. Now, she makes 500 cookies and gives them out to the first 500 kids that come in in costume during the day, with the crush usually coming between 3 and 7 p.m.
Greenwich Village is famous for its Halloween parade full of sometimes risqué costumes, but the neighborhood also hosts a ghoulish procession for wee ones.
The parade, hosted by Community Board 2 and NYU, assembles near the arch in Washington Square Park at 3 p.m. It's known as the only kids' Halloween parade that's led by a marching band. After the march, there are treats, live entertainment, face painting and rides until 6 p.m.
For families on the Lower East Side who haven't stocked up on sweet things, the legendary Economy Candy at 108 Rivington St. will be parking a van in front of its shop to hand out free sweets to neighborhood trick-or-treaters on Halloween from 3 to 6 p.m.
In Chelsea, Time Out Kids and Mommy Poppins suggest hitting up West 21st Street between Ninth and 10th avenues for candy-heavy homes. Families also meet up in Clement Clarke Moore Park at West 22nd Street and 10th Avenue, then visit the tree-lined blocks around the leafy campus of the General Theological Seminary.
Families in Murray Hill/Gramercy might want to head over to Vic's Bagel Bar (544 Third Ave.) where the neighborhood shop will be open for treating for anyone in costume and mixing Twix, peanut butter cups and other candies into spreads (cream cheese, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff or Nutella). Vic's has also been offering a special Halloween Bagel ($4.50) made with an egg bagel and Nutella.
On the Upper West Side, kids know to head to the Hippo Playground for a free Halloween parade with donuts and cider to follow. The fun kicks off at 3:45 p.m. at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at West 89th Street and Riverside Drive. Then bagpipers lead costumed kids in a procession to the playground.
For neighborhood trick or treating, locals head to the West 69th Street Block Association's Halloween celebration. Police close the block between Central Park West and Broadway, then residents hand out candy from decorated buildings. Get there early and bring a few dollars. Candy distribution stops at 7 p.m. and the block association accepts donations to cover the cost of the annual event, which attracts thousands of kids and parents.
There's also Halloween fun to be had at the American Museum of Natural History. Join roaming characters Curious George and the Cat in the Hat for trick or treating, pumpkin carving, arts and crafts and live performances by child-friendly bands. The celebration costs $10. Come in your costume and bring your own bag for trick or treating. Watch a video of last year's event here.
On the Upper East Side, most of the area's co-ops and big residential buildings have private parties where they decorate their lobbies to the hilt and let kids ramble through the hallways trick or treating with their neighbors.
But a few blocks have become known as Halloween destinations for the townhouses that try to outdo each other with decorations and where owners hand out oodles of candy. In particular, East 78th Street has turned into an unofficial trick or treat strip. It started on the block between Park and Lexington Avenues but now stretches from Third up to Madison.
"It seems like every year it gets bigger and bigger," said Billy Seridge, who has been a doorman at 169 East 78th St. for 24 years. Though his building doesn't let trick or treaters inside, the tenants chip in to buy candy that the doormen hand out.
"Some of the costumes are hilarious," he said. "They do a really good job getting dressed up."
Shops in the area also get involved, and for an extra special treat La Maison du Chocolat (1018 Madison Ave. at East 78th Street) will be doling out milk or dark chocolate squares to kids on Halloween.
Further uptown, on East 92nd Street between Park and Madison avenues, the Carnegie Hill Neighbors community group is hosting its first annual "Halloween Spooktacular" block party from 5 to 6:30 p.m. with with prizes for best costumes for kids, families and pets and for best decorated townhouse, lobby and store.
In Harlem, the best block for trick-or-treating just might be West 121st between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in the Mount Morris Park historic district. Houses along the block are decorated in scary themes and many will hand out candy.
Courtney O'Malley started the tradition a four years ago after looking for a place for her kids to trick or treat.
"There wasn't much going on so we thought we should have trick-or-treating in our own neighborhood," said O'Malley.
"This is real 'old school' Halloween. This is Halloween the way that I knew it when I was growing up, which was if you were going to get to eat unlimited amounts of candy, you had to really work for it."
She wanted kids to get outside and go door-to-door.
"I sit at the top of my stairs and make those kids come up every single one of them," she said, "and by the end of the evening you are so tired that you just want to drop and even stop eating candy."
When other blocks heard about what West 121st Street was doing they wanted to join in. The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association took the lead and now hands out a list of houses in the neighborhood that welcome trick-or-treaters.
The number of participating houses stretches from West 119th to West 124th streets from Fifth Avenue to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. It has grown to about 50 homes over the years, and Harlem residents from all over are welcome.
"It brings everyone together," said Syderia Asberry Chresfield, president of the MMPCIA. "We want everyone to be included.
In Washington Heights, the retail strips on Broadway and West 181st Street are popular trick-or-treating locations. The Children's Place on West 181st Street said they would likely be handing out stickers this year.
"We're excited to have the kids come in," said a store manager.
In Inwood, the Park Terrace section is a popular location for trick-or-treating. Kids can usually find people handing out candy at apartment buildings and individual homes in the area.
Another popular Inwood trick-or-treating spot are the stores along Dyckman Street.
And a sure fire way for kids to fill up their treat bags is a visit to Indian Road Lawn in Inwood Hill Park, where parents and trick-or-treaters visit in the the afternoon for a small town feeling Halloween celebration.