October 30, 2012 | 10:17am
Halloween used to be about spending time perfecting your costume, carving pumpkins with your family, and...wait, who am I kidding? Halloween has always, and will always be all about the candy. Come Halloween night, does your neighborhood look like it was wiped out by the zombie apocalypse (and not in a good way)? Don't go home empty handed this year! Here are the five best neighborhoods in Broward and Fort Lauderdale for trick-or-treating:
5. Pasadena Lakes (near Sheridan Street and University Drive in Pembroke Pines)
You won't have to worry about standing on a dimly lit front porch while the person inside scrounges up what little candy is left, or doesn't answer door at all. In Pasadena Lakes, everyone is well stocked and ready to go! When the sun goes down the neighborhood transforms into a spooky village, as almost every house is fully decked out for the occasion. The streets are loaded with little witches, aliens, and monsters (and their parents, of course!) which, somehow, makes everyone feel a little safer.
4. Victoria Park (Fort Lauderdale; Sunrise Boulevard and Federal Highway)
The entire members of Victoria Park join together to make their neighborhood one of the best for trick-or-treaters as the streets are flooded with children every year. According to the forum on the Naples News some homeowners went through "1000 pieces of candy in 2.5 hours" in years past, and this year is no different. In fact, the people of Victoria Park are so enthusiastic about the holidays that they already seem to be planning their Christmas light displays. So while the homeowners are prepared with pounds of candy, and their houses are decorated to the nines, make sure you get there early because this gem of a neighborhood is no secret!
3. Driftwood Estates (Hollywood; Between Sheridan and Stirling - from 72nd to 64th Ave.)
Sandwiched between three schools, the sheer amount of kids that live in the neighborhood make it nearly impossible to ignore the gang of little gremlins beating down your door. This neighborhood is more about quantity rather than quality, though. Don't expect full-size Snickers bars -- just a million bite-sized ones. Isn't the point to see who has the most candy at the end of the night? Besides, after you pick through your kids' haul, you can just buy a whole bag of your favorites for half-off the next day.
2. Hollywood Lakes
On Halloween, kids are supposed to scare homeowners with their monster outfits, but at least one person in Hollywood Lakes is terrified of the rugrats just for being themselves. "It's a zoo. It's a mess. There are so many kids around it's almost scary," says a resident of Harrison Street, who sees the intruders crowding the streets every year. "I've heard that they actually bus kids in from other neighborhoods," he says. Whether that's true or not, the friendly families here don't seem to mind the influx -- many houses are decorated to the max; these are the people who keep Party City and inflatable-pumpkin makers in business. Our interviewee, however? He's locking the door, shutting off lights, and hiding.
1. Harbor Beach (Fort Lauderdale; 17th Street near A1A)
Go east on the 17th Street Causeway and over the bridge, making a right just before you get to the Hess station. Don't let the guard station scare you away; no one is ever inside and it's just a deterrent to keep the riff-raff away. This neighborhood isn't too full of kids; there are a lot of condos back here (like Point of the Americas) and just about every other million-dollar house is empty (Presumably, the owners are away at a fancy fundraiser or a better party on a yacht.) But the neighborhood is mixed with doctors, lawyers, teachers, and judges, many of whom have little ones, so there are enough kids to make it eventful. Last year, a group of families teamed up and made the rounds. A dad pulled a wagon that carried the littlest kids, overflow candy, and... the best part: a makeshift bar -- from which he gladly poured drinks and mixed cocktails for passing moms.