Now that Halloween is just about a week away, it's the perfect time to take a walk through some of Harlem's prettiest neighborhoods and get into the holiday spirit. Choose one–or all–and take in not just the gorgeous architecture, but the creatively spooky decor while you're at it.
1. Sugar Hill
The landmarked brownstones between Convent and St. Nicholas Avenues above West 145th Street are some of Harlem's most beautiful, but make sure you don't skip Convent itself: there's a coven of witches on the northwest corner of 148th Street. A skeleton shrouded in black lace greets visitors by the front door of the same grand house.
2. Hamilton Heights
For a glimpse of some of the most impressive homes in Harlem, head south and stroll down Convent Avenue between West 141st and West 145th Streets. Then take a detour through Hamilton Terrace, just one street east of Convent. Both the architecture and the decorations–think townhouses covered in bats (above)–are always a delight.
3. Strivers' Row
Historic Strivers' Row–located on West 138th and West 139th Streets between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevards–may be small, but it packs a punch. There you'll find all sorts of ghosts and spiders haunting the stately facades designed by McKim, Mead and White and other celebrated New York architects.
4. Mount Morris Park and vicinity
The stunning stoops between Mount Morris Park and Lenox Avenue are a great place to go hunting for jack o'lanterns and other ghoulish details. But if you want a taste of how Hollywood does Halloween, follow Fifth Avenue across 125th Street to the home of Harlem's most famous resident. This year there's a country-chic look going on, but it's not all serious–at least a few of the gourds have googly eyes.