Here is a sampling of Los Angeles' best-dressed neighborhoods and spectacular light displays:
1. AGOURA HILLS
* 5831 Grey Rock Road
The Kaplans' theatrical 15th Christmas wonderland explodes with 225,000 lights, three video screens showing how the spectacular display was erected, a 300-watt stereo system, a laser show, animation and more. The Tudor mansion is a collection center for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign. Spectators donating a $5-$20 unwrapped toy will receive a limited-edition Christmas card enclosing a debit phone card for three free minutes of long-distance calling.
2. WOODLAND HILLS
* Oakdale Avenue
Candy Cane Lane, a four-block neighborhood of ranch-style homes, is tucked away like a magical world, lighting up the community as it has for almost half a century. Its dazzling salutes using Yuletide ornaments can be found within the boundaries of Oxnard Street, Corbin and Winnetka avenues, and the Ventura Freeway.
* 513 N. Florence St.
Every year for almost a quarter-century, Dick Norton--a frequent winner in Burbank's annual Holiday Outdoor Decorating Contest--takes three weeks to assemble his Christmas array of snowmen, trains, Ferris wheel with dolls, teddy bears on flying swings, and merry-go-round. But his neighbors haven't given up trying to outdo him. For a list of addresses of this year's other contestants, contact Burbank's public information office at (818) 953-8727. Some homes that will be judged are at 2001 Richard St., 529 N. Florence St., 730 Clybourn Ave., 1415 Morningside Dr., 1625 N. Brighton St. and 1421 N. Naomi St.
4. EAGLE ROCK
* 4364 York Blvd.
For 35 years, the Meltons, now in their 70s, have kept the holiday magic alive in their front yard with thousands of lights, Santa riding an old-fashioned bike with a big front wheel, a 10-foot angel and a Nativity scene. Several viewers have offered to pay the electric bill so the Meltons won't have to turn the lights off at 10 p.m., but the Meltons declined, so it's lights out at 10.
5. LA CANADA-FLINTRIDGE
* 4951 Indianola Way
Every Christmas for the past four years, 13-year-old Robert Illian has plugged in thousands of lights, a 15-foot Ferris wheel, a gondola that transports stuffed animals to the roof and back, a merry-go-round and a sleigh that teeters on the edge of the roof. Meanwhile, his parents stand by, watching their electric meter spin. Robert constructed everything himself, including the fake-snow couple, the cutout ice skaters, the gondola and the seesaw.
* 1960 Mendocino Lane
Like a community castle, the Mediterranean-style 1922 mansion owned by ice cream magnate George Balian sits majestically aglow with thousands of lights at the fork of Mendocino Lane and Glenview Terrace during the holidays. The lights will be turned on Dec. 14.
* Christmas Tree Lane
Thousands of visitors' cars--with their headlights off--drive through what looks like an electrically enchanted forest of 110-year-old cedars, towering 100 feet high along a one-mile stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue between Woodbury Road and Altadena Drive.
* Upper Hastings Ranch
For 38 years, residents have put together showy Christmas displays to adorn their houses and yards, competing for prizes awarded by the neighborhood association. More than 1,100 homes in a 44-block area north of Sierra Madre Boulevard and west of Michillinda Avenue take part.
* Castle Place and Kings Row Avenue
The Patterson and Kamppila homes are among the 30 households on this cul-de-sac caught up in a decorating frenzy. Between them, the two houses have a life-size Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in a rooftop sleigh, Nativity scenes, lights, reindeer and angels. Even the trees that line the street are wrapped with aluminum foil and spirals of plastic ribbon. 9. NAPLES
* Bay Shore Walk
In Long Beach, waterfront homes are elaborately decorated on one side and Christmas trees formed by strands of lights shimmer from water-borne platforms on the other side.
10. LONG BEACH
* Daisy Avenue
"Christmas Tree Lane," a four-block stretch between 20th Street and Pacific Coast Highway in the Wrigley district, boasts artistic scenes, including hand-painted wooden cut-outs of skaters on a plywood pond. The displays, primarily scaled-down Christmas cottages, have been erected between stately cedar trees wreathed in Christmas lights. Caroling and dance performances take place on an outdoor stage between 7 and 9 p.m., Fridays through Sundays.
* Doris Way, Robert and Reese roads, Carol and Linda drives and Sharynne Lane