With Halloween almost here, many Americans are putting the final touches on their costumes and buying up the last few bags of candy at their local drugstores. But if you’re still young enough to go trick-or-treating, or if you’ll be accompanying children Saturday night, you’re also finalizing plans for the most iconic part of Halloween: getting candy from strangers.
So what time does trick-or-treating actually begin and end on Halloween? Well, that answer varies based on the age of the children participating and where you live.
Trick-or-treating is a tradition that allows kids to dress up in costumes and visit other homes in their neighborhood, where they ask for candy. While children’s costumes do not need to be scary, the supernatural origins of Halloween mean that most Halloween-related festivities, including trick-or-treating, happen at night.
Typically trick-or-treating begins sometime around sunset and goes until 8 or 9 p.m. This allows time for kids to come home from school, parents to come home from work and everyone to eat dinner before trick-or-treating begins. This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday, which means that trick-or-treating may start a bit earlier than usual.
In New York, sunset is expected to occur at 5:54 p.m. and it should fall between about 5 and 6 p.m. in other U.S. time zones, according to TimeAndDate.com. Some municipalities will post their preferred trick-or-treating hours online, such as these listed on the website Haunted Wisconsin.
And for those still unsure when to start trick-or-treating festivities, you can typically tell if neighbors are ready to give out candy by looking at the front of their house. Many Americans will leave their front door open or turn porch lights on to signal they are home on Halloween. If a House looks decorated with cobwebs, pumpkins or other Halloween-themed items, it’s probably a safe bet that its owners are expecting trick-or-treaters.
This year, Halloween night could be a bit chilly, according to The Weather Channel. While the northeastern United States should be dry through most of Halloween weekend, the Lower Mississippi Valley, Deep South and northern Gulf Coast are expected to see rain and thunderstorms Saturday. The Pacific Northwest will also likely get some rain, as will parts of the Great Lakes, Middle Mississippi Valley and the Ohio Valley.
When trick-or-treating in rainy weather, make sure to come prepared with umbrellas or raincoats, and you might want to start on the early side to avoid waiting in the rain outside popular houses. Wherever you’re trick-or-treating, many neighborhoods, cities and even government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now issue safety tips for parents. Most importantly, because there are no official limits on trick-or-treating, the website Halloween Safety recommends using the buddy system and establishing a curfew so everyone finishes trick-or-treating together.