trick or treating
Find out when you can start trick-or-treating this Halloween. Pictured are children in costume during Halloween for the traditional trick-or-treating practice in Santiago on Oct. 31, 2014. Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

When it’s Halloween day, it can be hard to tell kids they have to wait a few more hours until trick-or-treating hours. Here’s your Oct. 31 guide to know when it’s time to tell kids Halloween 2018 has officially begun.

The tricky part about Halloween isn’t just the tricks, it’s also knowing when it is an appropriate time to start ringing your neighbors door bells and asking for candy. While the tradition start time varies based on region, it is common for most to start the Halloween tradition after the sun has gone down for the evening. Starting anytime after sunset is playing it safe. Though, it is worth mentioning that some younger Halloween celebrators star as soon as the afternoon in order to steer clear of the scarier costumes.

If you’re planning to start trick-or-treating just as the sun begins to set, you’ll want to head out with candy bag in hand at just before 6 p.m. EDT. Time and Date reports the sun is expected to set on Oct. 31 at exactly 5:53 p.m. in New York. For reference, West Coasters in Los Angeles can expect the sun to go down at 6 p.m. on Halloween night.

No matter what time you decide to trick-or-treat, it’s critical to pay attention to safety, even if you’re hitting the streets before it’s fully dark outside. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises those participating in the holiday to never trick-or-treat alone and to always have a trusted adult nearby. It is also advised to wear reflective clothing when walking at night and to use a flashlight so drivers can see you from the street. Trick-or-treaters should also remember to walk on sidewalks whenever possible and to walk facing traffic.

Knowing when Halloween’s trick-or-treating starts is just as important as knowing when it ends. It’s important to have an idea when to call it quits. If you notice houses have their lights off, it’s usually a good indicator they are done giving out candy for the night or are not participating in the holiday. If you notice a lack of other trick-or-treaters out and about, it’s usually another great sign it’s time to call it a night. It’s important to also follow curfew laws, should your local laws enforce them.

Happy Halloween!