When to head out to get the best Halloween candy is always a big decision. Reuters

When it comes to Halloween, parents and kids have different goals. Parents just want to keep their children safe, while the kids are focused on getting the most candy. For both, the secret is the same: timing.

Kids all over America are putting the final touches on their costumes for Halloween Monday and if you are planning to go out in search of candy or will be chaperoning children, you may be wondering what time trick-or-treating actually begins. 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 with the titular phrase "trick or treats" — a bit of a contrivance, since giving out tricks, instead of treats, is not kosher. 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 the hunt for candy begins. Halloween Monday will be a chilly one in the northeast this year. In New York, trick-or-treaters should expect temperatures in the mid 40s, according to Sunset is expected at 5:52 p.m., so 6:30 p.m. might be a good target time to head out door to door. Some municipalities will post their preferred trick-or-treating hours online.

If all else fails, 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 welcoming trick-or-treaters. The biggest giveaway? Front yards full of cobwebs, pumpkins and ghosts.

Elsewhere in the U.S., Halloween will be a bit warmer. Those in the Southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley into the Southeast can expect plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. The Midwest can expect much of the same, although areas near the Canadian border might get some showers. Out West, Southern California should expect comfortable temperatures in the 60s, while the Northwest could see some rain.