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When it comes to trick-or-treating, there are usually two philosophies: Wait to go out until the sun goes down a tad to guarantee a spooky ambience, or be the first person ringing doorbells so you can cash in on as much Halloween candy as possible. So knowing exactly what time trick-or-treating starts where you live can be a bit tricky. It's something that can vary from city to state to neighborhood, and will often depend on the age of trick-or-treaters. Regardless of how you celebrate Halloween it's bound to be a fun evening, but knowing the schedule of the date beforehand helps everyone involved — parents and kids alike.
Whether you want to make sure that your trick-or-treater gets the best pick of candy or you're trying to coordinate trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, and costume contests, read knowing about the most common trick-or-treating start times can help you plan your evening. Just remember that there's no "perfect" way to do Halloween, or any holiday for that matter. All that matters is that everyone feels comfortable, safe, and has a spooktacular time.
SAFETY FIRST! Before you make plans, check the COVID-19 guidelines your town, municipality, or state have put in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus and its variants. Up-to-date information, including any curfews or mandates, can be found via your local public health department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization can also provide guidance via leading scientists and infectious diseased experts.
Traditionally, Halloween trick-or-treating begins sometime after dinner. Given that every family eats dinner at different times, nailing down a universal "start time" for trick-or-treating can be difficult. But as Savvy Mom points out, the 5:30-6:30 pm slot is generally when the youngest of trick-or-treaters head out in the neighborhood (with their parents, of course). Make sure you have your young, kid-sized Halloween snacks out as early as possible in this case, and save your more big kid-sized candy options for later in the evening. For example, full-sized candy bars are great (you'll be the most popular house on the block), but odds are a 4-year-old won't appreciate that full-sized Snickers bar in quite the same way that a pre-teen would.
If you feel like 5:30 or 6 p.m. is too early in the evening to go out, try taking a stroll around the neighborhood on your own before you go out with your little ones. If you see that a lot of people are out with their candy, ready to go (or they have it set up on their front porch), then that's a sure sign that everyone is ready to get the trick-or-treating show on the road.
Trick-or-treating generally wraps up around 9 p.m., according to Good Housekeeping. If you want to avoid older kids ringing your doorbell or knocking on your door late at night (maybe you have a baby or toddler sleeping upstairs), make sure to turn off all your porch lights and any other light-up decorations to signal that you've closed up shop. Alternatively, feel free to leave an inexpensive bag or bowl of leftover candy outside for anyone who strolls by — just don't be surprised if someone who's a little greedy ends up taking all of it by the next morning (can you blame them?).
Trick-or-Treat Hours Across the Country
Looking for some more specific trick-or-treating times? Check out some of the schedules for the below cities, as reported and shared by local news outlets. Just keep in mind that times might vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, so none of these are set in stone.
Atlanta: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Boston: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Chicago: 3 p.m. to 7p.m
Cincinnati: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cleveland: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Denver: 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Indianapolis: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in some areas
Las Vegas: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (for neighborhoods outside of the strip)
Philadelphia: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or later
Phoenix: 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Seattle: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Washington D.C.: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Again, each individual neighborhood may be different so don't hesitate to ask around your street, block, or cul-de-sac (local Nextdoor or Facebook pages for your area might be helpful,) to get a sense of when everyone is making their rounds on the night of October 31.
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