Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | October 27, 2010


Halloween - last year

We’re looking forward to Halloween this weekend, but there’s something I can’t get used to. Trick-or-treating in the afternoon.  When Halloween falls on a school day, trick-or-treating apparently starts soon after the kids get home from school. On weekends, it can start even earlier. I’ve been told the reason is so the kids don’t have to go out after dark.

After dark? Isn’t this supposed to be a spooky and scary holiday? I can see preschoolers trick-or-treating in the late afternoon so they won’t get scared (and so they can get to bed at a reasonable time), but the rest of the kids?

Growing up in Arizona, and living  in California (and even in Wisconsin), kids go out after dinner. Sure, we didn’t have a leisurely dinner lasting til 7:30, but they kids had dinner, it was dark, and they went out.

One friend told me that her middle school child will be trick-or-treating with friends – and no parents this year (the kid wants some independence). She suggested they start at 1:30 p.m. because it gets dark so early. It doesn’t get dark til after 6:00. ONE THIRTY?

We went trick-or-treating with some neighbors last year, and one brought his beer wagon. He pulled along a Red Flyer filled with ice cold beer bottles, and hot appetizers! That was fun and I highly suggest you do that this year. We almost bought a wagon just for the occasion.

Okay, one more odd thing. Trunk-or-treating. Bring your decorated car to a parking lot. Bring lots of candy. Your child walks around the parking lot getting candy from different cars. “Because the event is held in one central location, children are not forced to cross streets and climb stairs.” Forcing them to climb stairs and cross streets? How MEAN of those parents. If your child is able-bodied and can’t climb a stair or cross a street holding your hand, maybe they aren’t old enough to go trick-or-treating. What’s the point of living in a very nice (safe) suburb if you feel the need to trick-or-treat in a parking lot?

Just saw that the event was cancelled, due to a “shortage of car trunks and volunteers.” Sounds like other locals feel the same way I do!

Let’s take a poll – actually two polls.

1. What time do you start trick-or-treating?

2. What time do you think we’ll get our first doorbell ring?


  1. We start early evening, especially on school nights. Keep in mind that part of why Daylight Savings was switched was to give more Halloween daylight! But no one here does it in the afternoon, other than maybe a few toddlers before early bedtimes.
    Trick or treating after school wouldn’t work here because enough people aren’t home from work.
    But if it did…my kids would be out for hours!

  2. Trick or treating starts at our house at 6:30. Part of the fun is being in the dark! We do a Trunk or Treat at our church, but it is never on Halloween Night – this year it’s the 29th. Everyone decorates their cars, some have games, we do a chili cookoff, bring carved pumpkins for judging, and have a great time. Then the kids T or T in their own neighborhood on the actual day.

    I predict your first doorbell ring will be at 5:15. I for one am not answering until about 6:00!

  3. This is not something I ever got worked up about. I do not recall seeing big kids trick or treating before sunset. Wherever we lived (and we’ve lived in lots of different places), we only got occasional toddlers trick or treating before nightfall, and I would always give them a little extra candy.
    What I hate is older trick or treaters. Please write an article on that subject. I don’t think kids should be trick or treating when they are high schoolers. It’s time to stop by the end of middle school.

  4. If high school kids are in costume I think it’s fine. Better they’re asking for candy than throwing eggs, TPing people’s homes, etc.

    • I agree that trick or treating is better than throwing eggs! Somehow, if I forbid my 15-year old daughter from going trick or treating, I don’t think I have to worry about HER throwing eggs!
      I read an article recently by a woman who was answering the question of whether we should ban trick or treating by high schoolers whose parents do not have the common sense to stop them. Some people, particularly the elderly and single women, are scared to answer the door to 6′ tall trick or treaters. The author had gone out trick or treating herself while in high school. A neighbor looked at her with disdain and said, “You, too? Aren’t you a little old?” The author never went trick or treating again. Some teens, she argued, need to be shamed into stopping.

  5. You are hilarious!
    We will start at 6 when they start “Safe Streets” in our neighborhood… closing off the streets to traffic! The rotary delivers candy to all the homes in the neighborhood and then everyone is out on their driveways giving it out.. there is even a haunted house in someone’s garage. It’s great fun!!

    • Gotta love when someone pays for the candy you give out! Your cakes will be featured on Frisco Kids next week!

  6. We do pizza and scary stories at 5:30 for the neighborhood munchkins, then trick-or-treating starts at 6:30 and goes until 8:30/9:00. Darkness is key; so is the beer wagon–I hadn’t thought of adding appetizers, but we’ll try that this year! We were actually just wondering how we were going to celebrate when the kids are too big to go around to follow with the beer wagon. At this point, we also know the houses that give out drinkable “treats” for the adults, as well as candy for the kids! We definitely all love Halloween!

    • Liquid treats for adults – I LOVE that! I need to come to your area.

  7. Given our Sunday afternoon plans of pizza, wine and knife wielding children, I just hope that we, and the rest of our 30 guests finish carving our pumpkins before Halloween is over!! Trick or Treating in our neighborhood pretty much starts as soon as the jack-o-lanterns are actually glowing — i.e. 6-ish.

    I predict your 1st candy takers will arrive at 4:15.

    • I think they’ll be here WAY earlier than 4:15 but I’ll note your response. Have fun carving pumpkins and cleaning up after 40 guests!

  8. I do wonder if daylight trick-or-treating is mostly (or only) a NY metro area thing. I thought afternoons were when everyone did it, until I moved to California and realized nobody else goes early. Of course where I grew up, evening on Halloween was for teenagers armed with cartons of eggs and cans of shaving cream, so there were valid reasons to wrap up trick-or-treating early. I haven’t seen any egging here in Westfield yet, but there is “Mischief Night,” which I believe is all about toilet papering someone’s house.

    I liked trick-or-treating after dark in Cali. It will never fly here in Jersey.

    I’m glad that trunk-or-treat was canceled. Lame!

    • I never heard of mischief night until we got here either. Just check the police blotter next week – you’ll see all the eggings and worse…done that night. Maybe we’ll stay up with our shotguns…

  9. Oh, and Mischief Night is on Halloween Eve. Never saw this in NY, by the way.

  10. […] our first trick-or-treater came at 2:30 p.m. So those of you who guessed 4:15 and 5:15 on the last Halloween blog post, either didn’t read it very carefully or didn’t believe that trick-or-treating starts […]

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