Halloween Schedule & Guidelines

Hourly Halloween Guide

On October 31, your little ghouls and boys will be twitching (probably from a sugar rush) to start ringing doorbells. There might not be any rigid trick-or-treating rules, but here's our hourly guide to avoid the worst of the trick-or-treating threats.

2 to 3 p.m. School's Out

The bell rings and costumed kids head home to prepare for trick-or-treating. Silly, I know, seeing as they are already hopped up on glazed doughnuts from their school's Halloween party.

4 to 5 p.m. Last-Minute Preparations

It's too early to start trick-or-treating. Parents, try bribing your children to stay calm and wait. Using candy as a bribe won't work. Trust me. Instead, keep kids busy with Halloween activities like scaring mom in the kitchen or making last-minute costume tweaks.

5 to 6 p.m. Halloween Dinner & Round 1 of Knocking

The sun is still up so it's a good time for first-time trick-or-treaters. Be sure to send your kids off with a full belly of spooky food - spaghetti with olives becomes intestines with eyeballs. Sausages and BBQ sauce becomes bloody fingers. You get the point.

6 to 7 p.m. Trick-or-Treating Prime Time

The neighborhood will be swarming with dead football players, superheroes and fairy princesses. Your kids have probably mapped out the neighborhoods based on candy rankings. Hit up the king-size-candy-bar areas first - they run out fast.

7 to 8 p.m. Round up the Young Ones

When the sun goes down kids younger than 8 should be on the home stretch. Be sure to have a cup of hot chocolate waiting for them when they arrive. Because surely they haven't had enough sugar already.

8 to 9 p.m. Halloween Night is Losing its Magic

In other words, the ding-donging is starting to frazzle mom, dad and the dog. Older kids will still be out at this time, but the treat selection is dwindling. At this hour, trick-or-treaters start getting the dreaded penny or the year-old butterscotch.

9 to 10 p.m. Last Call for Candy

If you're over the age of 12 and still out at this hour, don't expect every home to meet you cheerfully at the door.

10 to 11 p.m. Scary Movie Time

Trick-or-treating is officially over, but that doesn't mean the fun has to end. Pop some popcorn, sort through candy, turn on "Hocus Pocus" and dream of next year - only 365 days to go.

Trick or Treating Tips

  • Go in a group accompanied by at least one about and carry a flashlight.
  • Make sure everyone stays in the group and stragglers don't get left behind.
  • Make sure you can see where you are going if you are wearing a mask.
  • Obey all traffic laws, cross streets only at crosswalks and walk on the sidewalk at all times.
  • Put reflective tape on costumes to make them visible to drivers at night.
  • Stand away from jack-o'-lanterns that contain candles, and never go into a home unless you know the occupants well and the adult accompanying you goes in also.
  • Visit only well-lit homes with porch lights and/or other exterior lights on.
  • Wear costumes that are flame-resistant, and make sure costumes do not drag or otherwise pose the threat of tripping you.