One of the best parts of Halloween for kids (and adults) is none other than trick-or-treating.
According to Holiday Symbols and Customs, it was already common in England in the 16th century for poor people to beg on All Souls Day. But trick-or-treating only became popular in the US after World War II, when rationing ended and candy was readily available again.
Now citizens all over the US (and the world) dress in scary costumes and walk through their neighborhoods collecting candy, usually after school. The phrase is a subtle suggestion that if a treat (such as candy) is given, the child will not perform a “trick” on the owner of the house.
What time do you start trick-or-treating on Halloween?
So, when is the best time to perform the candy-grabbing ritual? The general consensus seems to be from about 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (local time).
According to an October 2019 survey of more than 2,000 people conducted by Bid on Equipment, 40 percent of whom said they have children who trick-or-treat, it was found that the ideal trick-or-treat hours are between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to be, The Seattle Times reported.
In an October 2015 poll of 921 people celebrating Halloween conducted by FiveThirtyEight, the majority of respondents (more than 35 percent) also said it’s best to start around 6 p.m. About the same part said it’s best to stop trick-or-treating around 9 p.m.
The availability of candy on offer depends on where you live. But kids will be happy to know that most adults in the U.S. (63 percent) are likely to hand out some candy if kids do trick-or-treating at home, according to an October 2021 YouGov survey of 1,000 Americans. Unfortunately, about one in five adults (21 percent) will “act like they’re not at home,” the survey found.
Is trick or treat safe?
Parents should consult local guidelines for Halloween safety advice specific to their area.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following tips before trick-or-treating with your kids.
- Do not eat sweets until they have been inspected at home.
- Grab a snack before heading out to curb the urge to nibble on a treat before it’s inspected.
- Those with allergies should check the label for any listed allergens. Children should be told not to accept or consume anything that is not commercially packaged.
- Those with very young children should remove choking hazards, such as chewing gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys, from the Halloween bags.
- Check commercially packaged treats for signs of tampering, such as unusual appearance or discoloration, small holes or tears in the package. Any items that look suspicious should be discarded.
See the FDA website for more information.