Gifts and Holidays

The Ultimate Guide to Trick-Or-Treating with Kids On Halloween

It’s finally October, and you know what that means. Halloween is right around the corner!

Whether it’s a first-time trick-or-treating Halloween kind of year or you need a little help handing out candy, it’s essential to understand what you’ll need, when to start, and how to trick-or-treat with your child.

To help, here’s the ultimate guide to trick-or-treating with kids on Halloween.


The History of Trick-Or-Treating

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Children dressed up for Halloween in Jersey City, NJ. Credit:

Halloween originated from Samhain, a Celtic holiday that marked the start of winter. Over the years, the holiday evolved across Europe to commemorate spirits and the souls of the dead.

When Halloween came to North America, mean troublemakers started taking advantage, which made it dangerous to go out. However, it’s widely believed that going door to door to collect candy evolved from the desire to make October 31st a safe and enjoyable holiday for everyone.

For more information, check out this short video on Halloween History.

How to Trick-Or-Treat with Your Child?

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Is this the first time you’re trick-or-treating with your child? No problem! Follow these 5 easy steps to create the best trick-or-treating experience.

  1. Put on a costume. Make sure that the costume you or your child wears is comfortable. You’ll need to walk from house to house, so the costume mustn’t drag on the ground and cause a tripping hazard. Adding warm layers and good walking shoes will also help.
  2. Approach houses with the lights ON. People will indicate whether they’re handing out candy by leaving their porch light on or lighting a jack-o-lantern. It’s safe to say that houses with the lights off aren’t offering candy, so move on to the next home.
  3. Socially distanced candy bowl. Some people will choose to leave candy out in a bowl instead of handing it out in person. While tempting to take a lot of candy, proper etiquette (and polite trick-or-treating) dictates that you only take one or two pieces. Remember, there are other kids trick-or-treating too.
  4. Ring the doorbell or knock on the door. Someone will answer and put candy in your bag or bucket.
  5. Walk to the next house using the sidewalk. Don’t cross the road every time you move on to another house. It’s safer to walk along the sidewalk until you reach a crosswalk.

If your child is older and doesn’t need a parent to trick-or-treat with them, clearly communicate a few rules. For example, your child should trick-or-treat with a group of friends, check in every so often, and start and end at a reasonable time.

What You’ll Need?

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There isn’t much you or your child need to go trick-or-treating on Halloween. However, to help you prepare here’s a suggested list.

  1. Costume.
  2. Candy bag or bucket.
  3. Warm clothing.
  4. Wagon or stroller.
  5. Flashlights.

For parents or adults who plan to stay home and give out candy it’s also important to know what you’ll need for a successful night of greeting trick-or-treaters:

  1. Lit pumpkin.
  2. Candy.
  3. Candy bowl.
  4. Costume (optional).

Step-By-Step Guide to Safe Trick-Or-Treating


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It’s crucial to trick-or-treat safely. So to get the most out of Halloween this year, keep a few things in mind, including:

  1. Avoid Open Flames: When approaching people’s homes, avoid open flames like those found in or near jack-o-lanterns. You don’t want your child’s costume to catch fire.
  2. Don’t Run & Obey Traffic: Use sidewalks and walk from house to house instead of running or crossing the street without a crosswalk. Parents, remind your children to look both ways before crossing the street to check for oncoming cars or other hidden dangers. And if you plan on driving on Halloween? It’s in your best interest to take extra precautions to keep everyone safe.
  3. Trick-or-Treat in Groups: Traveling in a group makes trick-or-treating fun and safe! Children under 12 years of age should always have an adult with them. For older kids, ask them to check in at specific points over the evening and set a curfew to ensure they get home safely.
  4. Visibility is Key: Consider adding reflective tape to costumes, strollers, wagons, and your child’s candy bag or bucket to increase visibility. Visibility isn’t just key for drivers when crossing the street either. Reflectors help other trick-or-treaters see people coming, and the extra light can help to maneuver across tricky steps and sidewalks.
  5. Costume Check: Keep all costumes free of hazards to prevent falls and tripping. In addition, test masks and zippers to ensure that you and your child can breathe and move freely.
  6. Avoid Homemade Goodies: It’s best to stick to factory-wrapped candies and goodies (unless you know the person who made the treats!). If you or your child has allergies, it’s best to avoid anything homemade.

Don’t worry about your child while they trick-or-treat on Halloween with their friends. To ensure kids’ safety, you don’t even need to be around. Watch their location and route and listen to what’s going on around using the Findmykids app!

The Rules for Trick-Or-Treating

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While receiving candy is exciting and fun, it’s important to remember a few rules, including:

  1. Be polite.
  2. Don’t take more than 1 or 2 pieces of candy.
  3. Ring the doorbell once and move on if no one answers the door.
  4. Wear a costume.
  5. Start and finish trick-or-treating at a reasonable hour.
  6. Be respectful of people’s space and property.

These rules don’t just apply to kids! So if you’re handing out candy to all the ghouls and goblins or taking your child on their first trick-or-treating experience this year, here are a few rules you should follow.

  1. Don’t demand that kids only ‘take one piece of candy.’
  2. Turn out the lights if not handing out or when finished handing out candy.
  3. Have fun, but be careful not to scare young children with costumes or other decorations.

What to Say or Sing While Trick-Or-Treating?

Traditionally, old Celtic traditions would have people sing or recite rhymes at people’s doors. In addition, these people would receive treats for creativity.

Today, skipping the song or rhyme and saying “Trick or Treat!” when someone opens the door is fine. It’s also become more popular to say “Happy Halloween!”

And kids, don’t forget your manners. Always say “thank you!” when adding candy to your bag or basket.

How Old is Too Old to Trick-Or-Treat?

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This is a hotly debated question. Many believe there should be an age limit for trick-or-treaters, while others think it’s up to the family to decide.

Most kids stop trick-or-treating between 12 and 16 years old. However, for parents with kids who wish to continue trick-or-treating, it’s important to talk with your child. Meaning: older teens must understand they need to wear a proper costume or talk about skipping trick-or-treating to hand out candy instead.

When to Start Trick-Or-Treating?

trick or treat times

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It’s understandable for children to want to start trick-or-treating ASAP! However, it’s critical to know that depending on where you live and your neighborhood, there’s an appropriate window of time to trick-or-treat.

The Official Time—Halloween 2022

Many local news stations will provide official start times for trick-or-treating on Halloween, October 31. For example, Chicago local news recommends 3:00 to 7:00 PM, while Cleveland local news suggests 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

Despite these more official hours, keep your lights off until you’re ready to start handing out candy. And should you run out of candy before the older kids reach your house, simply blow out your pumpkin’s candle and turn off the porch light. Both will indicate to trick-or-treaters that they should skip your house.

What Time Should a Child Start Trick-Or-Treating?

what time does trick or treating start

In general, very young trick-or-treaters around 6 months old to elementary or primary will begin ringing doorbells at sunset (between 5:30 and 6:30 PM).

Older children, starting at 11 or 12 years of age, will begin around the same time but will continue knocking on doors until as late as 8:00 to 9:00 PM.

Trick-Or-Treating FAQ’s

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Daniel jakulovic/

Do you still have questions? Here are a few trick-or-treating FAQs.

Should We Trick-Or-Treat on Saturday or Sunday?

This year, Halloween lands on a Monday. So while it might be tempting to start trick-or-treating on Saturday or Sunday, the holiday is reserved for the one day of the year: the 31st of October.

Is Trick-Or-Treating Always the 31st?

Yes. Unless otherwise specified by your neighborhood, town, or city, trick-or-treating always takes place on October 31st.

How Much Candy Should We Buy?

Buying candy in bulk will save you money, but be careful not to go overboard. When in doubt, talk to your neighbors about how many children typically go door to door on Halloween.

Trick-Or-Treating in 2022: Be Safe and Have Fun!

halloween trick or treat

Monkey Business Images/

This year, some communities might still have a few social distancing rules in effect. However, taking care and following the rules will help everyone to have a fun and safe Halloween.

After all, trick-or-treating is a wonderful tradition for kids and adults alike. So don’t be afraid to dress up and enjoy this spooky holiday!

Get involved! Did we miss anything? Tell us about your family’s Halloween and trick-or-treating rituals in the comments.

The picture on the front page: Yuganov Konstantin/

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