Does your town schedule Trick or Treat?
October 22, 2016 11:56 AM   Subscribe

I grew up in Ohio and trick or treat times would be scheduled and published in the newspaper. I'm in California now and can't seem to find scheduled trick or treat times for my town. Is it possible scheduling trick or treat is just an Ohio/Midwest thing?

Growing up, some towns would always host it on Halloween. Some would move trick or treat if it happened on the weekend. There was always a two-hour block of time listed.

I can't seem to find any information about when trick or treat is scheduled in my town, and when I brought it up to a friend she laughed and said she'd never heard of such a thing. She said people will just show up after school on Halloween.

To clarify, I'm not asking about events at malls or churches or something. I'm asking about when kids go door to door in a neighborhood. Is it scheduled where you live?
posted by shesbookish to Society & Culture (53 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've never lived in a place that scheduled trick or treating (have lived in Delaware, NYC, and Portland.)
posted by Automocar at 11:58 AM on October 22, 2016 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, that's (Begger's Night) a weird (Central?) Ohio thing. Trick or treating is on the 31st in most other places I've lived (NJ, NC, NH).
posted by damayanti at 11:59 AM on October 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

There are some towns in Massachusetts that do this. The idea was that all the kids would be safer this way. Sometimes the Trick or Treating wouldn't even be on Halloween.
posted by Draccy at 12:01 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Never heard of it. Looks like it's a western Pennsylvania thing too.
posted by intermod at 12:01 PM on October 22, 2016

I grew up in TX and MN, and I've never heard of scheduling trick-or-treat -- it's just generally after dinner (5 or 6, I guess) until 8 or 9 PM, always on Halloween proper, never any other day.
posted by Janta at 12:04 PM on October 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Trick or treat is definitely scheduled in NE PA.
posted by Bardolph at 12:06 PM on October 22, 2016

I've lived in Minnesota and Montana and never seen this, although the internet has taught me some parts of the U.S. do it. In my mind it's associated with the same parts that have a weirdo thing called Devil's Night but I don't know if that's spurious or not.
posted by traveler_ at 12:08 PM on October 22, 2016

Anecdotally, the only times I've heard of this are when inclement weather is expected. It may get bumped up or down a day or two in those situations and widely publicized, but otherwise, not really (OK, TX, MO).
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:09 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, I've seen this in various places. Google "hours for trick-or-treating" and it brings up town websites from places in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, (I stopped there)... though not every place in those states does it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:11 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's scheduled in Milwaukee, WI.
posted by Slinga at 12:11 PM on October 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

The cities of Hampton Roads, Virginia (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, etc.) has rules.
posted by DanSachs at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2016

Louisiana def used to have a schedule/sometimes switched days, ditto upstate NY. My guess is it's less a regional/state thing, more a city/county/local thing because of differences in urban density/traffic safety, etc.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:15 PM on October 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm across the country from you (Maine) but we don't do this here. You just put on your costume and go trick or treating. If you're worried about it, ask around at schools -- some neighborhoods do organized events, or parties.
posted by anastasiav at 12:17 PM on October 22, 2016

We do this sort of in my town. There is basically a thing downtown called Safe and Seen Hallowe'en where kids can trick or treat down the three blocks of town in basically daylight and then there's a costumed kid parade. After that is over is usually when kids trick or treat around the houses. So for teeny kids or kids with challenges or kids in rural areas where there is no trick or treating, there is a very structured and very safe set of Hallowe'en activities that the town sponsors. Then the stuff in the neighborhood is usually understood to be after that. I know other towns in Vermont that do something similar. The most ingenious one I heard of was that they'd do some sort of a raffle at the earlier-in-the-night events and then there would be some biggish prizes but you'd have to be at home at 9 pm answering your phone to win (obvs this is in places without a lot of cell phones) to encourage everyone to make it an early night.
posted by jessamyn at 12:28 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yep, I grew up in California, loooooved Halloween, and have never heard of this.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:43 PM on October 22, 2016

I live in San Francisco (and grew up near here) and it's definitely not scheduled. It's pretty much "after dark on the 31st." I do think it's a great idea! People often post on our NextDoor asking when Trick-or-Treat time is.

IIRC recently it was rescheduled somewhat-officially in the New Orleans area when there was torrential rain on Halloween, but it was an exceptional circumstance.
posted by radioamy at 12:45 PM on October 22, 2016

I don't know of anywhere in California that schedules it. You might have accidentally ended up in an area that still trick-or-treats with real enthusiasm (which I think still exists in those towns where it is a specifically scheduled thing) but you may also end up with a lot of spare candy on your hands. I'm in a deeply suburby LA suburb but kind of an old-people neighborhood, and last year's weekend Halloween I got probably 16-18 bell rings. I expect fewer than 10 this year.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:47 PM on October 22, 2016

Not typical in the south at all. Sometimes malls, rec centers, and other places will have special nights scheduled but they do not take the place of the actual Halloween night trick or treating.
posted by bessiemae at 12:51 PM on October 22, 2016

I grew up in Manchester, NH and they did it there in the early 80's.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:52 PM on October 22, 2016

I grew up in a tiny town in MI, and TnT wasn't scheduled. The somewhat larger college town (but still under 15K) we lived in for 10 years had an informal "no trick or treating after 9pm" policy, but that may have been just to get the littles off the streets before it got really cold and/or the college parties got going.

The small rural town we live outside now of has had scheduled TnT hours for decades, ending with the Kiwanis costume parade and party. A lot of kids come in from the rural areas surrounding the town, and scheduling/limiting TnT times really cuts down on traffic (and candy obligations for those living in town). Most of the surrounding communities have TnT hours as well. The rural areas do not.
posted by jlkr at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2016

A college town in Mississippi: this is a thing here.
posted by thebrokedown at 1:39 PM on October 22, 2016

To underscore sexyrobot's point, I grew up in Louisiana and we never had scheduled trick-or-treating. If it exists, it's a town by town thing.
posted by Sara C. at 1:51 PM on October 22, 2016

Here in Alabama it has been announced IF the powers that be felt a different night was needed, but I can't remember it happening very often. Nor are the hours "specified" - it just starts around dusk or a little before and tapers off after 8:30 or so.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:56 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think any place in SoCal does this, but there are special events for OC venues.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:12 PM on October 22, 2016

Best answer: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Ohio when I was 15; we never had it scheduled when I was a kid and I still think it's really stupid that we have to look up when trick-or-treating is every year here.

For what it's worth, BTW, at least in Central Ohio it's going to be the 31st for the next couple of years - the schedule was just released by MORPC a few weeks ago. They don't like scheduling it for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, but the next four Halloweens are Monday-Thursday.
posted by SMPA at 2:17 PM on October 22, 2016

There are definite trick-or-treat hours here in the suburbs of Chicago. Most of them seem to be within the range of 3pm-8pm. When I was growing up, my hometown even had separate times for older and younger kids - it was something like 3pm-5pm for kids 10 and younger, 5pm-7pm for kids older than 10. They don't do that anymore though - it's now just 1 set of hours for everyone.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:20 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, also, every neighborhood in LA, at least, is different on the trick-or-treat thing. We lived in a kind of sketchy part of town, and my stepmother was so appalled at the lack of traditional trick-or-treating that one year she actually drove me around for a few hours to stop at every random house that was actually decorated with lights on. It was like one house per block.

All the other years I just did trick-or-treating at the Glendale Galleria.
posted by SMPA at 2:21 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

omg omg omg! I'm having a "this is unix! I know this!" moment. It is def a midwestern thing, particularly in Ohio (Gahanna represent!) because - I shit you not - football. They didn't want it to interfere with local high school football. There was a whole article on it I read a few years ago.

California (and many other states) is less encumbered by such worries so they just have it on the 31st.
posted by olinerd at 2:25 PM on October 22, 2016 [8 favorites]

I've never heard of this. Grew up on the east coast, live in the Midwest (not Ohio) now.

I can say it informally started as it started to get dark when I was a kid. Now I see trick or treaters earlier than that.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:52 PM on October 22, 2016

I was really weirded out by that when I moved to Ohio. But I wasn't sure if it was an Ohio thing, or if it was just that things had changed since I'd become an adult. (Trick or treated in MD, PA, AZ, CA, and MI and never saw it as a kid)
posted by Caravantea at 3:12 PM on October 22, 2016

Many (most? all?) towns in Iowa do this. Iowa City's this year is the 31st, dusk to 8 pm. According to this list of the dates/times of Beggars' Night for towns in the Des Moines area, it looks like Sunday the 30th is the most popular this year.
posted by ClingClang at 3:18 PM on October 22, 2016

In central mass we always have a scheduled time for our towns. You turn on your light at that time if you are going to give candy. Some town don't have it halloween night if a weekend night is the night before, etc.

Here's a link to last years
posted by ReluctantViking at 3:20 PM on October 22, 2016

It's scheduled here in Pittsburgh. Here's the city website for Halloween with the full details.

Our neighborhood gets a street closing permit for the evening and hires an off-duty cop for extra security and lots of kids from surrounding neighborhoods come over and trick-or-treat our streets. We all sit out on our porches or stoops and turn it into a block party.
posted by octothorpe at 4:07 PM on October 22, 2016

Growing up in Idaho, we did not have scheduled trick-or-treating, nor was the day ever moved. Except once, that I remember. Halloween fell on a Sunday, and the LDS kids (lots in Idaho) were not allowed to do this on Sunday, so they were sent out on Saturday night instead, much to the embarrassment of the non-mormon households that hadn't bought candy yet.
posted by Knowyournuts at 4:25 PM on October 22, 2016

Anchorage, Alaska where there's usually snow on the ground before Halloween, and parents have to figure out costumes that can go over gold weather gear. We have a couple of scheduled trick or treating events that you have to pay to attend and proceeds to toward charity - Trick Or Treat In The Heat is in September, and Trick Or Treat Town is inside a warehouse one or two weekends before Halloween - but regular neighborhood knock-on-doors is always on October 31 and never officially scheduled.
posted by rhapsodie at 4:27 PM on October 22, 2016

It was never scheduled when I grew up in New Jersey, and is scheduled here in Pittsburgh. If you have something like a neighborhood mailing list or NextDoor site you could try asking there, others who have been in your neighborhood longer may know the local customs/schedule.
posted by Stacey at 4:36 PM on October 22, 2016

I'm in Orange County, CA. I get my first trick or treater when it's still light out (around 5) and the last one around 8:30. I just turn out the light out when I run out of candy or the kids gets too old and not dressed up, or I'm tired of the whole experience.
posted by cecic at 4:50 PM on October 22, 2016

I grew up in the Bible Belt, and if Halloween was on a Sunday it was rescheduled to Saturday - there was an announcement in the paper.
posted by momus_window at 5:16 PM on October 22, 2016

Here in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada, it's always been assumed that the peak hours are anywhere from 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Also, the rule is that any house that does not have their lights on is not a house that will be providing candy and not worth ringing/knocking. You'll always get a few idiots who ring/knock on unlit houses anyways but for the most part this is a great way to control whether or not you're into the entire Halloween thing.
posted by Fizz at 5:26 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I grew up in rural western Oregon and live in central Texas now, and I've never heard of rescheduling trick or treating to a different day. Somebody asked about it on our local Nextdoor yesterday, and I was confused until I read this thread.

I remember going to the local big indoor mall for Halloween some years when I was a kid, where all the stores would give out candy, but I don't remember if it was formally on the 31st. I don't know why it wouldn't be.
posted by liet at 5:57 PM on October 22, 2016

I'm in Eastern Ontario and my experience is much the same as Fizz's.

Trick-or-Treating is always on Halloween regardless of weather (even if it snows).

Parents with very small children will start knocking on your door basically as soon as they've gotten home from work and managed to stuff their toddler into a costume.

Porch light out AND no Jack-o-Lantern or Halloween decorations means don't bother knocking. Trick-or-treating continues until the candy has run out or the last roving band of high school kids has gotten tired and gone home to gorge on candy and watch horror movies.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 5:59 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I live in a neighborhood of Boston and grew up right outside the city and it's always been on the 31st. I didn't even know people re-scheduled it until some folks were asking on our neighborhood FB group this week, "which day is trick or treating?" It was like asking which day is New Years Day to me. Sounds like it's pretty widespread, even in Massachusetts - I had no idea.
posted by jdl at 6:51 PM on October 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Grew up in the Bay Area, now live in the Boston metro area. Never heard of scheduling Halloween for anything but dusk-9 pm or so on October 31 until my Boston friends started buying homes in far suburbia [like, out by 495/an hour outside the city].
posted by Pandora Kouti at 7:00 PM on October 22, 2016

I've lived in the SC upstate all of my 36 years - never heard of scheduled trick or treating.
It's done on the evening/night of Oct. 31. Hottest hours are, say, 6-9. You might have a few strays earlier or later. If it rains that night you're just SOL.
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 7:30 PM on October 22, 2016

I've lived all over the country. Ohio was the only place I've lived that scheduled trick or treating, everyone else just does it on the 31st.

When I lived in Ohio I had no idea that it was a thing, and when kids showed up at my place a few days before halloween I told them they had the wrong day because I didn't know about this.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:51 PM on October 22, 2016

I just had the opposite experience; I grew up in the NW and moved to Ohio this summer. We were doing some casual Googling figuring out when kids in Cleveland Heights would likely be trick or treating and were surprised to find an official answer. This was never a thing I experienced in Washington state (Spokane or Seattle), or the Chicago area.
posted by rossination at 7:57 PM on October 22, 2016

Growing up, my town scheduled it, i.e. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31st or whatever. Try looking at your town's website? Every municipality should have its own website these days with information for residents.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:11 PM on October 22, 2016

Response by poster: I love all the answers and anecdata in the thread. Apparently this is decidedly not a Southern California thing, so I should be prepared for kids for a few hours on Halloween. Thanks for the feedback!
posted by shesbookish at 8:20 PM on October 22, 2016

I grew up in Michigan (suburbs of Lansing) and trick or treating was definitely scheduled each year. In the newspaper and now on the township website.
posted by holyrood at 12:04 AM on October 23, 2016

I don't remember trick-or-treating ever being "scheduled" in Rhode Island or surrounding areas of MA. Maybe in some very specific towns, but it did not seem like a "thing". The 31st right after dusk seemed universally accepted.
posted by Seeking Direction at 4:42 PM on October 23, 2016

Yeah, my wife's family is from Wisconsin and in the Milwaukee area and further north in Sheboygan they reschedule Halloween for the closest weekend.

I, from Fargo ND and the surrounding area, got to stay up late on Halloween no matter what day of the week it fell on and had never heard of rescheduling Halloween before meeting my wife.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:58 AM on October 24, 2016

Life-long Minnesotan, never heard of this in a town context. Of course I have seen arrangements like "trick-or-treating" at the Mall of America for little kids or whatever, but the standard thing is after dinner and into the evening.

I did see an interesting thing on NextDoor the other day. You can flag whether or not you're giving out treats so kids can print a map.
posted by chazlarson at 9:20 AM on October 27, 2016

I was born in in 1972. A story my mother tells is that the night I was born ( around 6:20PM) her OB-GYN rushed in, made sure she and I were well after I was delivered and rushed back out to take his daughter trick or treating.

I grew up going out to trick or treat and then to have cake and ice cream for my birthday.

Now. And I have no idea when this started, maybe around 1990 or so. They schedule it the last Thursday before the 31st. EXCEPT if that day is Halloween then it's the day before. In-effing-sane. It irks me to no end.

Anyway I moved to NE PA, and more than not are on the 31st. A friend was complaining this year about it as he as a toddler. I explained in PA at least if one or two towns in a county schedule it, then the others follow, because the borders are not so defined and it makes 'sense'

Now I live in Northern Virginia and not having it on the 31st is weird.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:39 PM on November 4, 2016

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