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Trick-or-Treating Frequently Asked Questions

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With Halloween right around the corner, there are plenty of questions that parents have before letting their youngsters trick-or-treat. Here is our take on the most frequently asked questions on Halloween to check out before the exciting, candy-filled evening.

kids trick-or-treating

The FAQs

When does trick-or-treating start?

In Upstate NY, trick-or-treating generally starts as early as 5:30 pm with the bulk of the children hitting homes from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, and the last of the trick-or-treating finishing by 8:30 pm.

There are some parents with wee ones that start as early as 3:30 pm after school; however, most homes are not lit and people have not even returned from work. So if you want to go very early, plan with your friends in advance to take the kiddos.

How do I know if people are home and have candy?

Homes that welcome trick-or-treaters have their outside lights on. Often, homes are decorated with festive ornaments and jack-o-lanterns, letting you know that trick-or-treaters are welcome! If you're unsure, it's always safe to just avoid knocking on the door - continue on and look for the next house with their lights on.

Note: In New York State, there is a "Halloween: Zero Tolerance" law that requires paroled registered sex offenders to leave their lights off, not dress up, and not open their doors on Halloween.

How old is too old to trick-or-treat?

In Upstate NY, we see children of all ages trick-or-treating. Those handing out candy are more than likely to be happy handing out candy to teens who dress up.

It is safe for kids to trick-or-treat alone?

With cars whipping by in the dark, kids running back and forth across the neighborhood, and the fact that you have no idea who is outside, it's best to go out with your kids while they trick-or-treat. However, it really depends on your neighborhood and the age of your kids. Use your best judgment!

How much candy should I buy?

For this one, ask your neighbors. Typically, buying 200 pieces of candy is a safe bet. A good tip? You can keep half of the candy in the original packaging and keep receipts to return it after Halloween if you don't end up giving all of it out.

Read our safety tips for more trick-or-treating advice »

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