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When’s the Best Time to Go Trick-or-Treating?

After a very new (and scary!) Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many families are hoping that vaccines will allow parents and kids to safely trick-or-treat this year. If you’re working on carefully planning your costumes and find a Halloween-friendly face mask, you may be thinking about the checklist you’ll need to work through for a safer trick-or-treating experience this year. When will festivities start, you may wonder?

While curfews and special rules were in effect last year during the height of the pandemic, many cities have lifted the bulk of COVID-19 restrictions in light of vaccines being available across the country. In addition, Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently said that outdoor trick-or-treating can be done safely this year. He also recommends that people should consider getting vaccinated if they haven’t already. If you haven’t done so yet, getting a vaccine for yourself — and for any child old enough to receive one — is crucial to lowering or eliminating many risks associated with life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms.

Usually, trick-or-treating begins in communities across the country at sunset — in most cases, around 5:30 or 6 p.m. in your local time zone. If you’ll be away from home this year, or just want to check up on it, the Farmer’s Almanac‘s Sunrise and Sunset calculator can help determine when you should get started.

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Barring any curfews or local ordinances, it’s usually expected that wee ghouls and goblins can show up at your doorstep up until 9 p.m., or until you’ve run out of candy. Using your porch light (or adding one if you don’t have one yet!) can help signal that you’re “open” to passing out candy, as well as other markers like Teal Pumpkins or Purple Pumpkins during the pandemic.

Before you make plans, be sure to check in to see what kind of guidelines your town, municipality, or state have put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. You’ll find up-to-date information, including any curfews or mandates, from your local public health department. You may also find guidance from leading health officials on Halloween safety from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization.

Trick-or-Treat hours in areas across the country:

Each city can vastly differ in local guidelines for trick-or-treating on their streets, but there’s a general window in mind for most Americans. A 2015 poll conducted by FiveThirtyEight suggests that most Americans agreed that trick-or-treaters should start arriving by 6 p.m. and be finished by 9 p.m. at the latest.


Here’s when Trick-or-Treating usually occurs in the following cities:

  • Atlanta: Families usually are going from door to door starting at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., per local publications.
  • Boston: Neighborhood festivities start at 5 p.m. and run through 8 p.m., according to local outlets.
  • Chicago: Neighborhood festivities can start as early as 3 p.m. and run through 7 p.m. on average, per NBC Chicago.
  • Cincinnati: Last year’s hours ranged between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., per local outlets.
  • Cleveland: Neighborhood activities take place from 6 p.m. through 8 p.m., according to local outlets.
  • Denver: Some areas kick off door-to-door Trick-or-Treating at 3:30 p.m., but city neighborhoods often continue activities until 7 p.m., according to local NBC affiliates.
  • Indianapolis: Neighborhoods are hosting trick or treaters from 5:30 p.m. through 9 p.m. in some areas, per the Indy Star.
  • Las Vegas: Neighborhoods laying beyond the strip (which has a host of activities for all ages this year) usually welcome trick or treaters from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Philadelphia: Kids and teens alike should be able to collect candy starting at 6 p.m. through 8 p.m., if not longer, according to Patriot-News reports.
  • Phoenix: Neighborhoods surrounding metro Phoenix welcome trick or treaters from 5 p.m. through 7:30 p.m., per local outlets.
  • Pittsburgh: Neighborhood activities take place from 6 p.m. through 8 p.m., according to local outlets.
  • Seattle: Little ones can start trick-or-treating as early as 4 p.m., with neighborhood activities extending past 7 p.m. usually, according to this local NBC affiliate.
  • Washington D.C.: Neighborhood activities take place from 5:30 p.m. through 9 p.m., according to local outlets.
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Before you head out, remember to bring a flashlight, look both ways before crossing the road and make sure your family stays together on streets, per CDC safety recommendations. And if you choose to stay in altogether, don’t fret — there are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween at home this year. Check out our best ideas below.