Trick-or-Treat Times: When Does Halloween Night Start (and End) for Kids?

Halloween is the one day a year when it's appropriate for a child to walk up to a complete stranger's door and ask to be given candy. While the holiday largely defies standard etiquette, there are some unspoken courtesies and legal requirements with regard to when trick-or-treating that have been put in place to maintain decorum.

As a general rule of thumb, trick-or-treating is set to begin once the sun sets, which, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will be at 4:54 p.m. on the East Coast and 5:01 p.m. on the West Coast, local time.

However, when it comes to young children, many people understand that they will likely get some doorbell rings before the sun goes down. If you're not waiting for dark, towns with designated trick-or-treating times often recommend heading out at 4 p.m.

Next question: When does trick-or-treating end? For most kids, that will likely be around 8 or 9 p.m. local time. But some towns and cities have curfews in place for minors, so it's best to check with local laws to know when children under 8 have to be off the streets.

when does trick or treating start/end
A child dressed as Spider-Man during a Halloween event on the South Lawn of the White House on October 30. Generally, trick-or-treating begins at sundown and ends around 8 or 9 p.m. local time. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Any day that a child receives bags of free candy is a good day, but to decide which town reigns supreme, 24/7 Wall St. used a series of measures to determine the best town or city in each state for trick-or-treating.

To determine the best place to trick-or-treat in each state, 24/7 Wall St. used data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and the FBI's 2016 Uniform Crime Report. A ranking was determined based on rates for poverty, housing occupancy and violent crime, and the share of the population that was 14 or younger.

However, if the highest-ranking city or town didn't have a Halloween-themed business, such as a costume store or a haunted house, the next highest-ranking town or city was deemed to be the best.

  • Alabama: Margaret
  • Alaska: Valdez
  • Arizona: Gilbert
  • Arkansas: Cave Springs
  • California: Ladera Ranch
  • Colorado: Firestone
  • Connecticut: Darien
  • Delaware: Clayton
  • Florida: Parkland
  • Georgia: Johns Creek
  • Hawaii: Hickam Housing
  • Idaho: Shelly
  • Illinois: Gilberts
  • Indiana: New Whiteland
  • Iowa: Bondurant
  • Kansas: St. Marys
  • Kentucky: Francisville
  • Louisiana: Blanchard
  • Maine: Winslow
  • Maryland: Urbana
  • Massachusetts: Hanscom
  • Michigan: East Grand Rapids
  • Minnesota: Elko New Market
  • Mississippi: Madison
  • Missouri: Glendale
  • Montana: Malmstrom
  • Nebraska: Waverly
  • Nevada: Winnemucca
  • New Hampshire: Milford
  • New Jersey: Fair Haven
  • New Mexico: Holloman
  • New York: Rye
  • North Carolina: Whispering Pines
  • North Dakota: Lincoln
  • Ohio: Powell
  • Oklahoma: Piedmont
  • Oregon: Sherwood
  • Pennsylvania: Franklin Park
  • Rhode Island: Warwick
  • South Carolina: Tega Cay
  • South Dakota: Tea
  • Tennessee: Nolensville
  • Texas: Randolph
  • Utah: Saratoga Springs
  • Vermont: South Burlington
  • Virginia: Fort Belvoir
  • Washington: Snoqualmie
  • West Virginia: Charles Town
  • Wisconsin: Barneveld
  • Wyoming: Bar Nunn

While trick-or-treating is designed to be a fun event for both trick-or-treaters and the adults giving out candy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designed a mnemonic to help people stay safe this Halloween.

Spelling out the words "Safe Halloween," the mnemonic offers advice such as avoid trick-or-treating alone, entering homes only with a trusted adult and walking only on sidewalks, when possible.