Thursday, October 22, 2015

So What's With Daylight Trick-Or-Treating?

I've never known anything other than trick-or-treating after sunset.  Growing up, we'd sit nervously at the dinner table as the sun sunk down, like we'd somehow miss the big event.

But Halloween was definitely something that occurred in the dark.  Only at night.  The cold dark air was a part of it.  Houses were scarier.  Porch lights told you who was waiting with treats.  Jack O'lanterns smiled fire.

Daylight trick-or-treating was always how it seemed to be portrayed on tv or in movies.  I knew people from northern New Jersey who swore Halloween took place right after school let out.  When the sun was up.  Before dinner.  Before sunset.  BEFORE the dark.

So anyways, when does your town trick-or-treat?

TV trick-or-treaters.  Notice the sunlight.  And the lack of fun.


38 comments:

Haunted Eve said...

Here in western NY, the trick-or-treating in the two towns we've owned homes in has always taken place in the evening. When I was a little kid in the early 70s and lived in a NJ suburb in Middlesex County, the trick-or-treating did start in the afternoon, but it went on into the evening hours. It was basically real little kids during the daylight hours (my mom would take me around the neighborhood) but the older kids would come out in the evening. When we moved to Warren County NJ in the mid 70s, the trick-or-treating was in the evening. My wife says that in Syracuse NY it was always in the evening when she was a kid. I've read about towns where they dictate daylight hours or even the day. That wouldn't fly with us. Halloween is October 31st and the magic begins after the sun sets. Our home, our holiday, our rules. What fun is a jack-o'-lantern in the daylight anyway?

Old Fashion Halloween said...

It varies. Many places, like the shopping mall, have after school trick or treating. I am ready to go with candy at 4, for early kids. With Halloween on a Saturday I expect to see kids even earlier. Unwritten rule for us growing up was no trick or treating until after dinner. This was in the 70s.

At our old house we had parents that worked late in the apartment complex near us. I kept the lights on and candy ready until 10 at night for those kids. Got a lot of positive feedback so we did it every year. Low income families so we made up big treat bags. :0 )

Sean Blanck said...

Well thanks to Bush for adjusting the daylight savings time our Trick or treating starts at 6pm with a nice big sun still in the sky. I think it gets dark around 7:30.

David Brawley said...

Sadly between 3-5pm... before the sun has set. I miss night time trick or treating...

Pam Morris said...

Ok,so I'm older than most of you lot, but for me, Halloween was sitting around the dinner table anxiously waiting for dusk to fall so that we could grab those pillowcases and get out there and collect our loot. (No parents required) Daytime? Seriously? Halloween has nothing whatsoever to do with daytime. Halloween is mystery and magic and scary SH*t. It's the way it always was and always should be.

Autumnleaf said...

It depends on the age group of the T or t'ers. I can count on the really little ones just before dusk ....the age group seems to progress w/the dark.

The October boy said...

I grew up in Milwaukee Rot, and I think from when I hit 10 years old, they changed it to the Sunday afternoon before Halloween.
Needless to say the magic disappeared. The town that I'm in now in Illinois does the same thing...Sunday before Halloween. My kids never had the benefit of a night TrT. 2-5pm.....thats not Halloween. Although this year they switched it to Saturday the 31st, but again, 2-5.....

Boo Swain said...

For years t-or-t has been held in my town on the Sunday closest to the 31st, usually from 4 to 7 p.m. I trust it goes without saying I've always been adamantly opposed. Without darkness no self-respecting treater can enjoy him/herself. Running around at night in a costume was a great part of Halloween's appeal and still is. Glad I grew up in the '50's and '60's when t-or-t was always on the 31st with a start-time no earlier than 6 p.m.

There's a happy ending: this year our City Council decreed that from henceforth t-or-t will be on October 31st from 5 to 8 p.m.

Huzzah!!! Good things do come to those who wait.

kakugori said...

Official main street TOT starts at 5. Too early! I agree, Halloween is an after dark thing. We've tried in the past to open up ye olde yard haunt at dusk, but the crowds are half gone by then. And then there's daylight savings time, that inconvenient ~thing~. By 9pm, it's usually pretty much done.

Colleen said...

When I was growing up in Massachusetts, we ALWAYS trick-or-treated at night. Where I'm living here in Southern Maine, it's the same deal. I have seen *really* little kids and stroller pushing moms out just before sunset. That's about it. 🎃

NoahFentz said...

Um...I'm in Northern Jersey and we are open from 5pm to 9pm and I usually get 300 TOTs between the hours of 6:30pm to 8pm. I wish they would spread it out. The main st in town with all the business that are opened is considered Trick or Treat. That usually starts at 3pm...

Sara said...

Lol! Good points. I'm a fan of handing out candy after dark but ToTing before dark. I want to be able to take my kids out as the sun sinks down (sunset and dusk have always been my favorite time of day anyway) and then head back to our home to hand out candy to the older kids late into the night. That's a best case scenario however. What usually happens is my kids start getting antsy at 4:30/5. We head out at 7:00 or a bit earlier and by the time we get back home nobody is coming to our door much because we've had our light turned off the whole time we were gone. I feel like in the 1980's ToTing was shown in the dark and nowadays it's shown in the afternoon. I will say that it's more fun to watch Halloween images (leaves, decorations, pumpkins,etc) in a movie or show when you can actually see them. The dark always seems less magical and more menacing.

Dirty Rotten Zombie said...

Always at night when it gets dark here in Ogden, UT. I do have friends from Wisconsin and there are some towns that have laws about only trick or treating in the day light and no one goes out after dark.

orang3lazaru5 said...

I remember eating dinner early, like 5 o'clock, and then setting out at dusk. Magic hour. They call it that for a reason, and there is no instance where it holds true more than Halloween. After all, it's short for Hallowed EVENING. Usually, if it was a school night, things were wrapped in the neighborhood by 9, but by then we'd hit every house, and maybe the closest neighborhood, if mom was up for trolling along in the minivan (which was a necessity the year my little brother broke his leg and was Wolverine on crutches). Then we came home, wiped the sweat-trickled makeup off our faces and plunked down in front of the tv for whatever sitcom Halloween special was on (or put on our beloved Garfield Halloween Adventure) and divied up our candy haul, trading for favorites and throwing Mary Janes in the garbage.

P.E. Cor said...

This was such an awesome show.

Jay's Shadow said...

I know our trick r treat is 6 to 8. At least it starts getting dark before 7.

I can only remember it only being dark when I
went out.

Rot said...

I agree about that show being awesome. And that was a great episode.

Always shocked to hear of towns that have rearranged an official holiday and moved it to another date. That wouldn't happen with any other calendar holiday. Though I'm certain it's because no other holiday is as participant-demanding...but still.
If towns don't screw around with Christmas, how dare they F with Halloween.

So like this year with Halloween being on a Saturday, do those towns STILL do Halloween the Sunday before? Like is TOMORROW Halloween for these folks?

Hallowaltz said...

When I was a kid my buddy and I headed out one year around 4:30ish to try and get the most amount of candy we could.. and it worked. We even brought different masks to change out so we could hit the same houses twice.. that didnt work out as well though.

I think we got the idea from watching Halloween and seeing that scene where Laurie comes home from school and kids are out already. Its the only year we did it.. and while it was fun I agree it should be a night thing only. These days it would be hard to scare kids on my dads porch during the day too. :)

Willow Cove said...

Last year around 4 o'clock while I was setting up fog machines a neighborhood kid told me to hurry up because trick-or-treating starts at six. He was pacing my house at 3 o'clock! I'm glad he moved!

And I had a kid last year come back twice with a different mask. I gave him two handfuls of candy. When some kids try to trick-or-treat with out even a costume, I applaude him for the effort.

Memnet said...

I believe it generally takes place between 4-6 pm. It is rather pitiful IMO; like you, when I was young no self-respecting kid went out before the sun was down.

girl6 said...

Today...the street i live on is like one lonely little strip just hangin there in limbo surrounded by giant buildings. it's not even a shadow of what it once was, so sad. anyways, NO tricks/treats anymore, it's just a ghost town. several blocks over tho, our neighbuorhood association throws a really cool Halloween party (always on the day of) in the tiny, well preserved OLD SCHOOL playground. a few of us always walk over later in the night to hangout with everyone & take pics. it starts like around 6? & goes on well into the night. the kids usually run off & hit up some of the houses for treats, then return to the party. i gotta say, with the decorations, the soft night lights, ALL the awesome costumes, food, people buzzing around it really IS a pretty romantic evening, those kids are really going to have some great memories.

when i went out tho....the same street i live on now was on fire with kids & parents, all the streets in the area were jammed backed. i could hardly finish eating dinner, waiting for the sun to drop, so i could run off with my friends into the night. i would run next door to my nan's house & use her cool old stash of beautiful things to dress up in. one year, i grabbed some lovely old cheesecloth & wrapped myself up, from head to toe..SO fun!!. then i would run off with my best friend, her mom & a bunch of other kids & we would hit the pavements until we literally were ready to drop. then we would go home & crash in front of the tv & gorge ourselves on candy, as we slowly passed out from Halloween night exhaustion, the BEST exhaustion ever!! man...on nights like that, you feel like you're going to live forrrrever. Those nights are always alive in my heart, they play on a continuous loop. that's October for ya, always always giving. : )

Jay's Shadow said...

Found out our trick or treat night is Friday the 30th.

Jeff said...

While they keep cheating on the hours, down to two now, 6-8, nobody has ever come to us and said shut it down when we're still at it after 9. If I bust my ass building stuff and the kids and parents are okay with still being out, they can stuff their hours, right?

Growing up it was always longer, 5-9, so the last couple hours were under a blackened, magical sky and always on the 31st. Once we got old enough to fly without parental hand holding it was always a couple trips and there would be a bunch of us out approaching 10 pm. It was a great neighborhood, hope it still is.

I can understand daylight hours I suppose if the neighborhood is kind of rough and that is sad, but that's the only scenario I can rationalize the need for it.



MrNightmare said...

Trick or Treating in my area (North Texas) begins about 1.5 Hrs before sunset and gets busy at night. Last year, it died off at 9:30pm and the streets were quiet... in a weird and spooky way. I always remember going at dark, just as you described perfectly!

Autumnleaf said...

Ok...so what are they going to do, arrest the kids if they're out on the wrong day? Who says they're not out on a walk...in costume...with a bag for candy? :)

The Gill-Man said...

In my nieghborhood (Northwest Houston), most of the Trick Or Treaters wait until dusk, at the very least. A few smaller kids are out and about after school lets out, but they are few and far between (in most cases, even the little ones don't go out until dark).

We usually have a pretty steady stream of them until about 8:30 or so, with a few stragglers (usually older kids) showing up until 9:30. Last year, I had one group of teens show up at 10, even though the porch light was out (though the lights from the yard haunt and the Jack-O-Lanterns were still lit). I gave them all candy, because they all where wearing costumes, and seemed really in the spirit.

The idea of hitting the neighborhood before dark is just impossible for me to wrap my brain around. My kids don't WANT to go out before then...never have! The dark is part of the mystique!

Sinjun said...

"our" Trick-or-Treat begins when theirs ends.

Jay's Shadow said...

I say we all get together on Halloween night , put on costumes, and go trick or treating.

Mason said...

The only time Halloween trick-or-treating was moved to another day was when Halloween happened to fall on a Sunday. As for trick-or-treating in the day time in TV shows, that is usually due to the fact that it is easier to film in the day time. A poor excuse, but yeah.

Also, great episode of Freaks & Geeks!

Steve Ring said...

We get the odd daytime trick-or-treaters here. There have never been rules about what time to trick-or-treat here, as far as I can recall. I seem to remember one year it was on a different day but it was probably a weather issue. It's going to be a bit nippy this year, and the gas prices are low, so I expect to see kids being taxied from house to house by their parents. Boo! And having to give precious candy away to kids in their early 20's. I don't expect a big turnout even though it's on a Saturday. Kids have cell phones and playstation and Netflix. What is free candy to them, anymore?

The Creeping Cruds said...

This is great question. My perception was that early tricks n treats was for hand holders n tots.
After dark was for the older kids and cool families who knew Halloween was best experienced after sunset.
Now w the modern obsessive over parenting, trunk-r-treat culture after dark activity seems cut way back.
My lame assed neighbors leave their kids at home and gather at the snooty adults-mostly alcohol get together en masse.
Utterly lame IMO...

The Creeping Cruds said...

They try that in my hood as well. I found out who 'decided' that was the case and explained some things to him. As of now I run what little Halloween is in my neighborhood.
Sounds like a dick move probably but his was literally basing his preference based off football on TV.

Mr Black said...

We are night trick r treaters here. If it is done in the day time it hasn't the magic to be anything more than a candy free for all.

Ryan said...

Here it takes place just as the sun is setting and then on into the night until around 9:30-10pm. Just a little bit of sun left, which I think is perfect.

Adam said...

Yup. In northern Jersey we definitely went out right after school. Stayed out till about 8 or so. Just made more sense to start earlier. More candy.

girl6 said...

Wonderful Post!!!

Yessss JS..one round costuming (no cute or sexy please)
NEXT Saturday Everyone
beneath the Halloween Tree
after dark, of course. : D

Mr Black said...

Sounds like people around here to me. The holy football game must not be interrupted by you ancient holiday.

Vintage Seance said...

After dark! Probably because it doesn't get too cold for us in SoCal like other parts of the country this time of year? I don't know. I remember going to school, dressing up a little or just wearing something festive, then I used to have to go to the after school programs at school (both my parents worked) but, the staff would usually do something festive too, like a mini haunted house walkthrough in one of the classrooms. When my mom would come get us, we'd go home, dress up, and then go trick or treating, usually just as it was getting dark or when it was already dark.