On Oct. 31, your little ghouls and boys will be twitching (probably from a sugar rush) to start ringing doorbells. There might not be any rigid trick-or-treating rules, but here’s our hourly guide to avoid the worst of the trick-or-treating threats.
2-3 p.m. School’s out
The bell rings and costumed kids head home to prepare for trick-or-treating. Silly, I know, seeing as they are already hopped up on glazed doughnuts from their school’s Halloween party.
4-5 p.m. Last-minute preparations
It’s too early to start trick-or-treating. Parents, try bribing your children to stay calm and wait. Using candy as a bribe won’t work. Trust me. Instead, keep kids busy with Halloween activities like scaring mom in the kitchen or making last-minute costume tweaks.
5-6 p.m. Halloween dinner and round one of knocking
The sun is still up so it’s a good time for first-time trick-or-treaters. Be sure to send your kids off with a full belly of spooky food — spaghetti with olives becomes intestines with eyeballs. Sausages and BBQ sauce becomes bloody fingers. You get the point.
6-7 p.m. Trick-or-treating primetime
The neighborhood will be swarming with dead football players, superheroes and fairy princesses. Your kids have probably mapped out the neighborhoods based on candy rankings. Hit up the king-size-candy-bar areas first — they run out fast.
7-8 p.m. Round up the young ones
When the sun goes down kids younger than 8 should be on the home stretch. Be sure to have a cup of hot chocolate waiting for them when they arrive. Because surely they haven’t had enough sugar already.
8-9 p.m. Halloween night is losing its magic
In other words, the ding-donging is starting to frazzle mom, dad and the dog. Older kids will still be out at this time, but the treat selection is dwindling. At this hour, trick-or-treaters start getting the dreaded penny or the year-old butterscotch.
9-10 p.m. Last call for candy
If you’re over the age of 12 and still out at this hour, don’t expect every home to meet you cheerfully at the door.
10-11 p.m. Scary movie time
Trick-or-treating is officially over, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Pop some popcorn, sort through candy, turn on “Hocus Pocus” and dream of next year — only 365 days to go.