From the Forum – Trick or treat, but when?

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Trick or treat, but when?:

“Even though my house STILL isn’t ready to live in (renovation and DC permit woes), I’ve taken the time to decorate my lawn-port-a-potty and will be there, probably with candles on the porch, giving out candy for the kids.

3 questions:
1) When should I be there to catch the earliest trick-or-treaters,
2) How much candy is a safe bet? (I got 4 bags / about 400 pieces)
3) and when can I expect it to be late enough to go down to Meridian Pint after the last of the pillow-case-carrying high school kids are done?

Fair warming: I’m super nice until I get some adult lying that they’re carrying a bag for “a sick kid at home.” ‘aint no kid so sick they don’t go out on halloween (I mean it’s possible but 99% of the time it’s a lie).”

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36 Comment

  • When we lived in Columbia Heights in 2012 (our cross streets were Irving and Sherman), one of my roommates left work at 4:00 and started handing out candy by 5:00. The trick-or-treaters started slowing down by 9:00, but I think the kids were knocking on our door as late as 10:30.

    • Just thought of it, but when I was growing up in Pennsylvania, every town in our area set specific Trick-or-Treat times (usually about 2 hours from 6:00 – 8:00). Is DC an outlier with no times or is that the norm everywhere but in Pennsylvania?

  • How much candy you need depends entirely on where you live. I give out one piece to the 5-year-old who lives down the hall, my friends who live on Hobart St (Halloween central) must give out many hundreds of candy bars and still usually run out before the trick or treating stops.

  • In Columbia Heights, I have given out as much as 5-6 bags of candy. I agree with the former CH neighbor that 5pm to 8:30ish is when you get the majority of your kids.

  • We usually go through around 2 costco-sized bags (I think each is 3 pounds). We usually have a relatively steady flow of trick-or-treaters from around 5-6pm to 10pm. We’re planning on shutting off our light at 9pm this year so we can chill with friends in peace 🙂 I think that’s plenty late…

  • lol at your fair warning. That kind of thing happens a lot. Last year I had a woman come by pushing an infant in a stroller (who couldn’t even sit up yet, yet alone eat candy) claiming to be collecting candy for the infant. That kind of thing is super annoying, but what can you do?

    • What can you do for stroller-pushing beggars and annoying teens? Have a separate bowl of nasty candy – circus peanuts – blue mints etc. and just drop one in each bag. For real trick-or-treating kids – I’m at 14th & Irving and get about 100-120 kids. Tiny tots start at 5:30 – most between 6-8. 2 Costco bags – I offer the bowl of mixed goodies and tell each child to pick two. (They are 99% good about this!) When it’s gone, turn off your lights and put a sign on the gate “Sorry – No more candy.”

      I do mourn my late pet boa constrictor – who helped me greet children on Halloween. 25 years of great fun.

      • Ha! Great idea! Also love that your boa helped greet trick-or-treaters! Bet that was a real thrill for the kids!

    • Get some toddler-friendly snacks like Gerber teething cookies, and, if needed, explain that you have younger-kid-friendly treats for kids that appear to be under 3 to avoid chocking risks. That way you’re taking them at their word, and providing an age-approriate snack.

  • If you live anywhere near Lamont Street in Mt. P, that definitely won’t be enough candy (the street shuts down between 18th and Mt. P for a fantastic Halloween carnival, kids come from all over the city for it). We live nearby and start seeing the youngest kids at around 5 or 5:30, with the bulk of the kids coming between 6:00 and 8:30 or 9:00. We usually shut the lights off/run out of candy at 9:00, but a few intrepid (rude?) kids always still come knocking. We usually pick up at least 5-6 bags of candy ourselves and our neighbors and friends contribute several bags as well. The only year we’ve had leftover candy was last year when it started raining. If you’re not in Mt. P, you won’t need quite as much candy, though.

    • i went through 900 pieces in 2.5 hours last year. bought 1000 this year. when it’s gone it is OVER! 🙂

    • PDleftMtP

      Depends on where you are. I live very close to Lamont on Adams Mill and never get any more than a couple of kids because they’re all at the carnival. My first year I had a real complex that I had somehow become the weird old guy whose house no kid would go to.

  • In Columbia Heights as well. Undecided about handing out candy this year, I’d say in years past it’s about 50/50 between kids in costumes and kids from Cardozo High just begging for candy….and money.

  • I had a guy come by and tell me he was trick or treating for his kid who was in the hospital. Really, dude? If your kid is sick enough to be in the hospital, he’s too sick to be eating candy. I just told him I ran out since it was 10 or so. (and no, I couldn’t turn off the light since this was the basement apartment and the people above still had theirs – and by default mine- on).

  • Halloween is a Friday this year so the times and numbers could vary, but I would have at least five bags of candy if I were you (you can always take leftovers to work if you don’t want it at home).

  • I Dont Get It

    My favorite story involves two young girls ringing my doorbell at 6:00 pm on November 1 and asking if I had any leftover Halloween candy. True!

  • justinbc

    How much candy depends on whether you’re handing it out or letting them grab it themselves. I found that out when after a dozen visitors the one year I attempted I was nearly cleaned out already. Now I don’t even bother, I don’t like Halloween to begin with. Some kids weren’t even dressed up, and several were clearly old enough to have a job.

  • Let’s be fair: there are sick kids who are too sick to trick or treat on Halloween.

    But let’s be real: if they’re that sick, they shouldn’t have any candy after all.

    • +1 Kids who are sick on Halloween should most definitely be deprived of the fun of getting candy. They should have chosen to get sick on a less fun day of the year.

    • Oh, of course! (My then- toddler nephew landed in the hospital with a nasty flu bug on Christmas Eve. That. was. NOT. FUN. For any of us). But I’d gladly, gladly give $ to a hospital for a Halloween party for patients long before some rando at the door telling me about a “kid in the hospital”.

      • It’s a piece of candy. If an adult is too broke to buy his own candy and feels the need to invent a fake sick kid to justify it, I’m sad enough for him to fork over the fun sized snickers bar.

  • I don’t mind the teenagers. More often than not, they’ve made SOME effort. I don’t approve of the speed with which we try to make kids be not-kids. Trick or treating is a harmless and relatively wholesome activity.

    • I may be taking this a bit too seriously, but Halloween is the one holiday where children may experience the kindness of strangers: Adults that they don’t know, giving them treats, with no expectations or strings attached — beyond wearing some sort of costume or accompanying someone else in costume. I understand the tradition of keeping Halloween for the younger kids, but definitely appreciate the idea of including teenagers in the tradition for as long as they’re interested in participating.

  • dude, just give them a mini-snickers. jesus. .

  • I would err on the side of getting too much candy. I had to run to CVS last year to get more. I would also be prepared for a LOT of teens/young adults not in costume asking for candy. Also, almost all of the parents with kids asked for candy as well (they had their own bags). Last year, we had two adults (no costumes, no kids) come to our door. That’s when we decided to call it a night. However, if you’re in front of YOUR house – I would suggest being a friendly neighbor, even if you’re annoyed. It’s only mini candy after all. Good luck with the permits!

  • This year I bought 6 bags of 150 pieces from Costco. I love Halloween, it’s the only “holiday” I really do (I don’t have kids). I give out lots of candy sort of as a way to pay back my parents for not allowing us to trick or treat when we were young. I know it’s kind of passive/aggressive but it’s still fun.

    I don’t get home from work until 7:00 p.m. so I usually start handing out candy at 7:30. Sometimes as I’m coming up the stairs there are kids on my porch. I just tell them to come back in 20 minutes. I’m on a little side street so oftentimes I have to yell at the kids going down the major street to come and get some candy. They come rushing over and I usually give them a lot – parents hate me – but it’s fun to see them get so excited.

    I’m usually out there until 9:00 – after that – I close my gate and turn off the lights. Whatever candy I have left over I take it to the Boys and Girls club on 14th and Clifton.

  • 1. 5 pm for the youngest.
    2. Varies widely depending on where you live.
    3. Up to you. You aren’t obligated to forego all other entertainment in order to give candy away.

    When you decide you’re done handing out candy, turn off your porch light. That’s the DC signal for “No candy, please pass on by.” I don’t know if this is true for other cities.

    • And PS: if you don’t want to give someone candy – an adult, no costume, whatever – demand the “trick” instead of giving out the “treat.”

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