Halloween 2020: Trick or Treating Times and CDC Guidelines

Halloween 2020: Trick or Treating Times and CDC Guidelines

Halloween is quickly approaching! If you and your family love Halloween then you have likely already been thinking about your costumes and considering your plans for the day. When it comes to finding free and fun activities for kids, Halloween is definitely at the top of the list for many families. This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday which means you will likely have a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to activities. If you want to go the traditional route and trick or treat on Halloween, make sure you know all the relevant information about the process – what time it starts, if there is an age limit, and tips on remaining safe. If you want to do something other than trick or treating on Halloween, there are plenty of options available.

What time does trick or treating start this year?

2020 has been an odd year because of the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on everything. Events that have happened every single year for decades had to be cancelled or rescheduled. And, even when events could continue on the date planned, there were often changes that were required. Thankfully, restrictions are slowly easing up in many areas around the country as the COVID numbers start to decline in some places. However, it is important to take the restrictions in your area into account as you plan for your Halloween events. If your area is allowing trick or treating to happen as usual, the first question you need to ask is ‘what time does trick or treating start?’ Typically, trick or treating can start as early as six p.m. This gives people who work outside of the house time to get home and either get ready to hand out candy or go trick or treating themselves. Halloween is on a Saturday this year – so many people will be off of work – but the timeframe for going out and trick or treating will remain the same. Another reason to stick to trick or treating in the evening is because the houses handing out candy let you know that they have candy by leaving their porch light on. It is much easier to tell which houses are participating in passing out candy when it is starting to get dark outside and you can see the porch lights lit up.

What is the trick or treating age limit?

Did you know that there are some areas of the country that have laws in place limiting the age for trick or treating? Some of these are antiquated laws that are no longer enforced while others are actively enforced by the local municipality. In order to determine if there is a specific trick or treating age limit in your area, you need to do a little research. In most areas there is not a specific ban on trick or treating at a certain age so you must use your own discretion. Trick or treating can be fun for little kids and big kids as well. Any age limits on trick or treating were implemented to prevent older kids from causing problems while out and about on Halloween night. If your area does not have an age limit on trick or treating – and your preteen/teenager wants to participate – create a set of standards you expect him or her to follow. These rules should include being respectful to the property and people at each home they visit, being careful around smaller children who are also trick or treating, and checking in with you at agreed-upon intervals.

Top things to do instead of trick or treating

  • Pass out candy at your house. You can still have fun on Halloween without going trick or treating by passing out candy at your house. In order to minimize contact with others you can set up a candy station outside your home and/or create individual treat bags that kids can grab themselves. You and your family can sit outside and enjoy seeing the various costumes as trick or treaters grab their goodies. 
  • Attend a ‘trunk or treat’ event. Many churches and communities put on ‘trunk or treat’ events on or near Halloween. These events provide kids with a place to dress up and trick or treat without having to go door to door in a neighborhood. There will likely be adjustments to these events due to COVID so be sure and check with the event coordinators to make sure you come prepared. 
  • Have a family Halloween at home. There are plenty of fun, Halloween activities that you can do at home with your family. Carve pumpkins, make and decorate Halloween cookies, and curl up on the couch together to watch a classic Halloween movie (there are both scary and family-friendly options).

Tips on remaining safe while trick or treating

Trick or treating is a lot of fun but there are a few dangers that come with this activity. Trick or treating typically occurs in neighborhoods which means kids will be close to streets. Have a talk with your kids about expectations before going out trick or treating. Be sure everyone understands the basics of safety while walking on sidewalks and crossing the street. If your kids are too small to understand these safety precautions, make sure there is an adult who holds onto the littles ones at all times. You can also add reflective tape or fabric to your child’s costume so he or she can be seen more easily by passing cars.

CDC guidelines for trick or treating

The CDC guidelines for trick or treating are basically the same as they are for everyday life at this point. Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly, and stay at home if you are sick. The CDC also provides ideas for alternatives to trick or treating if you decide to stay home on Halloween. 


If trick or treating is a Halloween tradition for your family – or simply something you are thinking about doing this year because you are bored – it is (thankfully) still an option in 2020. You can get out there and trick or treat safely by following a few basic guidelines. And, if you decide to stay inside this Halloween, there are plenty of options for a fun and memorable night indoors.

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