Halloween: how much? how long? how old?

Ok, Halloween is making some progress in AUS, which I welcome. We should dump Mothers Day and Fathers Day, and adopt Halloween and Thanksgiving. …but I disgress.

When the kids go out trick-or-treeting, how much candy should they collect before they are taken home? A handful? 2 lb? A gallon? A bushel?

Equivilantly, how long are they expected to be on beat, coercing candy from home-owners? 1/2 hour? 2 hours? 5?

And how old are they when they are forced to stop? 6? 12? College age?

I noticed last week that we don’t have any generally accepted guidelines for these things, and I’m afraid that if the situation is abused, there will be a reaction.

An interesting fact I learned from N-gram viewer – the expression “trick or treat” did not enter the language until 1939.

When I was a kid I got a pillow case full of candy living in the city. I was out for maybe 2, possibly 3 hours and stopped when I was 14. I think that’s still about typical for city folks.

Out here in the country kids don’t get as much, but certainly are still out for a least a couple of hours. High school age, 14-15 seems to still be the cut off point.

ETA: I’m in Canada, but I don’t think there’s any difference compared to the US.

I’m good with treating anyone in costume regardless of age. Generally, when I was a kid and the kids that I’ve accompanied, the time spent graduated with age. Half an hour to 45 minutes for the little ones and a couple of hours for the older ones. Whatever treats they get during that time is what they take home.

I can’t really answer regarding amounts of candy or length of time for trick or treating, other than I think both of those vary by regions and neighborhoods.

For age to stop trick or treating, I’m fine with kids doing it to whatever age as long as they are still in costumes. A 16-year-old going out trick or treating dressed as a zombie is OK, a 16-year-old going out trick or treating just in his normal t-shirt and jeans is not. But it’s usually not a problem, most teenagers at some point want to stop trick or treating because it’s for kids, and want to go to a party or hang out with their friends instead.

How long? If you can get away with knocking on doors and asking for candy well into November, go for it.

Most municipalities in the States have “official” Trick or Treating hours to help coordinate people taking their kids out and people being home to hand out candy. Official hours in places I’ve lived have generally been 2-3 hours, usually starting at 6 and ending at 8 or 9. And that’s always been more than adequate.

As others have said, the time you stay out depends on your age. Infants get carried to the immediate neighbors to be cooed over and maybe given a Tootsie roll to gum. Any candy beyond a palmful is purely for the parents at that age. Kids that are small but walking get taken home when they get sleepy/cranky, or when they start complaining that the candy bag is heavy. That’s usually somewhere in the 30 minutes to an hour range. Older kids go home when the official hours are over or the bag gets burdensome, whichever comes first. How much candy you collect while you’re out is how much candy you should be allowed to collect and will vary greatly based on where you are. In our neighborhood, you could fill a pretty respectable bag of candy in under an hour, but in areas with less density and/or fewer houses handing out candy, you get a lot less in that same time frame.

I have a 9 and a 12 year old. This past Halloween we went about 3 blocks, were out for about an hour, and they made out like bandits- probably enough candy to each fill most of a gallon container. As mentioned, 13-14 is probably the typical age to stop(I think 13 was my last year), though we saw trick-or-treaters who were clearly close to high school graduation. In costume though. I’ve gotten 15-16 year olds without a costume and mildly disapproved “what are YOU supposed to be dressed up as??” but still gave the lazy hooligans candy as a protection fee against possible egging.

When I was a kid, time/distance/candy amount hauls were about the same. The main differences were, I got to go out by myself from a pretty young age (7-8?) and my parents did not regulate the candy. So it would mostly be long gone by Thanksgiving (late November), except for the stuff like candy corn, Mary Janes and circus peanuts we didn’t really like. We regulate candy dosage to 4 pieces per day (full size counting as 2), and it lasts past Christmas, just in time for more sugary crap.

Bring a pickup truck or small trailer to accumulate the loot so your bags don’t look full. Get a map or plan your route beforehand. Watch where the other kids go, meet up at every corner and compare notes, but don’t tell anyone about the good houses you’ve found. Bring multiple masks/costumes and return to the houses with good stuff until they run out of candy. Start early, before dark, keep going into the night until no one answers the door anymore. Don’t skip a house just because the lights are out, they’re probably just sleeping. If they say they’re out of candy tell them cash is acceptable.

Trick or treating starts when it gets dark, though in my neighbourhood, I saw kids out a bit earlier, and goes until people turn off their porch lights and blow out their pumpkin candles. I usually have had enough of handing out candy after an hour or two and by then there are not many kids still out anyway.

As I kid, I collected as much as I could with a stop midway back at home to dump out my haul, pick out the icky candies to go in the give out bowl, and go back out with an empty bag again. Good times.

I used to not want to give candy to older kids or the ones without costumes, but now I don’t mind. I figure maybe they’re just big for their age, or maybe from somewhere in the world where Halloween isn’t celebrated, or they just want some free candy. Whatever, it’s once a year. I do get offended by the parents asking for candy for the baby in a stroller, or the Dad pushing his crying toddler up my front path, but that’s a whole different rant.

You can start an hour before sundown (or maybe as early as five P.M. in Oz, I don’t know what time sunset is around you) and stay out as late as eleven, but don’t knock or ring the doorbell if the lights are out and be sensitive to those folks who’ve already gone to bed. Little kids will be out for half an hour to an hour, while older kids, especially those who are old enough to go without parents, may be out as long as three hours, weather permitting. One pillowcase half full is about the maximum, and most kids will only fill it one-quarter full.

How old is acceptable before stopping? That’s a subject of some debate. Here are some guidelines:

–Any age is acceptable if you’re the person accompanying youngsters. It’s common for anyone from grandparents to high-school age kids to be the ones taking the little ones around, and it’s nice to offer those folks some candy too, especially if they’re carrying a bag.

–Any age is acceptable if they’ve got a good costume. I trick-or-treated well into high school, but I had an elaborate costume every time. If they’re in a hoodie or other everyday street clothes, fuck 'em.

–If you have a half-ass costume and the above don’t apply, your limit is about age twelve.

Most kids seem to want to keep going until houses run out of candy and shut their lights off. Which is usually two or three hours in. There isn’t really any concept of “too much”, trying to amass the biggest haul of candy is part of the fun when your 9 or 10.

How long is the same deal. Once people run out of candy (or get bored and decide to go to bed), they turn off the porch lights and stop answering the door. Once most of the houses have done that, its time to call it a night.

People get kind of pissy sometimes about older kids or kids without costumes trick-or-treating (or go on weird powertrips about whose “candy worthy”), but I don’t really care. Its supposed to be fun, and as long as people are having fun, I’ll give them candy. Each fun-size snickers costs a couple cents, so its not like I’m giving them some huge gift or anything.

Kids in their early teens end up in kind of a awkward place where they feel to old to go trick-or-treating, but to young to go to parties. So some of them end up half-assing it without costumes or doing it “ironically” or whatever. Again, doesn’t really bother me. Eventually they age out of it, I don’t really mind letting them figure out on their own when they’re too old for it.

I stopped having Halloween in the last place we lived when all we got were teens and one kid brought his can of beer with him.

Here in our small town we get kids of all ages, there are no laws about ages. I get them from 6 months (I guess the baby’s family needed candy)to one mother /daughter team and mom had to be 40. How much candy is too much? Good question but since it is not up to me to decide when a kid trick or treating at my house has too much I guess there is no limit.

Wow, some communities don’t have set hours for trick-or-treating? That would suck!

Ours is 6-8PM and by quarter to 7 I am already getting bored and anxious and ready to shut it down. But that’s because of the dog being upset, and the stream of kids being more like a very. slow. drip.

I believe I kept going out until I was 14, though the final year or two seemed wrong … just not wrong enough to pass up free candy. I’d say 12 to 14 is a normal cut off.

How much? A gallon seems too little. Remember some people are going to give you Brach’s or circus peanuts, or Brach’s Circus Peanuts! It’s not going to be 100% edible, and ideally it should last until until candy canes hit the shelves. Anyway, why are you even saying gallon? Don’t you all use litres [sic] now?

How much? As much as I could carry in my bag.

How long? When I was younger, I went with one of my parents, and we went just in the connected streets. At age 10, the kids tended to go around with their friends in groups of 2-4, and how far you went depended on how tired you got, although 2 hours was usually the limit.

How old? I was almost 12 the last time I went door-to-door. Once you go from elementary school to middle school (I don’t know what the Australian equivalents are - it’s when you go from having one teacher the entire day to having separate teachers for separate subjects), you and you friends feel you’re too old for it. Besides, if you’re a teenager with younger siblings, either you take them out trick-or-treating or you stay home and hand out candy while your parents take them.

A child should get their own body weight in candy.

As the mom of a 9 and 12 year old this article about 6 foot trick or treaters touched a nerve and went around all the moms of tweens and teens that I know. Essentially it says, give the big kids candy, even if they aren’t really dressed up. Our babies who aren’t babies any more are older and expected to act more grown-up than they want to be sometimes.

Though I personally I think a token effort at some kind of costume is a basic requirement for candy.

Thanks all. I had conflicting memories: friends and relatives who talked about actual tricking on Halloween, and personal recollections of under-10-only. Also I remember only getting a couple of handfulls of candy total, but I think we moved before I was old enough to go out by myself.

We’ve just had mostly grade-school kids (up to grade 6, around 11-12yo) and they collected up to about a litre (maybe a quart), which seemed like a lot of candy to me, but I think I’m hearing that it’s the thrill of acquisition, not just ownership.

Only a quart? Damn, you must have lived in a small neighborhood! I usually came back with an entire pillowcase full! (I went trick or treating with my cousins, and their neighborhood was huge)

I went til I was oh, 14? (And yes, we wore costumes, even if they were just kind of rigged up from something we had at home) And when I was in high school, I’d go with my friend to take her little brother around their neighborhood. That was always fun.