Halloween is a holiday with a lot of rules, but they always seem to be changing. Kids are coming to the door earlier in the evening, and the age range of trick-or-treaters seems to keep broadening. Some communities celebrate it on weekends only. And then there are those pesky details about what kinds of candy to avoid (unless you want your house egged).
Here are some answers to those burning questions.
Q: What time does trick-or-treating start?
A: Sunset is at 6:29 p.m. in Charlotte, but parents of very young children will start earlier. TrickOrTreatTimes.com predicts the busy times in Charlotte will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Expect toddlers as early as 5:30 p.m. The latest groups of trick-or-treaters could arrive at 10 p.m. Always bring extra bags (or have some on hand in your house if you’re giving out candy) in case someone’s starts to rip.
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Q: What will the weather be like?
A: No rain is likely. It will be 67 degrees at 5 p.m. and will fall to 60 degrees by 7 p.m. If you’re staying out later, count on 56 degrees at 8 p.m. and 55 degrees at 9 p.m.
Q: How old is too old to go asking for candy?
A: This is an evolving answer that has come to include anyone who wants to show off a particularly creative costume. Traditionalists believe it’s children only, but they make allowances for polite teens. One thing all seem to agree on is that younger kids are the priority. Time.com recently tackled the question and came up with this response: “There is no widely accepted cutoff age for older children who want to wear costumes and demand candy on Oct. 31. Most teenagers stop dressing up and trick-or-treating somewhere between the ages of 12 and 16 – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad manners for them to go door-to-door, as long as they are polite while out on the streets.”
Q: What if I don’t want to give out candy?
A: Turn out the porch light and lights in the front room of the house (or close the blinds). Keep the front door closed. Also consider turning off landscape lighting, if you have it.
Q: If I want to give out candy, what’s the most popular candy?
A: The most popular candy in North Carolina this year is predicted to be M&Ms, followed by Reese’s, according to California-based CandyStore.com.
Q: I forgot to get a costume for my child. What do I do?
A: Bust out the old argyle sweaters, hair gel and nerd shirts for a “Step Brothers” look (from the Will Ferrell / John C. Reilly film), or use the old standard of a sheet with holes cut in it for a ghost. Add a basketball under the sheet for a pregnant ghost, or a ball cap and Panthers gear for a sports fan ghost. Be creative. Google Trends said Charlotte residents have searched “unicorn” the most for Halloween costumes. Other popular costume searches in Charlotte include Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, witches and vampires, according to the site. Among the popular Halloween costume stores in Charlotte are Morris Costumes, Halloween Express, Halloween City and Party City.
A: Stay off lawns and on the sidewalk or driveway at homes. Avoid walking through flower beds. Do not let your children go trick-or-treating alone. Look for porch lights, a sign that the homeowner is likely giving out candy. Be aware of food allergies when your kids start to munch whatever has fallen into their bags. Do not accept rides from strangers. Wear comfortable shoes and yield to all cars.