When Do Kids Go Trick or Treating in Arlington?

by ARLnow.com October 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm 17,476 28 Comments

When are kids supposed to go trick or treating this year in Arlington? Halloween is six days away, and we’ve heard that question asked several times already.

The answer seems logical enough: parents tell us that trick or treating will take place on Halloween night (Oct. 31) shortly after sundown.

Recent transplants may be surprised to know that there is no “official” trick or treating time in Arlington. Neither the county nor the police department has set an official time or day, spokespeople tell us.

Elsewhere around the country, it’s common for localities to designate a specific time and day for kids to knock on doors and demand candy. The tradition doesn’t always take place at night, nor does it always take place on Halloween.

So this year “Beggars Night,” as it’s called by some, will take place on a Sunday night in Arlington. That raises the question: will some neighbors keep the lights dark and the candy to themselves in order to ensure uninterrupted viewing of Sunday night football and the World Series?

  • JamesE

    Growing up outside of Arlington in the far off waste land of Fairfax County I never heard of a mandated trick or treat time.

  • Deb

    I have lived in the NYC suburbs and Manhattan, Philadelphia, Chicago and Evanston, IL, and Washington DC, and I have never heard of an official time for trick or treating. It always happens on Halloween. Late afternoon for little kids and after dark for older kids and troublemaking teens.

    As an apartment and condo dweller for most of my adult life, I have not seen a trick-or-treater at my door since 1985. So it only matters in the sense of being on the lookout for pedestrians if I’m driving somewhere.

  • Donna

    Having grown up in central NJ, I find it so very weird that Arlington waits until dark for trick-or-treating, even for it’s youngest/littlest ghosts and goblins.

    Growing up we always went out in late afternoon, went home for dinner, then went out for some more in the dark. And then it was on to the parade.

    Having 3-4 year olds wait until after dark is pretty silly. And annoying. Especially on a weekend.

    • david

      Why is it annoying? Or is it just that you don’t like any kids to come by after dark? We take our younger kids out in late afternoon but I don’t think I’ve ever been annoyed to see 3-4 year olds later in the day.

      • Donna

        It’s annoying being a parent and taking my toddler out on the streets when it’s dark. It cuts down on length of fun and it’s not as safe as going out in the daylight.
        I remember as a kid trick-or-treating all day. It was wonderful! We were exhausted and beaming.

        • LAL

          No one would be home during the day to answer the door. I find it annoying trying to get out of my car at 6 pm and a ton of kids walking up and waiting on me to go get the candy. Not to mention, having to get my son fed and dressed so he can go out.

          • Donna

            I’m obv. talking about the weekend in my original comment.

  • QPGirl

    Growing up we always went trick-or-treating ON Halloween, afternoon or evening depending on how old we were. I did have a Fundamentalist Baptist friend whose parents wouldn’t let her go when Halloween fell on Sunday, as they felt is was counter to keeping the Sabbath.

  • CW

    Your fundementalist Baptist friend celebrated halloween, period?

  • TGEoA

    Hook a relay switch up to the doorbell and the switch to the garden hose.

    Trick AND Treat you little punk.

  • Bender

    **it’s common for localities to designate a specific time and day**

    Give me a break. Must people depend upon government for EVERYTHING? Next they’ll be asking when they can go to the bathroom.

    • Just the Facts

      Nothing like a children-oriented holiday to inspire a rancorous political diatribe!

    • charlie

      please dont give arlington any new ideas…

  • Katie

    I grew up outside of Philadelphia. You trick or treat on Halloween. Period.

    Mischief Night–now, what happened to that great tradition?

    • Skeptical

      Oh forpitysake, don’t encourage them.

    • TGEoA


      Halloween or nothing at all

  • Janel

    Try Utah (I’m not Mormon but grew up there). They’ll be trick-or-treating on Saturday. I’m not kidding.

  • Bender

    Nothing like a children-oriented holiday to inspire a rancorous political diatribe!

    Better that than this children-oriented holiday inspiring burning houses and cars like they used to do (and occasionally still do) for “Devil’s Night” in Detroit.

  • Traditionalist

    I like attending a good Bonfire. It harks back to the traditional Samhain celebrations.

  • GeorgeMcC

    okaaaayyy Traditionalist…thanks for that non sequitor on a discussion about day and time to trick or treat.

  • Blueloom

    I grew up in DC. We called the night before Halloween “Beggars Night” and went trick or treating then. And of course we went again on Halloween.

    I’d be happy to have the little goblins at our door in the late afternoon. That would save having our dinner interrupted umpteen times.

  • KR

    In some Michigan towns they move the day of trick-or-treating at their leisure. This happens even when it isn’t on a Sunday. Like they’ll move it from Wed to Fri.


  • Anonygirl

    Well, I guess this is the one remaining thing that the People’s Republic of Arlington has not yet regulated… now they will!

  • No Name

    Growing up in Wisconsin, we had specific times to trick or treat every single year! It was kind of nice, because people could plan on being home (or not…) and many neighborhoods had different times set, so we could stretch out the holiday and trick-or-treat all weekend! They were rarely in the dark though, just for safety’s sake, so older kids could go in groups, but without a guardian.

  • brianna

    wow cant believe this! People arguing over some silly holiday = P lol

  • Kelly

    I grew up in Fort Worth and when Halloween fell on a Sunday, everyone trick or treated on Saturday evening. Just a fact.

  • John

    um…who the hell would want to go trick or treating in the afternoon, in the daylight? I get the whole “it’s safer” comment but c’mon, if your neighborhood is generally a safe place then I don’t see an issue with going after dark. I’m from the Philly area and when I was growing up trick or treating was always ON Halloween, not the night before, and always started at sundown. The night before is mischief night (or devil’s night) as those in the midwest like to call it, reserved for egging houses and “soaping” cars. And no it is not common for any jurisdiction to set a time or day to do trick or treating. I feel sorr for you folks who have this.

  • Narlington

    well sunday came and went and no trick or treaters it now monday night and still no one. what gives people…….. I have a ton of candy and no one to give it too, i guess i’ll have to eat it all myself


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