The spookiest night of the year is going to be upon us before we know it. Soon, little ghouls and goblins will roam the streets in search of doors to knock on and candy to collect. If you plan to hand out candy on Halloween, knowing how to let trick-or-treaters know you have candy can mean the difference between joyfully off-loading copious amounts of chocolate to neighbor kids in costume and ending up with a giant bag of leftovers.
How to let trick-or-treaters know you have candy
On Halloween night, there are several ways to let trick-or-treaters know that they are welcome to come to your door. The rule of thumb that never fails? Light the way to the candy. The classic, unspoken rule that many of us were raised with is to only trick-or-treat at houses with their porch lights on. Lauren Cobello, a consumer savings expert, agrees, adding that classic Halloween decorations also add to the message that you’re a house that welcomes trick-or-treaters. “Put a jack-o-lantern on your steps with a candle burning,” she tells Romper. “You can also leave your front door open if you have a storm door, so that trick-or-treaters know they can come to your house.”
Aside from illuminating the way for kids in costume, welcoming trick-or-treaters with a plethora of Halloween decor will typically signal to passersby that you have candy to hand out. “A couple of our favorite low-effort ways to turn on your ‘open’ sign for Halloween trick-or-treaters is to decorate your front door or windows with repurposed items that you probably already have sitting around," Andrea Fowler, an entertainment writer, tells Romper. “For example, if you have a broom, set it next to your front door and wrap it with string lights. Create a sign for your door by taking a sharpie to a piece of large paper and write — in your spookiest handwriting — something like, ‘The Witches Are: IN.’”
The fall season can an absolute flurry of business, so if you just don't have time to do all of the decorating before Oct. 31, Fowler recommends keeping it low-key and simple. “You really only need one piece of obvious decor (that can be seen both during the day and at night) to say, ‘We’re here and we've got candy,’” Fowler says. If people in your neighborhood are active on Next Door, you can also mark your house as a “treat house” on their handy little treat map.
What to do if you have candy to hand out, but also need to take your kids trick-or-treating
When Oct. 31 rolls around, I will definitely be out scouring the neighborhood for candy with my kids. Because I won't be home to answer the door when the other trick-or-treaters come knocking, I’ll likely leave a bowl of candy with a note to please take a piece on my front porch for trick-or-treaters who come by while we’re out.
Although this tactic does leave the door wide open for someone to swipe the entire bowl's worth of candy for themselves, relying on the honor system allows me the opportunity to take my own kids trick-or-treating while still letting me contribute to making someone else's Halloween night just a bit more spooktacular with some delicious candy.
Whether you’re expecting wave after wave of neighborhood kids, or just a slow trickle, make sure to let trick-or-treaters know that you're ready to stuff their treat bags with handfuls of goodies by lighting the way, adding a sign, and putting out some sort of decor. Your local kids (and their adults) will be glad you did.
Lauren Cobello, finance blogger and budget coach
Andrea Fowler, entertainment writer
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