Growing up in So Cal, trick-or-treating is always done on Halloween, October 31, from sunset-ish til bedtime or curfew. When I moved to Wisconsin I learned some towns hold trick-or-treat on a day other than Halloween. This blew my mind and provoked so many new questions of curiosity.
What Day and Time is Trick-or-Treat held in Wisconsin?
When I Googled the phrase, “why is trick-or-treat not on Halloween in Wisconsin“, I did not find the answer to my question, but I found something better. I found a page at HauntedWisconsin.com with an A through Z index of the all the dates and times different towns and cities in Wisconsin hold trick-or-treat.
Browsing this list is fascinating because when you decide that a Halloween tradition DOES NOT have to be on Halloween, you open a whole world of possibility!
Some places list specific dates and times for trick-or-treating, some distinguish trick-or-treating downtown from doing it in the city itself, some places give suggested windows on the night of Halloween, and some places shirk the question altogether.
Why is Trick-or-Treat Not on Halloween? One So Cal girl’s assumptions…
There are a number of benefits of NOT having trick-or-treat on Halloween so any one of them could be the primary reason Wisconsin does this.
1-It is presumably safer to trick-or-treat when it’s light outside, so doing it on a weekend means the time can be during the day
2-Kids shouldn’t trick-or-treat alone so doing it on a weekend increases the chances parents will be off work to take their kids
3-By setting trick-or-treat at different times on different days, families can go trick-or-treating at a neighboring town with a different time slot without missing any trick-or-treaters that come to the door during their own town’s time slot
4-Parents can blame-shift when it’s time for sugar-hyper kids to be done trick-or-treating, “I’m sorry honey – I know you want more candy but it’s 8:01 and trick-or-treat is over…”
5-Teens who want more candy can hit several different towns in one night by starting with the town that has the earlier time slot
How far can one town push the boundaries of trick-or-treat time?
In the A-Z city index, I found one town holding trick-or-treat on Friday, October 13th. How appropriate! But this is much earlier than people are used to trick-or-treating. This made me wonder how far one city could advance Halloween festivities and have it still be acceptable to the public.
Let’s say this one town always has awful, cold, damp, windy weather by the last weekend of October. What would it take to have some city council or town board push trick-or-treat to the first Saturday of October? What if one town wanted to do ditch trick-or-treat in “Octo-burrrrr” and celebrate “Halfway to Halloween” instead? I can’t be the first person to think of this because I found an interesting article about “Halfway to Halloween” on MrandMrsHalloween.com. If one town decided to have trick-or-treat on April 30th instead of Halloween, would that catch on? Is this the bold mentality that led Arizona to opt out of Daylight Savings?