Halloween is just over a week away and across the area little ghouls and goblins are preparing for their annual candy-gathering bonanza.
But if you’re new to the area, you might not know when the witching hour is in Fairfax County. So if you live in McLean, Vienna, Tysons or elsewhere in the county, when should the kids go out?
The general answer is that trick-or-treating starts just before sundown on Halloween itself. So this year, expect trick-or-treaters on local roads starting around 5:30-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31. Typically, the costumed crowds dissipate by 8 or 9 p.m.
Fairfax County does not designate an official day or time for trick-or-treating, and some private communities may have different rules.
“Some communities, cities and counties designate a day other than Oct. 31 for trick-or-treating. Fairfax County Government does NOT set a different date,” the county notes on its Halloween web page. “Your homeowners association or apartment complex may set times for events, but neighborhood trick-or-treating is generally the evening of Oct. 31.”
The county also has a number of Halloween safety guidelines for residents, below.
If your children are preparing to go trick-or-treating, take these safety precautions:
- Make sure all costumes are flame retardant. Most commercial costumes are made of flame-retardant material and you should ask your fabric shop for flame-retardant material if you make your own costume.
- Make sure your children can see and be seen. Expand the eye holes in commercial masks to improve peripheral vision. Add reflective tape to costumes to make them more visible to motorists.
- Ensure that each trick-or-treater has a working flashlight.
- Tell the children to remove their masks and look both ways before they cross a street.
- Never let a group of children trick-or-treat alone. Adult supervision is a safety “must” during Halloween.
- Tell kids to stay away from candles and jack-o’-lanterns that may be on steps and porches. Their costumes could catch fire if they get too close.
- Kids should never carry candles when they are trick-or-treating. Always use a flashlight, flameless candle, or light stick.
- Tell kids to let you know right away if they see other kids playing with matches or lighters.