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When is Halloween?

When should you send your kids out to trick or treat? It's probably going to be Oct. 31, but not necessarily.

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Many parents choose to take their kids to the mall to trick or treat.
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
It's not even October yet, but for the last two weeks I've been fielding questions from readers wondering when they should send their little Cinderellas and Batmans out the door for some candy? And the release of our Halloween and fall fun guide last week just boosted the number of emails that I'm getting.

Oct. 31 falls on a Sunday this year, which I think just adds to the confusion that seems to be out there. So I called around to some local town and city halls, police and sheriff's departments to get some answers.

Here's an updated list of what I've found:

  • Cumberland County Sheriff's Department recommends trick or treating there from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30.
  • It also is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30 in Roxboro and Person County where I'm told the sheriff's office and police department move it to Saturday when Oct. 31 falls on a Sunday.
  • Fayetteville is encouraging trick or treating on Oct. 30.
  • Pittsboro will observe Halloween on Oct. 30.
  • Siler City officials "strongly encourage" trick or treating on Oct. 30 when downtown Siler City merchants will be hosting a variety of activities during Halloween Hoopla.
  • Goldsboro: The mayor proclaimed that 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 29 would be trick-or-treating hours.
  • Wayne County: Trick-or-treating hours are 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 29.
  • Mount Olive: Trick-or-treating hours are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30.

Officials in every other town or city that I've checked either take no position on when Halloween is or say it is never any day other than Oct. 31. What does that mean? Check with your neighborhood association, because some may set some trick-or-treating guidelines as well. If they don't, send your kids out the door on Oct. 31.

And also check our guide for more information about Halloween and fall events across the region. Some fall on Oct. 31, but most happen weeks or days before the big day.

The word from the places I've checked so far:

  • Cary: The Town of Cary does not dictate when kids go trick or treating, says Susan Moran, the town's spokeswoman. Since Halloween is always on Oct. 31, that’s the day most families in Cary go door-to-door in costumes for candy and fun.
  • Chapel Hill: It's Oct. 31. "It is never any other day in Chapel Hill," says Catherine Lazorko, town spokeswoman. Chapel Hill already has to handle tens of thousands of partiers on Halloween night along Franklin Street. "We simply cannot manage two Halloweens on Saturday and Sunday. It's always on the day. And we leave the time for kids trick-or-treating up to parents. We don't announce specific times for it."
  • Clayton: Halloween is on Oct. 31.
  • Durham: The city does not take a position on when Halloween will be celebrated. It is left up to the discretion of Durham residents.
  • Fuquay-Varina: The town board does not take a position on when Halloween is. It's left up to the people to decide when it is celebrated.
  • Hillsborough: The town does not take a position on Halloween. It's left up to the people.
  • Holly Springs: It's on Oct. 31. Recommended trick-or-treating hours are from dusk to 8:30 p.m.
  • Knightdale: The town does not take a position on when Halloween is celebrated.
  • Morrisville: The town does not take a position on when Halloween is celebrated.
  • Raleigh: The city has nothing to do with when people trick or treat, says city spokeswoman Jayne Kirkpatrick.
  • Rocky Mount: Officials encourage trick-or-treating on Oct. 31.
  • Sanford: The city has never changed dates for Halloween.
  • Wake Forest: The Town of Wake Forest traditionally recognizes Oct. 31 as the official date for Halloween - regardless of the day of the week it happens to fall, according to a town release. The Wake Forest Police Department encourages all the little ghosts and goblins to trick or treat on Oct. 31, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Wake County: The county is not guiding Halloween activities, says Marshall Parrish, a county spokeswoman.
  • Wilson: Oct. 31

I will update as I hear from and check in with more municipalities in the area.


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