How to Keep Halloween Trick-or-Treaters Away

two trick-or-treaters on a sidewalk in costume
Kinzie+Riehm / Getty Images

Answering the door for Halloween trick-or-treaters isn't for everyone. You might not be a big fan of Halloween, or perhaps you just didn't get around to buying candy this year. Maybe you simply prefer to relax at home without interruption, regardless of whether the calendar says it's Oct. 31. It's perfectly fine not to participate in trick-or-treating. But if you live in an area that's popular with trick-or-treaters, you might need to take some extra measures to keep trick-or-treaters away.

Here are some tips that can help you avoid trick-or-treaters.

Turn Off Your Outdoor Lights

If you have outdoor lights, keep them off on Halloween. This is an accepted sign in many communities that the household isn't participating in trick-or-treating. You also might want to close the curtains on any street-facing windows and keep lights in your front rooms off if they can be seen through the curtains. The goal is to make it look like no one is home.

Likewise, if you happen to have any Halloween or fall decorations in front of your home, you might want to take them down, as they could look like an invitation for trick-or-treaters. While you still might have some hopeful trick-or-treaters come up to your door, most of them will take the hint that no one is planning to give out candy at your house.

Post a Sign

If you don't want trick-or-treaters knocking on your door or ringing your bell all evening, consider alerting visitors to this by posting a sign. You can write a straightforward message, such as "Sorry, no trick-or-treating here." Or you could be a little cute with something like "The skeletons took all the treats! Maybe you can find more next door."

Whatever you write, keep it friendly. And put the sign in a visible spot that people will be sure to see before they try knocking on your door. Most trick-or-treaters will likely respect your sign and move on.

Place a Candy Bowl Outside

Maybe you don't mind trick-or-treaters showing up, but you simply don't want the interruption of a ringing doorbell all night beckoning you to pass out candy. Consider putting the treat-giving on autopilot. Place a big bowl of candy outside of your front door where trick-or-treaters will see it. And leave a sign on the bowl to instruct trick-or-treaters that they can take a piece of candy. That way, they won't have to knock on your door for it.

Yes, you do run the risk of a trick-or-treater taking more than their fair share and emptying your candy bowl early in the night. But once all of your candy is gone, you can simply put a sign on the empty bowl saying you're out of treats. Then, trick-or-treaters will know to head to the next house.

Go Out

If you're really determined to avoid participating in the holiday, consider leaving your home during trick-or-treat hours. Use Halloween as an excuse to enjoy an evening out with a friend or family member who also isn't keen on trick-or-treating. Go out for a meal, or simply go run some errands. If your friend's home doesn't usually get trick-or-treaters, you might just want to hang out there.

Note when peak trick-or-treating hours seem to be in your community. There's often a rush of young children in the late afternoon and early evening and then just a few stragglers after that. So if you don't mind contending with the stragglers, you might only have to find something to occupy your time for a few hours during the peak.