27 Oct 2022


Halloween on the Hill: Useful Tips

Hey there, ghouls, ghals and spookies! There is a mighty chill in the air and we’re getting ready for mischief. Let’s talk Halloween! Our readers have been clamoring especially on Instagram for Halloween guidelines. We are not the ultimate authority on all things Halloween– but we have been around for more than our share. Here are a few things you should know:

A Capitol Hill Halloween doesn’t disappoint, but you have to be ready for it! Photo by Maria Helena Carey

When is Trick-or-Treating? Some parts of the country have a Saturday-before-Halloween tradition and have brought it over to the Hill, but this is a rarity more than the norm. Here in DC, Trick-or-Treating happens on Halloween evening, starting at around 5 p.m. for the little ones and going on as late as 9:30-10 p.m. for the older kids. Pace yourself, make sure you don’t have a costume that can put you in danger and remember: Glow sticks are your friends! Stay visible and look out for others.

Are there other fun things to do around Halloween? Yes! Hilloween is for the littles and is happening on Friday, October 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Eastern Market and it’s FREE! Costume is highly encouraged! For the pets, Howl to the Chief will be holding their annual Howl-o-Ween pet parade at Lincoln Park on Saturday, October 29, at 1 p.m. Stores like Honey Made will have crafts on Saturday, October 29, starting at 11:30 am. For the adults, our friends at The Eastern are having a Spooky Sommelier Spectacular on Sunday, October 30, starting at 1 p.m. Brunch and wine? That’s spookily up our alley! The Literary Pumpkin walk is also happening around the Hill, so if you see book-themed houses, you know they are participating. We’ll have more fun things in this week’s To Do List. (Hopefully.)

How much candy? This is highly dependent on your block! If you’re new, make sure you ask your neighbors how many Trick-or-Treaters go by your street. Some streets, like East Capitol, Walter Street or even Constitution Avenue near Lincoln Park, can easily go through several bags. A neighbor says houses near Brent Elementary are very busy, for instance. Other, quieter side streets see maybe 5-10 kids all night. Chances are if you’re on our Spooky Hill Map, you will get visitors. (Want to add your house to the map? Click here.)

My kid is a tween or a teen. Should they go out to Trick-or-Treat? We have seen older children, around high school age, going out to ask for candy every year and we love it. GO GET THAT CANDY, OLDER KIDDOS! Life is too short to police candy, and our neighborhood is generous. If you feel someone is too old to be asking for candy, try to be empathetic and polite: Some 13-year olds may look older than they are. Err on the side of generosity.

What about parent treats? If you are a parent, you may even discover some families out there give out liquid refreshments for parents. Be safe and careful, but also enjoy and meet new neighbors. A word to the wise: Try to stay in one place at a time while taking your “treat,” because DC doesn’t allow for people walking around with open containers from house to house. We really are not even close to there yet.

Does everyone give out candy? No, not everyone gives out candy. This can be because people feel too much candy might be noxious for children (sadly, very true), or because they understand that not all littles can partake of Halloween candy for dietary reasons. Some kids are allergic to peanut butter or tree nuts or have diabetes and cannot handle the sugar load. There are houses that offer alternatives (and some of them are in our map). Good alternatives to traditional candy are savory treats like pretzels, little toys like sticky hands, fidgets and glow sticks. Some houses also give out doggie treats, which are most appreciated by families Trick-or-Treating with their dogs. Which brings us to our next item:

I’m taking my dog Trick-or-Treating.. or should I? We absolutely, unequivocally love dogs, but this can be a tricky night for canine companions. If you take your dog out to the revelry, make sure the dog isn’t nervous or afraid of costumes or crowds, as some streets can get very, very crowded. Keep your dog leashed at all times and keep treats on hand to distract them if they need a little reinforcing. Everyone should have a happy time on Halloween! If your dog is a little on the nervous or “does not play well with others” spectrum, Halloween may best be celebrated with treats at home. As a reminder, NEVER EVER give a pet chocolate, as it is toxic.

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