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Waiting for Nightfall on Halloween – The Longest Day for Children

Updated on March 22, 2024
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Devin enjoys history, gardening, cooking, and blacksmithing in his spare time.

Carol Mitchell
Carol Mitchell | Source

Plus some safety gear below.

Waiting to go trick or treating on Halloween day always seemed to take forever when I was little, and I can tell that my children feel the same way.

The day seemed to drag on and on. Christmas, at least once you fall asleep it goes by quickly. The waiting is handled for you while you are having visions of sugarplums dance in your head.

Halloween day for a child is spending all day waiting for nightfall. Most of the time, children wait for daybreak to watch cartoons, video games, to go out and play, or go to school. The wait time is really very short. On Halloween, kids are awake and the wait is all day long. The hype has been going on for weeks.

Halloween is a very important event for most children. It's one of the few times you can stay up really late, get free candy, and if lucky, watch a scary movie or two.

Picture by: Joe Thomissen

School Bus
School Bus

Why does it seem to take so long?

School is in session

I was lucky enough to go to a school that celebrated holidays, especially Halloween, and I fondly remember the costume contests, even winning "Scariest Costume" one year, when I went as the "Midnight Marauder."

My children aren't as fortunate. Most schools have ceased Halloween festivities.

Have you ever seen a child on Halloween day? Nothing gets done in school, all the kids are hyped up for trick or treating. I think the schools should harness that excitement and use it for learning.

Photo by: Gregg Jerdingen

The waiting...

...and waiting, and waiting, and waiting

Finally, once school is out, you get home and...have to wait longer. Parents to get home, dinner to eat, costumes to get ready. Meanwhile, your mind is racing 100 miles per hour.

What route to take? How long can we stay out? Will my parents drive me to a nice neighborhood for the good candy?

Important stuff for a kid.

Buzz and Woody in costume
Buzz and Woody in costume

Getting Ready for Halloween

Finally, the parents are home, dinner has been eaten and it's time to get ready. Costumes are donned, accessories are lost (and found again), and an impromptu laser/gun fight ensues. Finally, it is time to go Trick or Treating.

Mom, of course, wants to take pictures before you go out.

"Closer to your brother Buzz" she says, "and a real smile. Hold still"


of course Woody is now looking away. Too late...

With that the kids are off. Nightfall has finally arrived, and there is candy to be had.

Photo: My two oldest sons.

Halloween Safety

As it turns out, the belief that candy can contain dangerous things like pins, razors, and poison, is mostly a myth, see Snopes. Snopes is a great site for checking facts, myths, and urban legends.

Children being hit by vehicles are a real problem, and about twice as many child fatalities occur per Halloween, compared to every other day.


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