The Candy Hunter's Guide to Scoring Bigger, Better, & Boatloads of Sweet Treats on Halloween
While most people were worried about having the scariest costume when I was younger, I was always more interested in the candy. While everyone wasted time trying to perfect their costume, I was busy mapping out every detail in my city, finding the most efficient way of getting the most candy in my pillowcase(s) before the night ended.
Although I'm long retired from the game, it's about time to pass along all of the tips and tricks I've learned from my youth for getting treats. So, here I present to you my complete guide to getting more the best and most candy on Halloween.
If you're searching for candy in a neighborhood that you're familiar with, or have friends that are familiar with it, research the crap out of it. Find out which houses are known to give out the best and worst candy by asking around or figuring it out from previous years.
I'm not going to lie—hit up the larger folks. Skinnier people tend to be more health conscious, so if you skip the skinnies, you'll get more delicious junk food. Dentists, vegans, extremely old people, and health freaks should be avoided at all costs. You might just end up with some apples, popcorn balls, Mounds bars, or the most frightening of all "treats"—a toothbrush.
Halloween is the only time that I recommend keeping a journal, because your notes can be valuable for years to come.
Wherever you'll be trick-or-treating, it'd be a good idea to map out your route for candy hunting. This way, you won't be running around the neighborhood like a chicken with its head cut off (unless that's your costume). This is where you'll mark all the houses to hit up, and all of the ones to avoid.
I recommend doing this a week prior to Halloween, but you can do it whenever you want, even on Halloween morning, but you won't have as much time.
The more money people have, the more candy they tend to give out. Not only that, but they probably give better and bigger candy than other people. Find out which local neighborhood is the richest and trick-or-treat over there. You might just hit the jackpot and get full-sized candy bars.
If you have to trick-or-treat with your parents or other family members and they just want to stick around your less-than-well-off neighborhood, figure out a way to get them over to the neighborhood you want. Maybe they have a favorite restaurant there or have friends living in the area—whatever you can think of, get them there. Once you're there, you can beg them into staying for candy collection.
Depending on what day Halloween falls on, the time that people begin to give out candy might vary. Usually, it's a bit earlier if it falls on a night before a weekday (Sunday to Thursday) as opposed to a night before a weekend (Friday and Saturday), because most people have jobs to attend to the next day.
Figure out what time the neighborhood you're hitting up is going to start giving out candy (talk to neighbors, friends) and begin your candy hunt then. People tend to give out more candy early, because they're not running out of candy at that point.
As your quest for candy begins, move as fast as possible from home to home. If you waste time lingering or are just plain slow, your candy will go into the hands of others. A good tip to moving fast—stay in a small group. Others will slow you down, so small groups, or even hunting on your own alone, is best.
If you have bikes or skateboards, or shoes with wheels, use them. You'll get through a block in a fraction of the time than if you just walked. If you know you'll have to walk, I suggest doing some laps around your house every day leading up to Halloween to get you in shape, and do some warmup exercises before you head out for the hunt, because you'll need to be limber.
Whether it's saying please or complimenting their decorations, the nicer you are to homeowners, the more likely you are to be rewarded with more or better candy. No one wants to give candy to a grumpy or impatient person who can't even flash a smile.
This is why the previous "hunt fast" step is important, because the less time you spend in-between houses, the more time you have to be polite and sucker them out of their finest confectioneries.
Part of trick-or-treating etiquette for homeowners on Halloween has long been the Porch Light Code. So what does this mean exactly?
Simply put, if a house has their porch light (or garage light on), it means that they have candy to give out (or out to give). If the lights are off, either they're not home or they're hiding inside and don't want to give candy, so stay away from unlit homes.
Note: Don't let motion sensor light fool you.
While they may at first seem like meccas for candy, large events should be avoided for several reasons. First, large crowds means more competition for you. Then, all of the traffic and distractions will slow you down.
Also, homeowners (or renters) near these events are likely to run out of candy quicker—or not give any out in general—because they're expecting more than they could handle on a normal Halloween.
If you have a picture of a very young child, preferably aged 5 to 10, take it with you during your mission. When you're getting candy, show the picture to the person giving you treats and say that he or she was too sick to go out and ask if you can have a bit more candy for them. For this to work, you'll need to put on your best sad face.
Also, carrying around a second bag with the supposedly sick kid's name on it will better sell it, since they will get suspicious if you're dumping his or her treats into your bag. I don't care how old you are—kids don't share sweets—and adults know it.
Do you have a costume that requires some sort of large or special gloves? Use them to your advantage. Certain places might allow you to grab a handful of candy, so if you do, use a large glove that will allow you to reach for more candy than usual.
Sticky gloves might also be an alternative to what you can use, but you'll have to figure out a way to make them work for more than one dunk in the candy bucket.
If you have multiple bags, empty out your main bag out into another one as often as possible. This might encourage people to give you more candy, seeing that you don't have any to begin with...or at least that's what they think.
If you're trick or treating in a small neighborhood, you can change costumes in order to hit the same houses multiple times. If you live nearby, you can hit an entire route quickly and then go home and change. If you don't have all that time, you can wear a reversible costume (like the one pictured below) or one that you can take off and quickly change into and place in a backpack.
As an idea, you can paint your face, wear a mask over it, and then a ghost costume over that. Once you hit a house with the ghost costume, go back with just the mask and then go back one last time with your face paint. Just make sure the rest of your getup isn't something recognizable. Hell, if you have to, change the pitch of your voice as well.
I'm all for the tradition of trick-or-treating, where the stingy folks gets tricked with pranks or have their homes decorated with toilet paper, but let's face it—we're out for the treats, so why waste precious time tricking when you can do more treating? Forgive and forget—and move on to the next house. The goal here is candy. If you just can't help yourself, come back the next day for your tricking. They can wait.
After Halloween, stores will be stocked with unsold candy. Since they're trying to get rid of it as soon as possible, you can bet that it's going to be on sale for a fraction of the price.
Now, this isn't the best option, since it's obviously not free, but hey—if you live in the boondocks and only have a few houses to go to on Halloween, this might be all you have. Then just use your imagination to make it seem like you were actually given all that candy on Halloween without spending your life-savings. It'll make you feel better, trust me.