Whether you're planning to take your children trick-or-treating in Chicago or you're heading to a Halloween bash in the burbs, there are a few unofficial rules to be aware of so you can stay safe this Halloween. The most important rules are for trick-or-treaters. Each city in the state of Illinois has its own curfew for trick-or-treaters. In some areas, the laws are strictly enforced, while in others, they are not. Surprisingly, there are no solid Halloween-related laws and regulations in the city of Chicago. However, there are plenty of unofficial rules to go around. The most important one to remember is an unwritten rule about trick-or-treating hours.
Just about every homeowner will "turn off the lights" before sunset. Many will stop handing out candy even earlier. So, in Chicago, expect to end the trick-or-treating festivities by around 6 p.m. The Chicago Police Department encourages parents to take their children trick-or-treating as early as possible, preferably during the early afternoon hours.
Right next door in Evanston Illinois, trick-or-treating is a bit more organized. There are no unwritten rules, just official ones. If you plan to take your children trick-or-treating in Evanston, the official trick-or-treating hours are 4 p.m.-7 p.m. While you won't get thrown in jail for trick-or-treating past the curfew, you will be greeted by a homeowner who would be more than happy to remind you about the city's official hours.
Official and unofficial trick-or-treating hours are not designed to make this upcoming Halloween a drag. They are meant to keep kids and homeowners safe - so far, so good.
Other Halloween safety tips
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a number of tips to help keep kids safe this Halloween. In addition to both official and unofficial curfews, the tips below will ensure a safe and happy Halloween for all:
"Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.
Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.
Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult.
Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes."