What to Know About the Halloween Porch Light Code

updated Oct 16, 2023
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Halloween in Boston
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If you live in an apartment complex, you know you’re unlikely to get trick-or-treaters at your interior door — the costumed tots usually stick to house-lined streets to meet their candy quota. But if you’ve just moved from renting an apartment to owning a house, you’ve probably got a lot to learn about trick-or-treating Halloween etiquette. Lesson one: the porch light code.

Quick Overview

What is the Halloween Porch Light Code?

On Halloween, the unspoken rule of conduct is to turn on your porch light (or driveway light) if you do welcome trick-or-treaters — and turn it off if you’re out of candy or don’t want costumed kids knocking on your door.

What’s the porch light code? You might remember when you were little that the number-one unofficial rule for trick-or-treating safely was the following: Only approach well-lit, decorated homes.

A major clue that a homeowner is game to dish out treats on Halloween is if their porch light — or driveway light — is on and blazing in the October dusk. If the lights are off, you know the house is out of candy or off having some grown-up Halloween fun.

So even though you might ordinarily leave your outside lights on to guide you to the door after a late night out, it’s best to leave it off on October 31, or your doorbell will get a workout with unwanted visitors all night.

And make sure you’ve turned off any motion sensor lights, too.

Now, on the other hand, if you’re excited about your first Halloween as a homeowner and eager to hand out candy to your first trick-or-treaters, here’s a word of advice: Turn on your porch light and go for the full-size Snickers. You’ll be the most popular house on the block.