Time to answer the doorbell.
For a long time now, trick or treating has fallen the day before Halloween for Toms River.
That’s because Halloween is reserved for Toms River Fire Co. 1’s Halloween Parade calls itself the world’s largest family-oriented Halloween parade.
How did the trick-or-treating schedule get that way? Parade Chairman Carl Weingroff said it’s always been the town’s decision on where to place the day for trick or treating.
“A lot of people say ‘oh it’s the fire company that decides.’ But no it is up to the town,” Weingroff said. “We’re in charge of the parade; they’re in charge of trick or treating.”
And so the decision was made to have trick or treating be the day before, so as to not conflict with the tens of thousands of people making their way downtown for the parade.
So, trick or treating? That’s today.
There’s no official start or end time, or curfew, for trick or treating in Toms River. Just common sense.
However there are some events for those who hesitate to go door to door to still go trick or treating.
Another tradition is for families to head to the , Hooper Avenue, going store to store and asking for candy. Store staff stand at the entrances and give away treats to children in costume.
The mall’s “Kidgits Club” will host a Spooktacular with more events, from 2 to 5 p.m.
It’s not unheard of for families from other towns to head to Toms River to visit friends or family and hop on the early trick or treating schedule, for an extra day of going door to door (now that is some trick, isn’t it?).
Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said visitors coming to trick or treat isn’t a problem. Instead the main concern the day before Halloween is a day to keep pedestrian safety in mind, with all the extra children and families walking around.
Being alert for pedestrians is key when trick-or-treating starts later today, but as daylight wanes, drivers are urged to keep a lookout for pedestrians through the evening.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for some layers under your costume tonight: Sunny and breezy with highs in the upper 40s. Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Tonight, temperatures drop into the 30s. Sunset is at 5:57 p.m.
Last year was a bit of a quirk in the usual schedule, as Halloween fell on a Sunday. As a result, the parade was moved to Saturday and trick or treating happened on Sunday, Oct. 31.
Here's what the township had to say at the time, according to the 2010 Halloween announcement:
"In light of the fact that the traditional Halloween Parade sponsored by our Fire Companies will be held on Saturday October 30, 2010, Mayor Thomas Kelaher would like to remind residents that Halloween and the traditional 'trick or treating' activities will be observed on Halloween this year in Toms River which is Sunday October 31. 2010. Although the Township does not sanction or promote trick or treating since this is an individual parental decision, for reasons of public safety the Township, specifically in conjunction with our Police Department, wants to strongly urge all parents to monitor the activities of their children on Halloween and to especially observe all pedestrian safety rules during treat or treating including being alert and aware of vehicular traffic. With your help, we can make this a safe Halloween for all."
So, just to recap: Halloween parades are on Halloween, trick or treating is the day before (unless Halloween falls on a Sunday) for Toms River.