Halloween is just a few days away and this year, trick-or-treating and many other celebrations are on in towns across the state. Several weeks ago, Gov. Phil Murphy said Halloween celebrations will be happening throughout the state though with safety precautions in place.

The CDC recommends sticking with outdoor Halloween fun. “Everyone, whether you are vaccinated or not, should consider skipping indoor holiday events in favor of outdoor or virtual gatherings,” CDC guidance states.

As Halloween approaches, parents on local Facebook groups throughout NJ are sharing their plans on how to handle trick-or-treating. While many are planning to hand out candy at the door as they did pre-COVID, many others had so much fun and success with candy tables and chutes last year that they’ve decided to stick with them.

We are doing a table on the lawn with a chute again. It was so much fun and worked really well!” one mom said. Chutes are most commonly attached to the front step hand railing. All you need is a drain pipe (make sure it’s wide enough for all candy sizes) that you can get at Lowes or Home Depot. Cut the pipe to length with a utility knife or hand saw and zip tie it to your handrail.

Here is a throwback picture of a candy chute setup from last Halloween:

If you want to keep it even simpler and keep kids from ringing your bell (and getting the dog barking every time someone rings the bell), try setting up a table with a candy bowl or with mini candy bags with a few pieces in each.

“We are doing a table with pre-made bags like last year,” one mom said. “As the kids aren’t vaccinated I want to avoid hands in a bowl for this year.”

Others like the idea of leaving a bowl of candy so they can get out with their own kids. “We don’t get many kids but we leave a bowl out since we are out trick or treating with our daughter,” another Facebook commenter said.

Another question on the minds of parents: Since Halloween is on a Sunday, what time should kids start trick-or-treating? The general consensus on Facebook is to start handing out candy at around 3, which is when school lets out so it’s a good guideline. Facebook commenters agree trick-or-treating should not start earlier than 1 pm on a Sunday.

“On a school day, the children begin after 3 pm. Most around 3:30/4 pm,” one mom said. “In past years, I have tried to keep to that timeline even on weekends because it seems to work for everyone.”

When will you start trick-or-treating with your kids and how will you handle your setup this year? Tell us in the comments.